Ralph. W. Voorhees Center for Civic Engagement to be established at Bloustein School
Inspired and supported by the Voorhees Family, new Center honors Ralph W. Voorhees and significantly enhances public service education, research, and outreach opportunities at Rutgers
Ralph W. Voorhees
To honor the vision, civic engagement, and service contributions of Ralph W. Voorhees, the Voorhees family have initiated and underwritten a major academic center at Rutgers University, establishing the Ralph W. Voorhees Center for Civic Engagement at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy. The Center continues a multi-generational tradition of support for Rutgers University with a $750,000 gift over the next five years.
A collaborative effort of university faculty and students and community development actors, the new Center will enhance educational opportunities, facilitate innovative research, and engage with communities. “The Ralph W. Voorhees Center will build on the existing educational programs at the Bloustein School and Rutgers University, and complement those activities by supporting a core group of undergraduate and graduate fellows,” said James W. Hughes, dean of the Bloustein School. “Students will link together while at Rutgers and after graduation, will provide a world-wide network of civically engaged scholars and practitioners.”
A 1948 graduate of Rutgers University, Ralph W. Voorhees was senior vice president for investments at Paine Weber and served as chairman of the boards of United Way of Central New Jersey, Family Counseling Services of Middlesex County, the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, and the New Brunswick Cultural Center. He has also been chairman of the board of the Rutgers University Foundation and served on the Rutgers University Foundation’s Board of Overseers. In 2008, the children of Alan M. Voorhees, Ralph’s late brother, initiated their commitment to honor their uncle with a gift of $500,000 that established the Ralph W. Voorhees Fellowship Program in Public Service at the Bloustein School.
Each year, four $5000 fellowships are awarded to undergraduates who are dedicated to civic engagement. The program is designed to bring students together to work collaboratively to build community capacity in areas such as community development and planning, community-based education, housing and public transportation, public health and public policy.
The fellowship program will remain at the core of the Center’s efforts, engaging students in group projects developed in partnership with community actors to build community capacity. The Center will also enhance dialogue and discussion among communities, government, students and scholars; conduct funded research in partnership with communities; enhance educational opportunities in and outside of the classroom; support the development of innovative responsive public policy; and encourage innovation and entrepreneurship.
Kathe Newman, Associate Professor at the Bloustein School, will direct the new center. Dr. Newman teaches first year through doctoral students, actively seeking out opportunities to engage students in the direct, complex, and critical links between academic theory and the daily challenges facing families, communities, and governmental units in the city, state, and nation.
A major effort of the Center will be creating opportunities to discuss community development and urban challenges in order to develop innovative and responsive public policy.