Skip to main content

Return to Campus

All Kean students who attend classes on campus must receive a COVID-19 vaccination before the Fall 2021 semester begins. Learn more on the #VaxUpKean website.

Kean Celebrates 1,135 Honors Graduates of the Class of 2021

Well wishes from family and friends for the Honors graduates

Kean University’s highest-achieving graduates in the Class of 2021 were recognized for their perseverance and academic success at the University’s virtual Honors Convocation on Friday, April 30. 

“To get here, to this Honors Convocation, you put in years of hard work, long nights, countless hours at the library or laboratory - and drank lots of Starbucks caffeine. Graduating with honors is proof that giving it your all, even if you’re tired or distracted by other things in life, pays off,” said Kean President Lamont O. Repollet, Ed.D., in his remarks to the graduates.

Speaking to the 1,135 honors graduates and their families and friends watching online, Repollet noted that this year’s graduating class achieved their goals while living through a worldwide pandemic, the economic fallout from that, and the “explosion of deep political and social division” that has occurred across the nation. 

The president encouraged the honors graduates to savor their accomplishments, share the day with friends and family, and “enjoy every moment.”

“You achieved greatness during a tense time as honors graduates,” he said. “You persevered. I congratulate you on a job well done.”

In addition to Repollet, speakers included Kean Senior Vice President for Research Jeffrey H. Toney, Ph.D., and keynote speaker DiOnetta Jones Crayton, associate dean and director of the Office of Minority Education at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A stirring vocal performance of the Star-Spangled Banner was sung by Kean student Zirah Hajjaj, a sophomore music major.

Watch the ceremony here.

Graduates and their loved ones also shared the milestone via social media with the hashtags #KeanHonors and #Kean2021. Their posts became part of the virtual event on the Honors Convocation webpage.

“Congrats to my daughter Alyssa for her honors accomplishment! We’re so proud of you!” wrote one beaming Kean mom.

“Excited to graduate with honors! Gonna miss roaming campus with fellow Kean Cougars,” posted one of the honors graduates.

“Incredibly proud of my wife for making Magna Cum Laude! You have worked so hard and have done it ALL through 2 pregnancies! Keep shooting for the stars! Joshua and I are so proud of you!” wrote @coley.22.

In his remarks to the honors graduates, Toney, who oversaw University research opportunities that involved many of the students, praised their commitment to academic excellence. “I look forward to a brighter future, and I know you will be part of it,” he said.

Students with a four-year GPA of 3.85 or higher graduate summa cum laude; those with a GPA of 3.65 to 3.84 graduate magna cum laude; and those with a GPA of 3.45 to 3.64 graduate with cum laude honors.

In her keynote, Crayton connected her own experience with that of the graduates, noting that she grew up in a small town in Louisiana, raised by a single mother who struggled. Yet she went on to achieve numerous “firsts,” and rose through a career in the military and academia to reach MIT, “the hallowed halls of one of the nation’s and the world’s most prestigious universities.”

She also shared three life lessons with the graduates, encouraging them to enjoy the “magnificence of this moment;” be fearless in being the first to accomplish something; and call on someone “bigger or greater than you” for inspiration and support as they make their mark in the world.

“What will you do? What action will you take, Kean University honors graduates of 2021?” she asked. “It is time to go out and change the world. We are all waiting on you.”