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Kean University

Kean Dedicates Hennings College of Science, Mathematics and Technology

Kean University held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially dedicate The Dorothy and George Hennings College of Science, Mathematics and Technology, and honor Distinguished Professor Emerita Dorothy Grant Hennings, Ed.D., and her husband, the late Professor George Hennings, Ed.D.

Grant Hennings made a historic gift to Kean University last year.

The event, held in a sunny courtyard near the college bearing their names, also marked the release of Dorothy Grant Hennings’ book, Wandering the World with George. The heartfelt memoir, which she wrote during the COVID-19 pandemic, recounts the devoted couple’s life and 48 years of world travels together.

“Your generous gift to this University serves as a lifelong lesson to all of us. You have helped students far beyond your classrooms,” Kean President Lamont O. Repollet, Ed.D., said, noting the couple’s “passion for living and adventure” chronicled in the book. “You and George are prime examples of what we mean when we say ‘Cougars Climb Higher.'”

The couple met at Kean in 1965, married in 1968 and taught at the University for a combined 63 years. In May 2020, Grant Hennings, a former professor in the College of Education, made the largest philanthropic gift in Kean University history when she funded a scholarship named for her husband, a biology professor. The gift supports scholarships for students in science and science education, as well as low-income, high-achieving students through Kean’s Centennial Fund Opportunity Scholarships.

In grateful recognition, Kean’s Board of Trustees named The Dorothy and George Hennings College of Science, Mathematics and Technology for the couple. Kean’s Science Building was named George Hennings Hall; the education building, Dorothy Grant Hennings Hall; and a connecting hallway between the two was named Dorothy and George Way. A new science research lab addition was named George Hennings Research Wing.

Grant Hennings, who was awarded an honorary degree from Kean in 2010 with her husband, received a standing ovation at the ceremony, and read a poem she wrote dedicated to him. “My husband loved the Earth,” she said. “He stood in awe before the universe.”

“Today, my George, we give you this. Your name in letters, bold and tall, George Hennings Hall.”

The Hennings were passionate about education and travel — and combined both in journeys to Antarctica, the Amazon and a total 187 countries and territories across the globe.

“For nearly 50 years, we traveled the world by ship, plane, car and bus. We walked the streets of some of the greatest and most beautiful cities on Earth. Travel was a major part of our life,” Grant Hennings wrote in the book, which was published by Kean University Press. Proceeds go to the Kean University Foundation.

Throughout their adventures, they always talked about Kean with other travelers and often posed for photos in exotic locales with a Kean tote bag. 

They also loved coming home to Kean, where their gift will have a lasting impact. 

“When you look up philanthropy and Kean University, it’s impossible not to see the name Hennings,” said William H. Miller, chief executive officer of the Kean University Foundation. He called their generosity “immeasurable.”

Steve Fastook ’06H, chair of the Kean Board of Trustees, thanked Grant Hennings for the couple’s support of Kean “as benefactors, as mentors and as friends.”  He said their commitment would continue to shine. 

“The stories are fantastic and the places they’ve been to are fantastic,” he said. “We are celebrating the legacy of Dorothy and George. The institution will benefit for decades and decades, thanks to Dorothy and George’s amazing philanthropy.”