Everyone on campus flooded to Wilkins Theatre this past Thursday, Aug. 28 at 10 a.m. to celebrate the beginning of the Fall 2019 semester as President Dawood Farahi, Ph.D, gave his Opening Day Address to the Kean community.
Masses of people from all directions could be seen walking towards the Wilkins Theatre lobby, which was at capacity, as the spectators were eager to see what news President Farahi was going to speak on.
The address began with a member of the Kean Board of Trustees introducing President Farahi, which was followed by loud applause and a standing ovation as he took his place at the podium. He began by thanking the Board of Trustees, all of the donors that support the university and everyone that came out to support him as he gave his address.
President Farahi emphasized that the biggest focus is always the students and how the university continues to enact new regiments to support them and guarantee their success in their time at Kean as well as in their post graduation endeavors.
President Farahi said, “We consider what it means to be the agents of change. Changing the status quo is an obligation that we all have. Staying put does not work. Changing expectations of how for any one of our students can go, we must do. And by doing so, we will change their lives and we will guarantee their success.”
He went on to explain Vision2020, which he described as a blueprint that was used over the past few years to ensure success and to help the university to reach its fullest potential. This was used to raise the bar even higher and push more boundaries than the university had ever done before, all to provide the students of Kean University with even more opportunities for learning.
Vision2020 was broken down into subcategories, which President Farahi used as a guideline as he continued with his Opening Day Address. The subcategories included: Focus, Attract, Instruct, Globalize, Expand, Grow, Support, Protect, Innovate and Foster.
President Farahi went on the explain how by enacting these ideals the university has reached the success it has today. By putting focus on the students, the university continues to think of new ideas to enhance learning as well as create various outlets to provide support and opportunities for its students. This in turn ensures success and attracts new students and makes these students eager to set the bar higher than past Kean students.
It is always the goal to instruct students to the highest level, which President Farahi showed examples of as a video on the Cappuccia family played. This video highlighted last year’s valedictorian, Tiziana Cappuccia, and her first generation family. She spoke on how Kean has allowed her and her family to reach great levels of success.
President Farahi moved on to speak on the topic of globalization, which can be seen through the advancements in curriculums and technology on campus. He explained that the university has also expanded their partnerships which beneficially impacts the university tremendously. This has allowed the university to grow their footprint, such as at Kean Highlands, Kean Ocean as well as the Union and East Campus in New Jersey, but also across the globe in Wenzhou, China.
He went on the explain that the university shows continued support to their community through all of these endeavors, as well as protects them in order to ensure their success. Through all of this, the university has remained innovative in academics and technology, which is vital in this ever-changing and advancing world.
Overall, President Farahi summarized Vision2020 through the last ideal, as it is the ultimate goal of the university to foster an equitable and inclusive community for all that are involved in Kean University. President Farahi explained that with the completion of Vision2020, the university is looking forward to the future to set even higher goals than before.
To everyone’s surprise, President Farahi closed his Opening Day Address by announcing that his time as president is coming to an end.
He said, “I have recently advised the Board of Trustees that I will complete the last year of my presidency in 2020, and I do so confidently that Kean University was transformed, it is flourishing, and it is well prepared to serve the next generation of our global leaders.”
It is clear that Kean University has transformed and advanced over the last decade through the leadership of President Farahi, and the Kean community is excited to see what next is in store.