Christie's picks for Rowan-Rutgers board clear hurdle

Posted: December 11, 2013

TRENTON Gov. Christie's three nominees to a new Rowan University/Rutgers-Camden board of governors cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday.

The full Senate must approve the nominees, who include Louis Bezich of Haddon Township, chief of staff to the president at Cooper University Hospital.

The board - which is still incomplete - is a product of the Higher Education Restructuring Act, which was passed by the Legislature last year and took effect in July. It will oversee a new College of Health Sciences that includes programs at Rowan and Rutgers-Camden.

Bezich is a former Camden County administrator who founded an economic development consulting business, Public Solutions Inc.

Christie's other nominees to the board are Jack Collins, a former Assembly speaker who is a member of the Princeton Public Affairs Group lobbying firm, and Michellene Davis, who served as chief policy counsel to Gov. Jon S. Corzine.

In addition to Christie's nominees, the Rowan board of trustees and a not-yet-formed Rutgers-Camden board of directors will each appoint two members to the Rowan/Rutgers-Camden board.

Rowan trustees Chad Bruner, the Gloucester County administrator, and Fred Graziano, executive vice president of TD Bank Financial Group, were appointed in September, Rowan spokesman Joseph Cardona said.

The Rutgers-Camden board of directors will be comprised of three members of the Rutgers board of governors, two members of the Rutgers board of trustees, and four members named by the governor.

Rutgers-Camden spokesman Michael Sepanic said Christie has not made appointments to that board.

The Rowan/Rutgers-Camden board will have $5 million - $2.5 million from each school - to develop the College of Health Sciences by hiring staff and creating programs, Cardona said.

The Rutgers board of trustees last year threatened to sue the state to block a proposed merger of Rutgers-Camden and Rowan. The bill passed by the Legislature - which merged the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey into Rutgers - left Rutgers with control of the Camden campus.


mhanna@phillynews.com

609-989-8990 @maddiehanna

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