The People and Stories behind “Revolutionary”

Rutgers is now in the Big Ten®, and we’re already heading to another milestone—the university’s 250th anniversary. This 30-second TV spot, “Revolutionary,” marks these milestones and celebrates the university’s past, present, and future.

Learn about the people and stories behind the video, which airs during televised Rutgers athletic events on the Big Ten Network, CBS Sports Network, Fox Sports 1, and other networks.


Rutgers History, Revolutionary History

Built in 1873, Kirkpatrick Chapel was designed by Henry Janeway Hardenbergh, architect of New York’s Plaza Hotel and Dakota Building. The chapel’s brilliant stained-glass “charter window” depicts the 1766 signing of the college charter by the Royal Governor of New Jersey, William Franklin, son of Benjamin Franklin.

The hill where Kirkpatrick Chapel sits was the site of a key turning point in the American Revolution. On December 1, 1776, American forces commanded by Alexander Hamilton fired on British troops across the Raritan River, enabling Washington’s army to escape and leading to Washington’s December 25 crossing of the Delaware.

Revolutionary War reenactors firing the Rutgers cannon

There for the Revolution

In 1776, 10 years after the founding of Rutgers as Queen’s College, classes were suspended as students went off to war—a historical moment portrayed by the Revolutionary War reenactors charged with firing the Rutgers cannon at home football games.

Birthplace of College Football

Rutgers student T.J. Curran, who is studying journalism and sports management, donned an old-time football uniform to mark the first intercollegiate football game, played at Rutgers in 1869. Rutgers beat Princeton, 6–4.

Transforming the Arts

Dancer Thea Grier studies at Rutgers’ arts conservatory, Mason Gross School of the Arts, where students perform at top venues in New York through the Rutgers in New York program.

Matt Matsuda

Engaged in the Classroom

Rutgers professors are leaders in fields as diverse as biomedical engineering and public policy, and they’re also mentors and teachers, represented here by Matt Matsuda, who teaches history and is the academic dean of the Honors College at Rutgers University–New Brunswick.

Bonnie Firestein with students

Leading Research

Professor Bonnie Firestein leads a Rutgers laboratory that studies development of the brain and how to treat those who have experienced traumatic brain injury or who suffer from schizophrenia. She teaches upper-level neuroscience courses for the School of Arts and Sciences Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience and has trained over 80 junior and senior scientists in neuroscience.

Corn and plant genomes, the focus of Messing's research

Revolutionizing Agriculture 

The corn in the video represents the work of Joachim Messing, director of the Waksman Institute of Microbiology. Messing is a leader in studying corn and plant genomes, blazing a trail to bigger and better food harvests.

Exploration, with Robots

Rutgers’ underwater robotic gliders have already made history by crossing the Atlantic, and now Rutgers scientists are leading an international project to explore the world’s oceans.

Professor Dunbar Birnie, renewable energy expert

Innovating with Technology

Rutgers professors are seeking solutions to pressing problems. Recognized as an outstanding teacher, renewable energy expert Dunbar Birnie is studying the use of solar canopies for charging electric and hybrid cars.

Rutgers students build Formula-style race cars

Real-world Projects

Beyond the classroom, Rutgers students engage in real-world projects, like building Formula-style race cars for competition with students from other universities.

With U2 at the Top of the Rock

Performing with U2 on the first night of Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show? Yes, that’s the drumline of the Marching Scarlet Knights at the Top of the Rock, represented in our video by Christian Negri, a major in information technology and informatics.

Tyler Scaife, student and Scarlet Knights basketball player

Big Time Competition

With Rutgers’ entry into the Big Ten, fans can expect a new level of competition as Rutgers athletes, such as point guard Tyler Scaife, compete against the likes of Michigan, Northwestern, and Penn State.

Avery Brooks ‘73, ‘76

The Voice of “Revolutionary”

You may not see actor Avery Brooks in the TV spot, but you can certainly hear the resonant voice of the Mason Gross School of the Arts associate professor and alumnus in the video.

Academic Success

Rutgers athletes, such as fullback Michael Burton, excel both on and off the field. The football team consistently ranks in the top 10 percent nationally in an NCAA measure of academic performance.