Rasmussen named director of Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics

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A Rider University graduate who studied under the late Professor David Rebovich, the founder of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics, has assumed the directorship of the Rider University-based institute.

Micah Rasmussen took over the reins of the Rebovich Institute on June 1. He succeeds former director Ben Dworkin, who resigned in January to become the founding director of the Rowan Institute for Public Policy and Citizenship at Rowan University, Glassboro.

Dworkin, who served as director of the Rebovich Institute for 10 years, brought in speakers such as Tom Ridge, the former secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Karl Rove, the senior adviser to President George W. Bush; and numerous politicians, from former governors James McGreevey, Thomas Kean, Brendan Byrne and Christine Todd Whitman, to now-Gov. Phil Murphy, state Senate President Steve Sweeney and U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson-Coleman.

The Rebovich Institute was originally known as the Rider Institute for New Jersey Politics. It was established by Rebovich in 2001 and renamed in his honor following his death in 2007. Dworkin was named the director in 2008.

The Rebovich Institute helps students gain experience in New Jersey politics through research projects, internships, service learning, job placement and career development. Students can network and study at the institute.

Rasmussen, who graduated from Rider University in 1992, is a former press secretary to former Gov. James McGreevey. He led political campaigns for the state Senate and Congress. He also served as the communications director for the state Department of Transportation.

Rasmussen, no relation to Scott Rasmussen of the Rasmussen Reports, which is a public opinion polling company, most recently worked as the vice president of executive communications for the Chubb Corporation, which is the world’s largest publicly traded insurance company.

Rasmussen said he is indebted to Rebovich, who helped him to gain a political internship working on a state Senate campaign as a student at Rider. Internships are an important component of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics.

“Professor Rebovich was a mentor who played an out-sized role in shaping the direction of my career,” Rasmussen said.

He said he is happy to be back at Rider, where he will have the opportunity to help students, just as Rebovich helped and guided him.

Rasmussen also will serve as an adjunct professor in the university’s Department of Political Science. He has taught state, county and local government on the community college level.

In addition, Rasmussen founded a civics education program, the New Jersey Model Congress, in which students identify problems in their communities and work with elected officials to solve them.

“My goal is to bring that kind of tangible, engaged learning to the Rebovich Institute. Students can learn about the practical difference they can make in the civic life of their communities, counties and states,” Rasmussen said.