Nancy Cantor is Chancellor of Rutgers University–Newark, a diverse, urban, public research university. A distinguished leader in higher education, Cantor is recognized nationally and internationally as an advocate for leveraging diversity in all its dimensions, re-emphasizing the public mission of colleges and universities as engines of discovery, innovation, and social mobility, and achieving the fulsome potential of universities as anchor institutions that collaborate with partners from sectors to help their communities thrive. At Rutgers University–Newark, she leads and promulgates efforts to leverage the university’s many strengths, particularly its exceptional diversity, tradition of high-impact research, and role as an anchor institution in Newark, New Jersey, through strategic investments in five broad areas in which the university’s strengths align with those of cross-sector partners: educational pathways from pre-K through college; equitable growth through urban entrepreneurship and economic development; cultivating creative expression through the arts and culture; strong, healthy and safe neighborhoods; and science in the urban environment.
Jerry Gant, renowned Newark native, is a visual artist, poet, performance artist and educator. He had his start as a 1980’s street “graf” (graffiti) artist in New York City. His powerful street murals can be seen in major urban centers nation and worldwide: New York City, Boston, London but, most of all, in his city, Newark — “artists are friendlier here than in New York,” Gant said. As a multi-disciplined visual fine artist, arts educator, activist and self-driven historian, Jerry Gant seeks to create work which reflects the human spirit of the community’s people, while challenging conventional thinking. He has been a fixture on the arts and culture scene in Newark, New Jersey for more than 25 years. Jerry’s long list of accomplishments span the literary, performing and visual arts boasting numerous solo projects and group exhibitions, as well as outstanding critical reviews and awards.