Kean president announces new dormitories
By Micayela Konviser | Published Sept. 27, 2016
Kean University President Dawood Farahi, in his Opening Day address kicking off the new school year, said the college will build a new dormitory on the grounds of the Campus School North buildings and will relocate the Child Care Center to the Technology Building.
“Not only our students get the best facilities, and world class faculty, world class program,” he said. “But also, they get to live in world class dormitories […] and have amazing food, amazing campus, and so on.”
Fifteen percent of students attending Kean live on campus, according to U.S. News and World Report.
He said that by fall 2018 the school’s “public private partnership” would be used to build new residential facilities holding 388 beds.
Most of his hour-long speech was spent highlighting programs and students that have been successful over the past year or few years. Farahi also explained some of the goals that he has for this year and what he plans to do with some of the funding that the school receives.
Full-time faculty, staff and some students attended the speech on Aug. 31 in the North Avenue building.
Farahi said 35 new faculty members are joining Kean in Union, and 45 new faculty members are joining Wezhou Kean, the university’s campus in China. Additionally, he said 60 staff and administrators are joining the university this year.
He said Wezhou Kean had it’s first graduating class of 287 students earlier this year. This fall, 500 new freshmen in China were accepted to Wezhou Kean. He said that a lot of construction is ongoing, and that next year faculty housing will be completed.
Farahi said that for students looking to study at Wezhou Kean, there is a donor who will pay for the trip there and back.
“If you haven’t had a chance to go to Wenzhou Kean… See if you can do it,” Farahi said. “And for students if you’re qualified to go there, and your program is there, you know what’s gonna happen? I have already found a generous donor to pay for your trip to Wenzhou Kean, and back.”
He also said the Elizabeth NJ Transit train station is getting a $55 million renovation, which will help fulfill his previously announced plans for a “University Boulevard” along Morris Avenue. The future University Boulevard, which is an idea that the city of Elizabeth supports, would revitalize the campus community stretching the mile between North Avenue and the Broad Street train station in Elizabeth.
“We are going to have spectacular things over there,” he said. “A whole bunch of businesses, where you kids, mostly the athletes, will buy stuff you absolutely positively do not need.”
He also announced the opening of a new place to eat on campus, Smash Burger.
Farahi complained about Kean’s graduation rate, which an internal report from 2012 marked at 18 percent for four years. Compared to eight other public universities in the state, Kean ranked sixth in this respect. Farahi said he will be requiring departments to come up with plans on how to improve this.
“We need to Make sure we have four year graduation moved up,” said Farahi.
He explained a few of his ideas on how to improve the graduation rate.
“We have to fix our advisement system,” he said. “Some of our students have taken classes that they shouldn’t, some of them are missing classes that they should have taken, and that delays their graduation, it delays their future.”
Throughout the speech he praised many of the departments and students.
“Our students are not only smart, they’re not only cute, they’re not only the best there is, but they have a sense of public service no other University can match,” he said.
Farahi said that receiving a degree from Kean is not to become a millionaire.
“If you’re here — I’m talking to the newbies — to become a millionaire you have serious psychological problems,” he said. “This is not about the money, it’s about the desire to do something spectacular for somebody other than yourself.”