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Dr. Dawood Farahi

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Kean University President

Dr. Dawood Farahi


Dr. Farahi's Timeline at Kean University

The People’s Republic of China formally approved the development of Wenzhou Kean University, which now enrolls more than 400 students. The Chinese government is so impressed with the progress of the new campus they dedicated an additional 400 acres in the region for its future growth.


Kean University and Liberty Hall Museum hosted the first Governor’s Ball on the museum grounds, welcoming more than 300 guests to a celebration at the home of New Jersey’s first Governor, William Livingston. Five of New Jersey’s seven living Governors attended the ball and socialized with guests. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie applauded Kean University President Dawood Farahi and the Kean family for working together to preserve this national treasure and its place in New Jersey and American history.


President Farahi announces that Kean University’s Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) in Global Management program has received a three-year accreditation from EPAS, an international program accreditation system operated by the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD). According to EFMD, the system aims to evaluate the quality of any business and/or management program that has an international perspective of an appropriately high quality. This is the first M.B.A. program in the United States be accredited.


President Farahi unveils “Vision 2020” for Kean University, a comprehensive, strategic guide for the future growth and development of Kean University. Dr. Farahi unveils this visionary approach for the University at his Opening Day address to faculty, administrators and students in September 2011.  The initiatives outlined include: the creation of a new learning center in the New Jersey Highlands to support science and sustainability initiatives; investments in applied research programming to further establish Kean’s leadership in these fields; the completion of the bold and innovative new Green Lane Academic Building to support the expansion of design and business programming; the creation of a University Boulevard concept to connect the Kean Union campus to the Elizabeth Train Station; the launch of new social media communications programming to better connect the University with the communities it serves; and, the development of a full-scale campus in China to facilitate international education and exchange initiatives.


The Human Rights Institute at Kean University officially opened its doors in May 2010 with a standing room-only ceremony that marked the expansion of the University’s groundbreaking efforts to educate New Jersey students and the world about the atrocities of the Holocaust and ongoing human rights violations. President Farahi conceived of and created the Institute in an effort to keep generations of students focused on their responsibility as global citizens. An annual conference on human rights sheds light on topics ranging from Darfur to slavery in the 21st Century to combating hatred. World-renowned human rights activists, including John Prendergast of the #Enough project, have provided leadership and insights on the development of the Institute’s programming and initiatives.


Arts programming and education at Kean University took an enormous leap forward with the opening of the Gene and Shelley Enlow Recital Hall in the beautifully restored Nathan Weiss Graduate College in Hillside in October 2009. President Farahi envisioned the former chapel of the old Pingry School as the perfect place for a recital hall that would bring world-class performances to University campus, while providing the University’s finest music students with an opportunity to perform in one of the premier recital venues in the region. 


Kean University moves another leap forward in its pursuit of academic excellence with the creation and approval of the University’s first doctoral program.  President Farahi and the University community welcomed Kean’s first students in the Doctorate of Psychology program in September 2008, and celebrate their graduation just a few years later. This doctoral program was quickly followed by a second doctoral program in Educational Leadership, and a landmark new doctoral program in Nursing.


In a landmark moment in Kean University history, President Farahi and Mr. John Kean signed an agreement on May 9, 2007 transferring ownership of historic Liberty Hall Museum and its 26 acres of pristine land to the University in exchange for a commitment on the University’s part to help preserve and promote this national treasure. Home of William Livingston, New Jersey’s first elected governor and signer of the Constitution, Liberty Hall Museum was built in 1772. The agreement spurred the creation of outstanding, jointly-sponsored exhibits at the Museum, research projects into the archives and undiscovered treasures of the Kean family, and the development of a new operating farm onsite.


Chinese President Xi Jinping, then Party Secretary of Zhejiang Province, visits New Jersey and Kean University to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the sister-state agreement between Zhejiang Province and the State of New Jersey. The occasion is highlighted by President Farahi’s announcement that Kean University will become the first American university in history to open an extensive campus in Wenzhou, China.  The agreement, signed on May 8, 2006, began the lengthy, successful process of international negotiations, development and cultural exchanges. 



President Farahi led the celebration of Kean University’s 150th Anniversary as an institute of higher education in New Jersey.  The anniversary sparked a yearlong celebration of Kean’s history and impact on the lives of tens of thousands of students.  One highlight of the celebration was the April 2005 commemorative ceremony in the Center for Academic Success, complete with birthday cake, music and laughter, where President Farahi announced that the first baby born in Trinitas Hospital, Elizabeth, that day would receive a full-tuition scholarship to Kean. Alicia Delmis Medrano of Elizabeth, born at 2:37 a.m. on 4/17/2005, won the scholarship.


Under the leadership of its dynamic new President Dawood Farahi, Kean University earns approval to launch key programs in the New Jersey Center for Science, Technology and Mathematics (NJSTEM) program aimed at addressing the nation’s shortage of bench scientists and teachers in mathematics and the sciences. In fall 2004, Kean accepted its first students to the five-year combined scientist/teacher and professional researcher programs leading to a Masters degrees.  The program, now a hallmark of Kean University, makes it home in NJ STEM building on Morris Avenue which includes some of New Jersey’s finest research laboratories and a state-of-the-art 3D CAVE facility to enhance research and learning activities.



Dr. Dawood Farahi is named President of Kean University by a unanimous vote of the Board of Trustees. Dr. Farahi, a naturalized citizen who immigrated to the United States from Afghanistan as a college student, often shares with Kean students that he is a living example of how education can help people realize their American dream. He earned a Ph.D. from the University of Kansas, where he was a Fulbright Scholar. He rose through the ranks of the University faculty and management to take the helm of New Jersey’s third largest public university at a time of great promise as well as challenges. 

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