The Seven Presidents of Stevens: A Powerful Legacy of Leadership
Average tenure of U.S. university presidents, as reported by the American Council on Education (ACE) in 2017: about 6.5 years.
Average tenure of a Stevens president: 21.5 years (and counting).
Clearly, staying power has been a hallmark for the seven remarkable science educators who have led Stevens during its first century and a half.
Dr. Henry Morton (1870-1902)
A renowned physics and chemistry researcher and prolific contributor to scientific publications, Stevens’ first president directed the selection of faculty and the structuring of the original curriculum, quickly establishing Stevens as one of the top technological schools in the U.S.
Also a poet, Morton commemorated Stevens’ 25th Anniversary Celebration with a poem written in honor of the Stevens family motto, "Per Aspera ad Astra."
Alexander C. Humphreys, Class of 1881 (1902-1927)
A Stevens mechanical engineering alumnus, Humphreys’ accomplishments included a campus expansion from one city block to 23 acres and the official acquisition of Castle Point. He quadrupled enrollment; oversaw the completion of the “Million Dollar Campaign;” an increase in endowment from $384,800 to $2,864,000; creation of the Morton Memorial Chemistry Laboratory; creation of a business curriculum for engineering students; and creation of the historic, student-run Honor Board.
Dr. Harvey N. Davis (1928-1951)
Educated in physics and mechanical engineering, Harvey Davis was influential beyond the university as director and vice president of the Hoboken Chamber of Commerce and manager, vice president and president of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). These outside activities did nothing to diminish his effectiveness at Stevens: Davis expanded civil engineering courses, enhanced practical knowledge in the mechanical engineering program, expanded the humanities and economics departments and increased on-campus residency ten-fold. He also initiated graduate programs, including a metallurgy department (which helped contribute to the university's survival during the Great Depression), and leveraged his ASME connections to enlist industry support while developing new programs and departments.
Dr. Jess H. Davis (1951-1972)
With doctoral degrees in science and engineering and a career that began in the corporate world and encompassed public service and leadership roles in professional societies, Jess Davis devised a master plan for Stevens bringing new facilities to campus including the Howe Center, the S.C. Williams Library, Humphreys Hall and Davis Hall. He also expanded dormitory occupancy five-fold; grew the faculty; created new undergraduate programs in science and doctorates in engineering, science and management; expanded access to engineering and science for minorities; welcomed women to Stevens' undergraduate programs; launched the Stevens Technical Enrichment Program (STEP); and created an Office of Development and Public Relations.
Dr. Kenneth C. Rogers (1972-1987)
Rogers chaired Stevens’ physics department prior to becoming the university's president. Among the challenges of his tenure: the post-Vietnam War national trend of reduced graduate enrollment, competing fundraising initiatives by alumni and the Board of Trustees, and a faculty strike. He brought in Paul Miller as artist in residence to broaden the education of Stevens engineers, and brought Frank Sinatra and Ronald Reagan to campus (in the same helicopter!). Rogers also initiated an accreditation program and unified the core curriculum of basic sciences, engineering, humanities and management.
Dr. Harold J. Raveché (1988-2010)
Raveché, whose specialty was statistical mechanics, emphasized the value of a well-rounded university experience as president and connected the university's research programs with industry and government partners. He promoted the university’s Technogenesis™ technology transfer process, in which students explored the commercialization of ideas and research. Raveché also enlarged Stevens' athletic programs and drove the renovation of dormitories and new construction including the Babbio Center and the Rocco Technology Center.
Dr. Nariman Farvardin (2011-present)
Building upon the exceptional legacy of his six predecessors, President Farvardin has been a prescient leader in the technology era, presiding over a university-wide transformation. Upon installment, he spearheaded the creation of collaborative, 10-year strategic plan, The Future. Ours to Create, which announced the goal of Stevens becoming “a premier, student-centric, technological research university.” The university is now carrying out this charge, expanding research programs, growing enrollment and philanthropy, strengthening its financial position and launching The Power of Stevens fundraising campaign to support students and enhance facilities. Farvardin also created the President’s Distinguished Lecture Series to bring notable technology leaders to campus. He has received national recognition for his role steering the university's continued upward trajectory.