BRANCHBURG, NJ - The Honorable Thomas H. Kean, who served as Governor of New Jersey from 1982-1990 and was president of Drew University from 1990-2005, will deliver the commencement address at Raritan Valley Community College’s 48th annual spring commencement, Saturday, May 13, at 10 a.m.
Kean will receive an honorary degree during the ceremony, which will be held on the soccer field at the College’s Branchburg campus.
RVCC will award associate degrees or certificates to 1,200 students.
As governor, Kean was rated among America’s most effective state leaders by Newsweek magazine; noted for tax cuts that spurred 750,000 new jobs; a federally replicated welfare reform program; landmark environmental policies; and more than 30 education reforms.
He delivered the keynote address at the 1988 Republican National Convention. Kean was re-elected for a second term by the largest margin in state history. While governor, he served on the President’s Education Policy Advisory Committee and as chair of the Education Commission of the States and the National Governors Association Task Force on Teaching. He remains one of the most popular governors in New Jersey’s history.
In December 2002, Kean was named by President George W. Bush to head the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. The Commission’s work culminated in July 2004 with the release of the 9/11 Commission Report, which quickly became a national bestseller. Its recommendations resulted in the largest intelligence reform in the nation’s history. Kean served as the Chairman of the 9/11 Public Discourse Project, a nonprofit entity created with private funds to continue the Commission’s work of guarding against future attacks.
During his 15-year tenure at Drew, he focused on shaping Drew into one of the nation’s leading small liberal arts universities by stressing the primacy of teaching, the creative use of technology in the liberal arts, and the importance of international education.
During Kean’s presidency, applications to Drew increased by more than 40 percent; the endowment nearly tripled; and over $60 million was committed to construction of new buildings and renovation of older buildings, principally student residence halls.
Kean served on several national committees and commissions. He headed the American delegation to the UN Conference on Youth in Thailand, served as vice chairman of the American delegation to the World Conference on Women in Beijing, and served as a member of President Clinton’s Initiative on Race. He also served on the National Endowment for Democracy. He holds more than 30 honorary degrees and numerous awards from environmental and educational organizations.
Kean currently serves as chairman of the Board of Carnegie Corporation of New York. In addition, he has served on a number of corporate boards and is chair of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, co-chair of JerseyCan and is co-chairman with Congressman Lee Hamilton of the National Security Preparedness Group.
He is vice chairman of the Environmental Defense Fund. He serves on the board of the Seeing Eye and is the former chair of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the nation’s largest health philanthropy. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, American Academy of Art & Sciences and the vice chairman of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.
Kean holds a B.A. from Princeton University and an M.A. from Columbia University Teachers College and has served as a Trustee of both institutions. Kean is the author of The Politics of Inclusion (The Free Press) and is co-author of Without Precedent (Alfred A. Knopf).
He writes a regular column for The Star Ledger with former Governor Brendan Byrne and appears as a regular commentator on NJTV News.
Raritan Valley Community College’s main campus is located at 118 Lamington Road in Branchburg,