UNION, NJ – Kean University named a new president on Monday afternoon during a meeting of the Board of Trustees to fill the spot being vacated by outgoing president Dawood Farahi, who is stepping down at the end of this academic year.
Current New Jersey Department of Education Commissioner Dr. Lamont Repollet has been named the 18th leader of the University. Repollet was nominated to be Commissioner of Education by Governor Murphy on January 12, 2018 and was sworn into office June 19, 2018.
“I am both humbled and energized by this appointment, and by the faith the Board of Trustees is placing in me to continue Kean University’s progress as one of the best institutions of higher education in New Jersey,” Repollet said after the vote. “I have important work to finish with the state, but I am grateful Governor Murphy supports this next step in my career, and I look forward to working with him in this new role.”
Repollet says he supports Gov. Murphy’s student-centered vision for higher education with the goal of making New Jersey the hub for American innovation and economic opportunity. Included in the vision is a Student Bill of Rights to encourage students to pursue higher education through college preparatory programs, reduce college costs, support a timely path to graduation, create a welcoming learning environment, and cultivate research, innovation and talent.
From 2014 to 2018, Dr. Repollet served as superintendent of the Asbury Park School District. According to the New Jersey Department of Education’s website, Repollet has earned honors and recognition from numerous organizations. Most recently he received the 2019 Medal of Excellence for Distinguished Service from The College of Education at Rowan University, the 2019 Trailblazer Award from the Innovation for Equity Summit and the 2019 Conclave Image Award from Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.
Repollet graduated from Kean with a master’s degree in educational administration in 2000 and served on the Kean Board of Trustees from 2011 to 2018 before assuming his role as commissioner. He earned his doctorate in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University, his Master’s in Educational Administration from Kean University, and his Bachelor’s in communications from The College of New Jersey, according to the Department of Education’s website. He is a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. and serves as a mentor for the Sigma Beta Club.
“When I sought this office, I said my Commissioner of Education would fully understand the challenges students and educators face in their classrooms, because I would choose someone who came from the classroom," said Governor Phil Murphy in a statement. "Dr. Repollet has provided that leadership. While he will be missed, I have full confidence that the team at DOE will continue to build on his track record of success."
Leaders of the Kean Federation of Teachers, the union representing faculty at Kean University, say the appointment of Repollet as the university’s new president offers hope for the university, which is needed now more than ever given the existential threats the COVID-19 pandemic presents to higher education. Union leaders also voiced confidence that Repollet’s experience as state education commissioner—a commissioner who involved all stakeholders in policy decisions—could open up a new era of faculty-administration cooperation.
Farahi announced his plans to step down as president in August, 2019. Farahi began his career at Kean more than 30 years ago in the classroom. According to Kean University, since his 2003 appointment, Farahi has “championed a multitude of groundbreaking initiatives that have elevated both the quality and stature of Kean University.”
It’s not known who Murphy will pick to replace Repollet.