2023 Honors Convocation
Honors Convocation will be held on Friday, May 5, at 2 p.m. in Kean's Harwood Arena and via live stream. Join us in recognizing our honors graduates and their notable achievements in academics, research and service.
Message from Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, David S. Birdsell, Ph.D.
Dear Honors Graduates, Family and Friends,
I am delighted to invite you to Harwood Arena on Friday, May 5, where we will celebrate your outstanding academic accomplishments as an undergraduate student at Kean University. At this event, you will hear from our Salutatorian, from our invited speaker, Rajika Bhandari, Ph.D., an international higher education expert and author, and from other well-wishers on hand to applaud your well-earned honors diplomas. This webpage will provide you with all of the information you need to get the most out of this event.
Though I want to save most of my thoughts about your achievements for the ceremony, I want you to know right now how proud I am of each and every one of you for the talent and resilience you have brought to your studies since becoming a student at Kean. Most of you started your studies in person before the pandemic forced us all online. Some of you have continued to learn predominantly online, while others have taken classes in a variety of delivery formats. The honors designation that we are celebrating is evidence that you have brought an extra measure of determination to your work, excelling in your studies and taking the very best advantage of everything that a Kean University education has to offer. Believe me, lots of people have noticed, as will the graduate schools to which many of you will apply and the employers, now or later, who will consider your applications. You have proven that you have what it takes to succeed at a very high level of accomplishment, and that is why we devote Honors Convocation to you.
I very much look forward to meeting you. Congratulations!
David S. Birdsell, Ph.D.
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Rajika Bhandari, Ph.D., is an international higher education expert, a scholar-practitioner, and the author of the award-winning book, America Calling: A Foreign Student in a Country of Possibility which chronicles her journey as a first-generation student and immigrant from India. With 25 years of experience in the nonprofit and higher education sectors, Bhandari now offers data-driven and evidence-based guidance on international engagement strategy to nonprofits, multilateral organizations, and higher education institutions globally through her firm, Rajika Bhandari Advisors. She currently serves as a Senior Advisor to the President's Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration.
Previously, Bhandari spent over a decade at the Institute of International Education leading IIE’s research, evaluation and thought leadership portfolio, including the Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, an essential resource for understanding international student flows and U.S. study abroad. She has also served as an adjunct professor at Teachers College, Columbia University in New York; has served on the U.S. Commission to UNESCO; and was one of 100 people globally to be awarded the IIE Centennial Medal in 2019 in recognition of her contributions to the field of international education.
Bhandari is a widely published author and frequent speaker on international student issues, global talent, and Asian American identity. She hosts World Wise, a podcast on the intersections of education, culture and (im)migration. Learn more about Bhandari’s work at: www.rajikabhandari.com.
She is the founder of Rajika Bhandari Advisors, offering data-driven and evidence-based strategic consulting and advisory services for global higher education institutions; multilateral organizations; governmental agencies; foundations; and the nonprofit sector.
An author, a first-generation immigrant and Indian American, and mentor to young professionals, Rajika’s work and writings are at the intersection of access and equity in education; cultural and international influences; and finding and developing one’s voice as a thought leader.