New Jersey Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards to recognize Houshmand

New Jersey Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards to recognize Houshmand

President Ali A. Houshmand has led Rowan University through a period of profound growth. His innovative, entrepreneurial approach to leadership has been recognized by the New Jersey Business Immigration Coalition. The coalition has named him Immigrant Entrepreneur of the Year.

In recognition of his innovative, entrepreneurial approach to leading Rowan University, President Ali A. Houshmand has been named Immigrant Entrepreneur of the Year by the New Jersey Business Immigration Coalition, a partnership of the state’s leading business organizations.

Houshmand, Rowan’s seventh president, will be recognized during the eighth annual New Jersey Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards program, which will be held virtually on Thursday, Oct. 15.

The New Jersey Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards honor immigrant business leaders who help New Jersey communities thrive. The awards were created to highlight the social and economic contributions of the state’s immigrants to communities throughout New Jersey—and to celebrate the important role of immigrants in today’s economy.

Houshmand, who grew up in Iran, came to the United States in 1983 to pursue his second master’s degree and his doctoral degree in engineering at the University of Michigan. He became a U.S. citizen in 1997. As president of Rowan, he has led the University through a period of unprecedented growth — from a well-regarded state school into a top 100 Carnegie-classified national research university with two medical schools. Rowan is the fourth fastest-growing public doctoral university in the nation.

His entrepreneurial approach to advancing Rowan—enrollment has jumped from 11,000 to 19,700 students during his presidency—has focused on four goals: increasing access, improving quality, ensuring affordability, and promoting economic development in South Jersey.

Under Houshmand, Rowan has become a leader in public-private partnerships, including the development of Rowan Boulevard, a bustling $426 million, mixed-use business and residential corridor that connects the University with downtown Glassboro.

Since his inauguration in 2013, Rowan has received more than $141 million gifts and pledges. Moreover, the launch in 2017 of Houshmand’s Hazardous Hot Sauce, his own brand of hot sauce made from peppers grown in his garden, has spurred sales and donations totaling more than $3 million for the university’s emergency student assistance fund.

He has encouraged the development of an entrepreneurial mindset throughout the curriculum of Rowan’s seven colleges and five schools. The result is collaboration, research and development leading to market-based innovation.

Throughout his tenure as president, Houshmand has kept tuition increases below or near the annual rate of inflation. This year, the University cut tuition by 10 percent in the wake of COVID-19 and the financial impact it has had on families’ economic well-being. Under his leadership, Rowan has implemented programs and initiatives to decrease the cost of higher education, including creating a $25,000, four-year bachelor’s degree program and awarding more than $30 million annually in scholarship funds and waivers.

Houshmand also has spearheaded unique partnerships with community colleges as a means to provide affordable avenues for New Jersey residents to earn their bachelor’s degrees. The result is a better-educated, better-prepared workforce.

The New Jersey Business Immigration Coalition is a broad-based coalition of New Jersey chambers, associations and organizations, including: the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Asian Indian Chamber of Commerce, Diversity Dynamics, Einstein’s Alley, Middlesex County Regional Chamber of Commerce, the New Jersey Business & Industry Association, New Jersey Chinese-American Chamber of Commerce, and the Princeton Mercer Regional Chamber of Commerce.

"The United States provides extraordinary opportunities for people all over the world,” Houshmand said. “I’m proud that our University’s successes have been recognized by business leaders who value Rowan’s contributions to the success of the state and of our nation.”