New Jersey voters in 2012 approved the first state-backed funding for higher education construction in 25 years.

A total of $750 million in state grant money was approved to build new academic facilities across the Garden State.

During a visit to the newly constructed Marion Buckelew Cullen Center at Westminster Choir College, part of Rider University in Princeton, Gov. Chris Christie stressed the importance of providing funds to build world class facilities at higher ed institutions for science and math as well as the arts.

“This is important, it’s really important. The arts is part of what feeds the soul of our state,” Christie said.

The governor noted when he travels around the country, he hears many people talking about New Jersey’s artistic contributions, “from Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi to the late James Gandolfini, to Jack Nicholson, they have had a dramatic impact on the nation, and are part of the fabric that is New Jersey.”

He said thanks to the bonding law, “176 projects are being done across the state or are done across the state in over 46 colleges and universities, and over a billion dollars in investment (has been made) in our state’s higher education system. It’s a really good thing, for today and the future.”

State Secretary of Higher Education Rochelle Hendricks stressed this funding was necessary to make our institutions competitive and attract the best and brightest students from New Jersey and across the nation.

“Everybody’s benefitting, not just the faculty and staff at those institutions, but I think it bodes well for the state and the contributions higher education can and must make,” she said. “It’s expanding the facilities that are available to the residents of the state of New Jersey, so that’s a plus.”

"With the infusion of these funds we can serve the people of New Jersey better, because of the quality of the facilities, to make sure they have access to the very best facilities in the world.”

Hendricks said the funding is being provided for many different colleges and universities with a variety of specialties.

“You name the discipline and somehow they’re getting world-class facilities, well do, and over-do I would say.”

She added additional funding will soon be announced for even more higher education investment.

“There’s a real commitment to providing to higher education the resources they need, this is a dramatic breakthrough for the state, this is taking us to places we haven’t been for 20 years,” she said.

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