At the beginning of each school year, students, faculty and guests can look forward to new information and changes regarding Kean University. Kean students start by preparing for new classes, while faculty can anticipate the start of a new course.
To open the year with a bang, Dr. Dawood Farahi addressed the Kean community with new outcomes. On Thursday, Aug. 30, in the North Avenue Academic Building (NAAB), Dr. Farahi delivered his opening address.
Guests could be seen filling in and sitting down, talking to each other about what they anticipated to hear. While the guests were waiting, calm music played in the background, alongside various videos showcasing the achievements Kean had obtained throughout the years.
At 10 a.m., Chair of Kean University's Board of Trustees Ada Morell welcomed the crowd and introduced Dr. Farahi.
"On behalf of the board of trustees, we extend all of our welcome," said Morell.
Dr. Farahi then came out and gave his thanks to Morell for her tireless dedication to the University. He recognized some of the special guests who attended as well. One person who he acknowledged was Jim Hynes, who attended Kean 60 years ago and has been helpful with donations. He also gave Kean students the ability to use the Jim Hynes '63 Baseball Stadium and Field House.
"It is my honor to welcome all of you today and thank you for taking the time to come,” said Dr. Farahi. “You saw in the beginning video all of the achievements the faculty and staff have and all of their stories. We will share all of these stories on our new website."
Dr. Farahi understands that the greatest investment for Kean University is the people and that hiring influential faculty is vital to the success of students across campus.
"We have hired more than any other university in New Jersey. Since July 1, 2017, a total of 321 faculty and staff have joined Kean University. Also there are 128 full-time faculty here in Kean USA and 80 full-time faculty in Wenzhou-Kean."
Dr. Farahi then followed that by saying that Kean students deserve the best and proceeded to show a video that exemplified how Kean can develop new initiatives such as Cougar Hall. The video helped to show how Cougar Hall will be beneficial for freshmen and can aid them in areas of studying, socializing and getting used to the Kean lifestyle.
"Cougar Hall is our first public-private partnership and we have over 380 beds in this facility, [which] brings in the total number of freshmen that live on campus to 740," said Dr. Farahi. "We're also working on providing learning opportunities like no other for the students. Our Highland campus will be done by the end of this calendar year. It's the nature's own educational facility inside of 1200 acres."
A video was then shown of the process and continuation of the Highlands campus, leaving guests dumbfounded by the progress of the building.
"Experiential learning is where we ought to be, experiential learning is what distinguishes best from online operations and experiential learning is what will attract the students to do things and learn from doing it," said Dr. Farahi. "Our students also need clinical learning experiences. Innovation of our laboratories in biology and chemistry is already underway—we have four of those and the rest will be done by the end of next year."
He then explained that Kean students would no longer have to dissect frogs in 30-year-old laboratories because new innovations would be given to the students and faculty. A video was then shown to provide information for those looking to start or continue in science fields.
Dr. Farahi then spoke about the new building that would replace Willis Hall that will house business and public management programs.
"This will go before the Board of Trustees in a couple of weeks for approval, and we expect it to be finished soon. All of business and public management programs will move to this building."
Liberty Hall is an American treasure that is housed at Kean University. With that in mind, Dr. Farahi is proud of the new plans to expand Liberty Hall.
"In Liberty Hall we are also building an academic building that will have two exhibit halls, in which we will display the amazing treasures of Liberty Hall."
He then spoke about the expansion to China, with some Wenzhou students seated in the audience excited to start a new journey here at the Union campus. He then showed a video that allowed the crowd to see the impact of Union campus students studying at Wenzhou-Kean and experiencing more outside of what they know.
Dr. Farahi then spoke highly of the research department at Kean and Research Days, which allows students the opportunity to showcase their skills for graduate school and other beneficial platforms.
"Finally we will be able to open the door for deserving students who don't have the financial resources to come to Kean. This spring, the Board of Trustees approved the Centennial Scholarship Fund. This will allow up to 200 gifted and talented students with a family income of $75,000 or less to come to Kean with 80 percent of their tuition paid."
Dr. Farahi then closed his speech with an important, inspirational quote from President Abraham Lincoln that left the audience with hope and anticipation of the new changes.
"The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew," Dr. Farahi read.
A thunderous applause followed the opening address, showcasing the excitement and anticipation of a successful academic year.