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Biographical background on 2005 Dartmouth honorary degree recipientsTHOMAS H. KEAN(Doctor of Laws)

Posted 04/28/05 • Contact Roland Adams (603) 646-3661

Tom Kean
Tom Kean

Tom Kean became president of Drew University in 1990 after he finished his second and final term as Governor of New Jersey.

Over the past twelve years Kean has focused on shaping Drew into one of the nation's leading small liberal arts universities by stressing the primacy of teaching, the creative use of technology in the liberal arts, and the importance of international education. He created a $10,000 annual award for outstanding teaching and has added new faculty in African, Asian, Russian, and Islamic studies, and significantly increased opportunities for students to study abroad. During Kean's presidency, applications to Drew have increased by more than 40 percent; the endowment has almost tripled; and more than $60 million has been committed to construction of new buildings and renovation of older buildings, principally student residence halls. In August 2004 Kean announced his intention to step down as President of Drew in the summer of 2005.  The university has since announced appointment of his successor.

As Governor of New Jersey, Kean was rated among America's five most effective state leaders by Newsweek magazine; noted for tax cuts that spurred 750,000 new jobs; a federally replicated welfare reform program; landmark environmental policies, and over 30 education reforms. He delivered the keynote address at the 1988 Republican National Convention. He was re-elected for a second term by the largest margin in state history. As governor he served on the President's Education Policy Advisory Committee and as chair of the Education Commission of the States and the National Governors' Association Task Force on Teaching. He holds more than 25 honorary degrees and numerous awards from environmental and educational organizations.

On December 16, 2002, Kean was named by President George W. Bush to head the national commission to investigate the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The commission produced a report that has been widely hailed as a model of what such reports should be, and has become a best-seller as a book.

While President of Drew, Kean has served on several national committees and commissions. He headed the American delegation to the UN Conference on Youth in Thailand, served as Vice Chairman of the American delegation to the World Conference on Women in Beijing; and served as a member of the President's Initiative on Race. He also served on the National Endowment for Democracy. He is chair of the Newark Alliance and the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy and former chair of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Educate America, and the National Environmental Education and Training Foundation. Kean is also on the board of a number of organizations including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the National Council of the World Wildlife Fund.

Kean holds a B.A. from Princeton University and an M.A. from Columbia University Teachers College. He has served as a trustee of both institutions.

Kean is author of The Politics of Inclusion, published by the Free Press. He writes a regular column for The Star Ledger with former Governor Brendan Byrne and appears as a regular commentator on New Jersey Network News.

Return to 2005 Commencement press release

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