Rutgers–Camden Celebrates Opening of New Welcome Center

By Tom McLaughlin

Basked in sunlight – and the promise of a bright future – Rutgers University–Camden hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 19 to celebrate the opening of its new Welcome Center, located on the ground floor of the 330 Cooper Street student housing complex.

Rutgers–Camden Chancellor Phoebe A. Haddon praised the new Welcome Center as a testament to Camden’s growing vibrancy.

“It is an awesome feat, because we know with great confidence that Camden is rising and we are a part of that process,” said Haddon.

Camden Mayor Dana Redd lauded Rutgers–Camden for its thriving partnership with the city, acknowledging that the ceremony symbolized not only the opening of a center for future prospective students and their families, but new visitors to the city of Camden.

“We salute Rutgers–Camden for helping to lead the charge for transforming an urban center into a wonderful shining anchor in the state of New Jersey,” said Redd, herself a Rutgers–Camden graduate. “We look forward to incredible partnerships in the years to come.”

The Welcome Center will offer guests a gateway for all that Rutgers–Camden has to offer. The state-of-the-art center will be a one-stop location for prospective students and their families to meet one-on-one with admissions counselors and tour the 40-acre campus.

Upon arriving at the center, visitors will get an early introduction to the impressive art collection that defines Rutgers–Camden as a premier South Jersey destination for the arts, thanks to the addition of a newly installed work of eminent American sculptor George Segal.

“Restaurant Scene” is now on display in the reception area and visible 24/7 to Cooper Street pedestrians through a floor-to-ceiling corner window. The sculptural tableau consists of a diner table and chair, and a coat rack with a hanging coat, embodying Segal’s predilection for Jersey diners. Unusual for a Segal sculpture, there is no figure present, as if the patron had left; Segal was constantly experimenting with his humanistic expression.

The piece is one of 13 works created by Segal, who earned a master of fine arts degree from Rutgers University in 1963 and an honorary doctorate in 1970, and donated to Rutgers–Camden by the George Segal Foundation last fall.

Visitors will also be connected to Camden’s historic past with the display of a selection of artifacts unearthed from Cooper Street during construction of the Rutgers–Camden dorms and installed in lighted cases: a Yad Torah pointer, a slip-decorated redware dish with coggled rim, a sampling of utility bottles, a fragment of silver whistle, stone marbles, a black-glazed redware teapot, a blue-printed pearlware plate decorated in Willow pattern, a salt-glazed stoneware cake pot, and a clay tobacco pipe.

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