U.S. Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen met with NJIT President Joel S. Bloom and other members of the university’s administration and faculty on May 31 for a special review of NJIT’s role in promoting research and economic development. Frelinghuysen, who has represented New Jersey’s 11th Congressional District since 1995, was previously a leading member of the New Jersey’s General Assembly. Growing the economy in New Jersey as well as nationally has been a priority for Frelinghuysen throughout his career.
The overview of NJIT’s contributions to growth in New Jersey presented during Frelinghuysen’s visit highlighted metrics such as the university’s $1.74 billion economic impact on the state, including nearly $942 million stemming from research-related activity. “I’ve always been a strong supporter of New Jersey Institute of Technology, but what I’ve seen today of the new activities that NJIT is embracing is absolutely stellar,” Frelinghuysen said. “I was surprised, pleased and excited by everything I heard.”
Frelinghuysen also toured the Central King Building during his visit. Constructed in 1911, the Central King Building was formerly Newark’s Central High School. The seven-story, 196,000 square foot building was acquired from the city by NJIT in 2011 and has since been extensively renovated with major funding from the Building Our Future Bond Act approved by New Jersey voters in 2013. Of the $128 million invested in the renovation, over $86 million was provided under the bond issue, the largest allocation to a New Jersey educational institution.
Today, the Central King Building exemplifies how government investment and partnerships with the public and private sectors are supporting collaboration in education and research, growing the economy and contributing to social progress. It provides students with state-of-the art classrooms, facilities that promote interdisciplinary research in the biological sciences and related STEM fields, and space that allows for learning both in and outside of the classroom.
The Central King Building also includes space for NJIT’s New Jersey Innovation Institute (NJII), an NJIT corporation that applies the intellectual and technological resources of the university to challenges identified by industry partners. Through its Innovation Labs (iLabs), NJII brings NJIT expertise to key economic sectors, including healthcare delivery systems, bio-pharmaceutical production, civil infrastructure, defense and homeland security, and financial services.
Presentations by representatives of NJII iLabs highlighted the conclusion of Frelinghuysen’s Central King tour. Speaking of the recent NJII initiatives discussed and the congressman’s relationship with NJIT, President Bloom said, “Congressman Frelinghuysen continues to express his strong interest in the work we’re doing in key applied areas ranging from information systems, to healthcare delivery, to brownfield reclamation, to developing better equipment for our armed forces. Innovation in all of these areas is ongoing at NJIT, and historically this progress has been made possible by support from various government agencies, including at the state and federal levels.”