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Presidential Announcements

A Message from President Lamont O. Repollet, Ed.D. - February 23, 2024

Dear Kean Community,

This week I was blown away by the power of Team Kean once again. As you all know, we lost power to six of our residence halls on Wednesday. Our Facilities, Public Safety and Student Affairs teams immediately came together to identify the source of the problem, transport hundreds of students to temporary housing and ultimately bring the buildings back into full service. This was truly a collaborative effort. We received support from three Union County agencies, two transportation companies, eight hotels, PSEG and Travis Electric as well as Bloomfield College of Montclair State University. We are grateful to every one of those organizations for stepping up to support our students and our institution.

When I asked my senior leadership team to send me a list of every individual involved in that effort, they identified more than 80 Kean employees, including professional staff and student staff. The work of these individuals was truly remarkable, and my personal thanks goes out to all of them, particularly Vice President for Student Affairs Kerrin Lyles and Vice President for Facilities Steve Remotti and their teams. We can’t always control these types of incidents, but we can control how we respond. Extensive planning and strong relationships and partnerships across the state helped us to quickly and safely care for our students. I want to thank our residential students for their patience and cooperation as well. I know this was disruptive. We are currently analyzing our response to learn from it moving forward.

 

Kean at the AACSB International Conference in Spain

 

As you know, we take great pride in the global reach of our institution. This week I had the good fortune to attend the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) international conference in Barcelona, Spain. It was a great opportunity for Kean to connect with other accredited business schools across the world since we received the prestigious AACSB accreditation last summer. Joined by the dean of the College of Business and Public Management, Dr. Jin Wang, I met with the President and CEO of AACSB Dr. Lily Bi. Kean, which sponsored the conference, is one of just 6% of business colleges across the country to receive this important accreditation. It is already opening doors for our students and faculty, and we look forward to many additional opportunities in the future.

 

While in Europe, I also signed a new agreement to open up international study abroad opportunities for our students in Italy. We met with ISI Florence, a top American center for higher education. Our new agreement will allow Kean students to study for a semester in either Florence or Perugia next year for the same tuition and room and board as they would pay on our New Jersey campuses. This is a tremendous chance for our students to broaden their horizons. It follows similar agreements we announced with three higher education partners in Japan and South Korea in October. We also have a number of Travelearns, which provide shorter study abroad experiences, for students on the horizon. Trips to China, Ireland, London and Paris, Costa Rica and the Texas/Mexico border are already booked for Spring Break, but students can still apply for others to South Korea, Belize and elsewhere this summer. Students, I strongly encourage you to learn more about these programs and explore our world. It’s a valuable part of your global education.

Before I close, I encourage you to reserve your free ticket to the ReelAbilities Film Festival, at NAAB and online, from Thursday, February 29 through Saturday, March 2. This event is a reflection of Kean’s mission of diversity, equity and inclusion as it highlights the extraordinary talents and narratives of people with disabilities through award-winning films.

Have a terrific weekend. 

Sincerely,
 

Lamont O. Repollet, Ed.D.
President

A Message from President Lamont O. Repollet, Ed.D. - February 16, 2024

Dear Kean Community,

This week I had the great privilege of participating in a panel organized by NJ LEEP, a college access and success program serving more than 350 young people in the Newark area. This was a tremendously important conversation with students, their families and stakeholders about the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last summer to strike down the use of race-conscious admissions policies at American universities. This ruling is causing confusion and concern, particularly among Black and brown families that have traditionally been marginalized from higher education.

I made it clear that Kean continues to be a champion of equity and access for all. I explained that we don’t use race as a factor in deciding who gets in. We do ask about race and ethnicity because it matters to us to know who our students are, but it doesn't change our admissions decisions. Given all the talk around diversity in higher education, it’s important for middle school and high school students in our surrounding communities to understand that institutions like Kean welcome them and value who they are and where they come from. I hope the conversation helped ease some of their worries. Thanks to NJ LEEP for having me.

We know that when all students have an equitable chance to succeed, we all thrive. With that in mind, we announced this week that we are joining many other New Jersey colleges and universities in moving our Decision Day to June 1 due to nationwide delays and processing issues with the updated federal application for student aid, or FAFSA. This one-month extension will help ensure that prospective students have time to fully assess the aid package available to them. As New Jersey’s most affordable university, Kean takes great pride in delivering an outstanding education at an economical price, and we always want to be upfront and transparent about the cost for each student. We expect far fewer issues with financial aid processing for current students, but I encourage all students to reach out to FinAid@tommyhilfigerusasale.com if they have any questions.

Kean University's Women's Basketball Team 2024

At Kean, we know teamwork is essential for success, and our athletic teams lead by example. I want to give a big shout out to our women's and men's basketball teams. They ended the regular season ranked third and sixth, respectively, in the New Jersey Athletic Conference and are on their way to tournament play tomorrow. The women's swimming team set not one, but two school records on the opening day of the first-ever NJAC Swimming and Diving Championships at the University of Maryland. Cougar Baseball also opened up their 2024 season with a win. Phew, that’s a lot of strong performances from our teams. Go Cougars!

Before I sign off, I invite all of you to the University’s Mid-Year Convocation “Count on Me” to discover how Kean measures up on equity, high-impact research and community engagement. The event will run from 3:15 to 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 7 at the Miron Student Center. Register to attend today.

Enjoy the long Presidents Day weekend. 

Sincerely,

 

Lamont O. Repollet, Ed.D.
President

A Message from President Lamont O. Repollet, Ed.D. - February 9, 2024

Dear Kean Community,

This week I am once again reminded just how much I enjoy the fellowship of the Kean community. I hosted the interim president of Grambling State University, Dr. Connie Walton, at the Kean House and also joined other members of Team Kean at the Big Brothers Big Sisters / Divine Nine Bowl-a-Thon with Lt. Gov. Tahesha Way.

It was also a joy to see faculty and staff come out to support our student athletes during the Student Affairs Night of Support at the women’s and men’s basketball games on Wednesday. Brittany Graff, a senior on our women’s team, scored her 1,000th point for Kean in its game against Rutgers-Camden. Yes, you read that correctly – 1,000 points. The women’s team went on to score 120 points in that winning game. Congratulations to all! I like a little healthy competition so I offered student fans the chance to earn free tuition for a semester if they could score a half-court shot. Kudos to Syncere Simon, a senior recreational therapy major, for winning the contest. I bet he’s glad he went to cheer on the Cougars.

I had the opportunity to meet with the team leading our campus master plan project this week. This group, led by DIGroupArchitecture, will be working collaboratively with stakeholders across Kean to develop a blueprint for our University over the next 10 years. The goal is to ensure we have the facilities and services that meet our needs as New Jersey's urban research university and uphold the core values of the institution.

The process will look at everything from literal pathways between buildings to lab space, classrooms, technology, residential housing, traffic patterns, parking and more across the entire campus. Among other things, they’ll help us build a roadmap for our research triangle that connects the 1085 Morris Ave. building that we recently acquired with STEM and George Hennings Hall. This is all part of a collective effort. Many of you, including students, will be asked to contribute to this process in the coming months so I thank you in advance for your participation and insight. My thanks also to Senior Vice President Felice Vazquez and Vice President Steve Remotti for directing this project.

While the campus master plan progresses, my Cabinet team continues its work leading strategic planning for the University. This week, I asked each member of the Cabinet to demonstrate how their divisions are embracing a "Built to Last" mentality and action plan, as described by author Jim Collins. I was impressed to see how each is striving to be a "clock builder," by implementing programs, initiatives and systems designed to thrive far beyond their time here at Kean and beyond any single leader. This is the type of work that will sustain Kean University long into the future. I encourage each of you to read Built to Last and to consider how you, too, can be a clock builder in your areas.

As most of you have seen, Kean made national news this week with our announcement of a dual degree partnership with Howard University. The new program allows chemistry students the chance to apply for and begin Howard’s Doctorate of Pharmacy, or Pharm.D. program, early so they can ultimately save a year of time off their studies. We were very excited to see all of the attention coming from this connection with one of the nation’s best historically Black universities. From Gov. Murphy’s social media post to my interview this week with NPR’s Philadelphia affiliate, this news is helping to expand the reach of the Kean brand.

We also signed another agreement for a dual degree Pharm.D. program with Fairleigh Dickinson University this week. This program will follow a very similar model as the Howard agreement and provide another option for chemistry students who want to stay close to home during their graduate studies. We will continue to explore other post-secondary pathways for our students to help them maximize their potential across disciplines. That’s what we mean by Cougars Climb Higher. 

Enjoy the weekend.

Sincerely,

Lamont O. Repollet, Ed.D.
President

A Message from President Lamont O. Repollet, Ed.D. - February 2, 2024

Dear Kean Community,

As Black History Month begins, I'm excited to participate in a series of events - both on and off campus - that celebrate Black culture and achievements throughout our shared history. For the second year in a row, I’ll join a group of students at the Invesco QQQ Legacy Classic, which is a men's basketball showcase for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) created by award-winning actor, producer and director Michael B. Jordan. As a Minority Serving Institution, Kean has a great deal in common with HBCUs, and we can learn a lot from the culture of those institutions. I look forward to bringing a diverse group of students to this great event.

This week I was thrilled to announce the establishment of the Center for Africana Studies. Housed in the College of Education, the Center will focus on scholarly research, community engagement, and educational programs, particularly supporting the Amistad curriculum's implementation in K-12 schools. This vital curriculum highlights the African slave trade, America's history of slavery, and Africans' extensive contributions to society.

The Center for Africana Studies marks a significant step in our ongoing efforts to cultivate an environment where diversity is celebrated, equity is pursued with intention, and inclusivity is prioritized in every endeavor. This initiative is a tangible embodiment of our roles and responsibilities as New Jersey’s urban research university and as an anchor institution for the state. The Center aims to inspire students, educators and the broader community to engage in meaningful discussions and impactful initiatives that advance social justice and cultural understanding. Now the work begins. I can’t wait to see where it takes us.

President Repollet Speaking to Packed Room at Breaking Bias Symposium

Yesterday's symposium with Attorney General Matthew Platkin and the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights on combating bias and hate was a testament to our commitment to social justice. Kean Hall 127 was packed with more than 150 of our students, faculty and staff. AG Platkin saw hope in our numbers; for me, it was an affirmation of who we are and what we stand for as a university. It wasn't just about attendance; it was about unifying against bias and hate. It's clear: Kean is leading by example in fostering a culture of inclusivity and equity in action. Together, we are not just part of the conversation; we are driving it, shoulder to shoulder, as one Kean community. And for that, I couldn't be more proud.

I can’t end this message without thanking my lovely wife Darlene for leading the discussion with author and vegan foodie Tabitha Brown on Monday as part of our President’s Distinguished Lecture Series. Even watching it remotely, I was impressed by how effortlessly she stole the show. It was great to see a full audience, too, soaking up all of Brown’s infectious positivity and valuable insights. 

Sincerely,

Lamont O. Repollet, Ed.D.
President

A Message from President Lamont O. Repollet, Ed.D. - January 26, 2024

Dear Kean Community,

With classes underway, now is the time for our Kean students to be thinking about their career development. This week I had the opportunity to connect with two Kean alumnae, Tameka Harris ’99 and Tristine Harris ’06, who work for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the chief human resources agency for the federal government. We spoke about all of the opportunities available for our students, and we will be sharing more information about an exciting new program in the coming weeks through our Career Services office. Whether students need help brainstorming potential careers, editing their resumes or exploring internships and job openings, the team in Career Services is ready to help. Students, please start off the new year right by taking advantage of these services. Don’t wait!

I strongly believe that education is the great equalizer, and everyone deserves the same shot at unlocking their potential with a college degree. That’s why this week I was so proud to introduce the new Kean Global Education and Resource Campus. Under the direction of our Division of Transformational Learning and External Affairs, this initiative gives adults who have some college credit but no degree the chance to return to school and finish what they started. The program offers credit for professional and military experiences so these students can complete their degrees faster and at less cost.

We know this program will open doors for students from all walks of life, particularly those from underrepresented communities that have traditionally been marginalized from higher education. But there’s more! As a testament to our commitment to equity and academic excellence, we are starting with our core by giving Kean employees – and their families – first dibs at this incredible opportunity by enrolling as early as March. Visit tommyhilfigerusasale.com/finish to see if you or your loved ones qualify. My thanks to Senior Vice President Dr. Joseph Youngblood and Vice President Jay O’Callaghan for making this happen. We look forward to seeing this program grow.

Kean Artist-in-Resident Ricardo Roig Opening Reception

Last night, Kean Artist-in-Resident Ricardo Roig ’08 unveiled his solo exhibition, Layers of Life, at the Karl and Helen Burger Gallery in CAS. I really enjoy the unique energy, emotions and experiences that come through the color and artistry of his work. Inspired by his time at the University this past year, Ricardo and his wife, Michelle, also etched a legacy – announcing the Roig Family Art Endowed Scholarship for students majoring in fine arts at Kean, for which I am truly grateful. I also had the chance to visit an art exhibition called Ephemeral by student Charely Paulino in the Student Gallery at Vaughn-Eames. What amazing work!

Just one month into the new year, our student athletes are making waves. Women's basketball is currently tied for first place in the New Jersey Athletic Conference with a 10-2 record, while the women's swimming team is preparing for their first NJAC Championship meet next month. Go Cougars!

As February rolls in next week, campus is in full swing. We will kick off Black History Month next week with vegan author and influencer Tabitha Brown on Monday for the sold-out President’s Distinguished Lecture Series event. Our alumni team will also host a Celebrating Black Excellence alumni reception following the event. On Thursday, February 1, I encourage all of you to attend the Breaking Bias Combating Hate event, where Kean student leaders and I will join Attorney General Matthew Platkin and representatives from the Division of Civil Rights for this open discussion about bias and hate in New Jersey. The event runs from 2-4 p.m. in Kean Hall 127, and I hope to see you there.

While you’re adding events to your calendar, consider learning about the many master's, doctorate, certification or professional diplomas you can earn right here at Kean at the Graduate Open House on Saturday, February 3.

Enjoy your weekend. 

Sincerely,

Lamont O. Repollet, Ed.D.
President

A Message from President Lamont O. Repollet, Ed.D. - January 19, 2024

Dear Kean Community,

As we kick off the 2024 Spring semester, I am celebrating both how far we have come and where we are going as a research institution. Our bright path forward came further into focus this week as members of my senior leadership team and I toured 1085 Morris Avenue, the sprawling building next to STEM that is about to become a new anchor facility of our entire University. As some of you know, the Board of Trustees approved the acquisition of this building, with strong financial support from the state, at its meeting in December. Our vision for this facility is as immense as the building itself. In the coming years, it will become the new home of research and the University's community health initiatives and clinical services. 

President Repollet and senior staff tour building site

In a full-circle moment for me, I donned a hard hat once again, just as I did during my days as superintendent in Asbury Park, to show how much we are truly building together as a team. As Kean moves closer to achieving an R2 research designation, it’s imperative that we have the facilities to match our ambitions. Over the past three-plus years, we have worked to make our transformation a reality here at Kean. This building offers us the chance to customize many spaces for our research needs and to serve the community as well. It will become a centerpiece for research activity on campus, forming a triangle with STEM and George Hennings Hall, which also both house our science programs. 

1085 Morris Avenue Building

I thank Chief of Staff Audrey Kelly and Senior Vice President Felice Vazquez, and their teams, for making this acquisition a reality. It’s been a long process and will leave a legacy that generations of Kean students will benefit from for decades to come. This is truly one of the most exciting developments in my tenure at Kean. Did I mention it comes with a parking garage that has more than 600 parking spaces? I’ve heard all the comments about parking loud and clear over the years. The garage, next to Hynes Hall, should be ready for student use by the 2024-2025 school year. It is a short walk across Morris Avenue to our main campus. I look forward to sharing more about this exciting project in the months and years ahead. 

Speaking of exciting developments, I’m sure most of you have seen our new Kean.edu website. Under the direction of University Relations, we overhauled the main site to better showcase the University’s research and online initiatives as well as to offer a better mobile experience. The website is Kean’s digital front door and the first place prospective students and others come to learn about all we have to offer. I specifically thank Vice President Karen Smith and Webmaster Danielle Ford for their enormous efforts to bring the new site to life. Great job, team UR.

Today, I had the honor of celebrating a Kean milestone – the first cohort to complete our Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies program. These 18 students are trailblazers who embody the spirit of resilience, dedication and innovation that characterizes our University, our students and our alumni. They are entering the field equipped to provide equitable, quality patient care, to effect change and save lives. I am proud of all they have accomplished thus far and look forward to the positive impact they will make in the healthcare industry. 

We will be kicking off our Black History Month celebrations a few days early this year, as the University welcomes author, actress and vegan foodie Tabitha Brown on Monday, January 29 as part of the President’s Distinguished Lecture Series. She will inspire us with her positivity and empowering story during a fireside chat with my wife, Darlene Repollet, followed by a Q&A with the audience. Kean students, faculty and staff, be sure to reserve your free tickets before we are all sold out.

I hope you’re all enjoying the snow as you settle into the semester. Let’s make it a great one.

Sincerely,

Lamont O. Repollet, Ed.D.
President