Introducing ‘100 Years Forward: The History of Rowan University’

Introducing ‘100 Years Forward: The History of Rowan University’

President Ali Houshmand displays Rowan University's new history book in honor of its Centennial year. Proceeds of the book benefit Rowan students.
Vintage photos, nostalgic memorabilia and archival documents help tell the story of daily life during Rowan University's century of transformation in a new hardcover coffee-table book. Published in commemoration of Rowan’s Centennial, the volume recounts the school’s development from a mere idea into the nation’s fourth fastest-growing public research institution. 

Spanning more than 350 pages and 1,000 photos and illustrations, “100 Years Forward: The History of Rowan University” tells the story of an institution founded to prepare elementary teachers for southern New Jersey schools.

Decades-old dance cards, Depression-era paychecks, archival clippings and snapshots from each generation help authenticate the history of the school and its community, now encompassing multiple campuses of the top 100 public university.

The history of the history
Thoughtfully designed and lovingly written, the book is the result of a 14-year collective effort of Rowan University staff, alumni, retirees, faculty and even their family members, many who attended an invitation-only book launch held in October in the Eynon Ballroom at the Chamberlain Student Center.

“This is a story of a state institution, but it is primarily the story of individual people who loved— and love—our institution and how they made it possible for us to be here today,” said its editor, Lori Marshall, assistant vice president for University Relations and an alumna.

Unveiled by President Ali Houshmand and Rowan University Trustee and alumnus Tom Gallia, the colorful and hefty tome—slightly more than five pounds—drew applause and cheers from special guests, who included founding deans and Edward Wolfe, a legendary and beloved English professor from 1959 until 1994.

Celebrating both the book and the people whose story it tells, Houshmand said, “This is really a beautiful book and I am beyond proud of this record of our last 100 years. Anyone who has been a part of this institution will feel the same way.”

The book’s chapters are divided by the institution’s seven presidents and embellished with essays, personal stories, art and artifacts contributed by alumni and others. Chapters covering the first 50 years were largely drawn from “More Than Cold Stone” by Robert Bole, reissued this year with new photos by Rowan University Press.

A century of symbolism, shared experience and once-current events
From a photo of the original “Torch of Knowledge” to a detailed listing of the most abundant tree species on the main Glassboro campus, the book is a thoroughly researched and authoritative reference for all who consider themselves part of the Rowan community. It provides context for the details of life on campus—long-ago dress codes and curfews, curriculum and clubs—as well as how national and world events affected the school.

The University’s official colors of brown and gold are represented throughout the book, including in the embossed cover and binding’s headband. Graphic elements were inspired by original architectural details found at Bunce Hall, the first academic building on campus, and at Hollybush Mansion, built in 1849 as the home of the Whitney family.

“Rowan’s new history book is amazing,” Gallia said. “Starting with its book jacket and spanning all 352 pages, it is a work of art. I got my copy four days ago and I am already on my second reading.”

Bob Zazzali, former senior vice president for administration and alumnus, said he “could not help but feel a great sense of pride and belonging” following the book’s release.

“The book bring(s) my 52-plus years at GSC, RC and RU back into focus and revives a deep fondness for what was—and is—a major part of my life,” said Zazzali, referring to the school’s name changes during the last five decades from Glassboro State College to Rowan College to Rowan University.

Stewardship for sustainability, proceeds to benefit students
With a limited press run of just 4,000 copies, “100 Years Forward” was printed by Schmitz Press in Baltimore. Rowan offset 41,126 pounds of paper used for the production of the book by planting 495 trees in the United States with PrintReLeaf forestry partners. SGS International audits the trees for eight years to ensure their survival. 

The book is available for $50 at the University’s Barnes & Noble store on Rowan Boulevard or online. Proceeds from the book and all Centennial commemoratives will benefit Rowan students.