Stockton University President Harvey Kesselman will retire at the end of the school’s fiscal year, June 30, 2023.
“There are no words to accurately express how I feel about my beloved alma mater. My time and tenure with Stockton have been nothing short of amazing, exceeding all of my expectations as a career and a community,” Kesselman said making his announcement during the board of trustees meeting at the Stockton Atlantic City campus July 20.
Kesselman was a member of the first class at what was then Stockton State College in 1971. He became a faculty member, holding several mid- and senior-level administrative positions, and began serving as acting president in April 2015. The university’s board of trustees named Kesselman president in December 2015.
“More than seven years ago, I began my presidency with the guiding principle of students first. Together, our dedicated faculty, staff and administrators worked tirelessly with me to deliver on the promise of making a Stockton degree more valuable each and every day,” he said.
Kesselman shepherded the university through its expansion to Atlantic City in 2018, which was then designated by the state as an Anchor Institution in the city. He also championed equitable funding for public colleges and universities in New Jersey.
During his tenure, Kesselman supported the opening of a second Unified Science Center and the John F. Scarpa Health Sciences Center on the Galloway campus and overall increased Stockton’s pre-eminence in STEM and health care graduates. He also increased state appropriations to the university by 123% to balance inequities in funding and forged new pathways to higher education by building partnerships with 12 New Jersey community colleges.
More than 50 years ago, I made a life-changing decision. A decision to explore something new and different, something with promise and possibility, something I knew would be challenging but also transformative. It has proven to be one of the best decisions of my life.
— Outgoing Stockton University President Harvey Kesselman
Under his leadership, the university has received INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine’s Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2021, and the 2018 Inclusive Excellence Awards from the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education.
Kesselman has served on multiple statewide boards including as chair of the New Jersey Presidents Council, chair of New Jersey Campus Compact, chair of the New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities, and co-chair of the Student Success Working Group for the New Jersey Strategic Plan for Higher Education.
“Stockton would not be the nationally ranked, thriving institution it is today if not for the dedication and hard work of Harvey Kesselman for nearly five decades,” said Raymond Ciccone, chair of Stockton’s board of trustees. “He is an extraordinary, strong leader who not only planted himself where he could grow but did the same for this once small college in the Pines.”
The university will launch a national presidential search in the coming months and Kesselman will remain at Stockton as president emeritus and tenured professor of education after the new president is selected.