Kean University President Lamont Repollet was officially installed Oct. 14 as the 18th leader of the institution after a yearlong wait due to the ongoing pandemic.
Repollet, a Kean alumnus and former Kean trustee, is now the university’s first Black president.
“As I accept this appointment as president, I acknowledge, ‘To whom much is given, much will be required,’” he said in an on-campus ceremony.
“Building a positive climate and culture is what we’re all about,” he said. “As Kean emerges as the Urban Research University of New Jersey, I am committed to leveraging the resources of Kean University to contribute directly to solving our state’s most challenging social and economic challenges.”
Repollet is a former New Jersey Education Commissioner, school superintendent, principal and teacher, and was named president of the university last year. Though the pandemic delayed his formal installation, since taking office, he’s maintained a focus on safety, academic excellence and equity, while overseeing health and safety measures to curtail the spread of COVID-19.
Calling Repollet a “visionary leader and champion for student success,” Secretary of Higher Education Brian Bridges said under his leadership, the state will strengthen its partnership with Kean University.
“From teacher and coach to principal, education commissioner and now university president, Dr. Repollet shares our vision to create a stronger and fairer economy through equity-driven policies that ensure all students, regardless of life circumstances, can earn a college degree at an affordable price,” Bridges said.
During his tenure, Repollet created programs to increase equity, diversify the faculty and boost research, including spearheading a drive toward elevating Kean to a Carnegie R2 research institution.
Jason Pleitez, executive president of student organization, said that under Repollet’s leadership, “there is a new life to our institution and in my opinion, the beginning of the most influential era of Kean University yet.”
After earning his master’s in educational leadership at Kean and a doctorate in education from Nova Southeastern University, Repollet began his career as a math teacher and coach in East Orange. He’d grown up in Carteret in a family that he said was “stern when it came to school.”
Now, as president of the university, he shared, “I have loved Kean fiercely since I first arrived on campus as a graduate student and later as a member of the board of trustees,” he said. “I loved it because I instantly felt a connection. I felt like I belonged. I’m determined to make sure each and every student feels the same way.
“I’m determined to build a team and a culture where we lift each other up and catch each other when we stumble,” he said.l