At the end of 2021, Kean University was designated as New Jersey’s first urban research university. At the head of that institution is Repollet, a former state education commissioner who was officially installed in his current post in October of last year, following a year of delay due to – you guessed it – COVID-19. The school alumnus is also a former Kean trustee and the university’s first Black president.
“It will change the course of this institution and provide new opportunities for the students we serve,” Repollet said when legislation codifying Kean as the state’s fifth-designated research university was signed. “As the state’s only urban research university, we can also make a real difference in the lives of New Jerseyans living in urban communities as we help urban centers build stronger futures.”
And the past year was full of new and unique opportunities for students, indeed. The school teamed up with the New York Red Bulls soccer club to launch a multiyear partnership to provide students with experiential learning and career opportunities. It’s also attracting attention for the preparation students are already getting: In February, Kean was designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense by the NSA for its efforts (and academics) to address the shortage of trained cybersecurity professionals. The school’s John S. Watson Institute of Urban Policy and Research is also signed on to help develop a first-of-its-kind Maternal and Infant Health Innovation Center in Trenton that finds it collaborating with the NJEDA and Stockton University researchers.
Ahead of this school year, Kean said its incoming class of freshman represented the biggest in its history. “Kean is on the rise,” Repollet said on opening day in an address to the school, and it certainly looks that way.