NJIT was founded in 1881 as the Newark Technical School. Sponsored by the Newark Board of Trade with a matching grant from the New Jersey state legislature, it offered non-degree training in “Science, Mathematics, and Drawing.” Eighty-eight Newark residents made up its first class.
Under the leadership of former president Saul K. Fenster, NJIT’s focus on education expanded to include research, the economic development of Newark and New Jersey, and public service. Since the mid 1970s NJIT has become home to nearly 50 laboratories, centers, and business incubators, resulting in hundreds of breakthroughs such as new methods for producing carbon nanotubes, techniques for monitoring the earth’s climate using measurements of earthshine, approaches to use membrane separation technology to desalinate water and algorithms for wireless telecommunications and signal processing. Research funding has surged to more than $75 million, and promises to keep rising.
In the words of President Robert A. Altenkirch, “NJIT’s commitment to the future at the beginning of the 21st century is both local and global. Through education and research, we seek to improve life for people throughout New Jersey, across the nation, and around the world. But we are also very mindful of our university’s historic roots in Newark, our past contributions to the city’s social and economic well-being, and the potential of what we can contribute to its future prosperity.”