Classic Signals: Presidents push for progress

By Emmy Liederman
Features Editor

For some, homecoming is a time of nostalgia — some alumni come to reflect on their time at the school they once knew as Trenton State College, while others reconnect with old friends. This fall’s Homecoming Spirit Week was an opportunity for the campus community to reunite with alumni, showcase school spirit and get to know our new president, Kathryn Foster.

Foster puts a fresh spin on Homecoming traditions. (Courtesy of TCNJ Digital Archives)

During the annual homecoming lip sync competition, Foster danced and moved her lips to the song “Respect” as a tribute to the late Aretha Franklin, which was well-received by the audience. While Foster has been welcomed with open arms, it is still hard to imagine homecoming without reflecting on all former College President R. Barbara Gitenstein did for the College during her 19-year career. In an October 1998 issue of The Signal, the campus community predicted how her role would contribute to the advancement and progression of this institution.

The faculty approved the appointment of Dr. R. Barbara Gitenstein as president and hoped she will bring a sense of trust between faculty and administration to the college.

Dr. Ellen Friedman, coordinator of women’s and gender studies and professor of English, said she is looking forward to Gitenstein’s arrival on Jan. 2.

“This is an extremely positive move,” Friedman said. “The faculty all regarded her very highly.”

Dr. Terry Byrne, chairman of the communications studies department, said Gitenstein was the most qualified candidate.

“I rated her number one amongst the three candidates,” Byrne said. The faculty believes Gitenstein will help heal the wounds created between them and administration during the last few years of Dr. Harold W. Eickhoff’s reign as president.

“Dr. Eickhoff did not communicate, he was an authoritarian, and had no respect for the faculty,” Friedman said.

“(Gitenstein) has very good communication skills,” Friedman said. “She comes from a college faculty and knows how to talk to her constituents.”

Donald Evans, chairman of the African American studies department, said he looks for Gitenstein to bring a period of stability to the college.

“She needs to heal this college,” Evans-said. “The past year hasn’t been very comfortable, a lot of unrest. If she can’t heal this college community, then we are in trouble.”

But Evans said the college should not expect Gitenstein to solve all of its problems.

“I am just looking for improvement,” Evans said. “I don’t expect her to walk on water or perform any miracles.”