Newsletter Feb 2021

Greetings from the Kean University Foundation!


We are excited to share with you the Spring 2021 Edition of our eNewsletter. In keeping with previous publications, this eNewsletter is sent out quarterly to friends and members of the Kean Community, alike, including content related to the many ways we can all support Kean University, as well as options available for making a gift to the Foundation. We look forward to keeping you updated on the Foundation’s activities, as well as the tremendous impact from its valued supporters!


DONOR SPOTLIGHT: Gerald Finken '90

“My success is a true testament to the mentorship and real-life experience I received while I attended Kean.”
- Gerald Finken '90

Born and raised in New Jersey, Gerald Finken ’90 chose Kean University because he is “Jersey Proud”!

Following his graduation from Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Science degree in pharmacy, Gerald decided to continue his pursuit of higher education by earning a master’s degree. He considered his options carefully, seeking an institution that offered a hands-on learning experience provided by professors who would motivate and inspire their students. Gerald also wanted the flexibility to continue working full-time as a clinical supplies specialist at a local pharmaceutical company. When he learned that Kean University not only offered a master’s degree in management systems analysis but was also the only college in New Jersey offering this cutting-edge major, he knew he had found the perfect fit.

After graduating from Kean University, Gerald decided to leave the corporate world and found his own business, Clinical Supplies Management (CSM), a clinical supplies packaging and labeling company. While Gerald worked to grow CSM, functioning as the organization’s Chief Executive Officer and running operations, his wife, Kathleen, was pursuing a fulfilling career in academia. She served as a faculty member, college dean and university vice president. She completed her career at one of the nation’s most prestigious universities, California Polytechnic State University, where she held the position of Executive Vice President and Provost for seven years. Over time, Gerald supported Kathleen and her career with as much fervor as she supported him. He saw first-hand how truly vital it is for faculty and staff to have support from both their university and generous donors.

The faculty at Kean had a significant impact on Gerald’s education and his career. When he and his wife paid a visit to the University’s main campus in Union, New Jersey, a few years ago, Gerald was mesmerized by all the new buildings and the technological advancements in education, and completely “blown away” by the growth of the school’s College of Business and Public Management. It was following that particular visit that Gerald decided to increase his financial contributions to Kean. He stated, “My success is a true testament to the mentorship and real-life experience I received while attending Kean.”

Gerald chose to focus his generosity on the Dean’s Fund for the University’s College of Business and Public Management, which is utilized in a discretionary manner in support of Kean faculty. His gifts will help provide members of the staff with professional development opportunities including attending industry conferences and pursuing work related to the University’s accreditation and research.


Gerald also chose to support Kean’s faculty as a result of the real-life preparation he received from one particular professor while attending Kean. Professor Paul Fenster made a lasting impression teaching a problem analysis technique which Gerald employs professionally to this day.

Presently, Gerald resides in Fargo, North Dakota, where he is Chief Executive Officer at RxE2, a start-up company specializing in pharmacist-led clinical trials. He is excited to embark on this new endeavor and, if the success he encountered with CSM is any indicator, we expect that greater achievements are on the horizon!


“It is our responsibility
to give back; to make a
Kean education available
to those students who
otherwise cannot afford
it themselves.”

- Patrick Ippolito ’62 ‘65

Kean University College of Education Associate Professor Patrick Ippolito ’62 ’65 Continues to Give Back

There are few others who embody the spirit of Kean University more than Associate Professor Patrick “Pat” Ippolito ’62 ’65.

Hailing from Livingston, New Jersey, Pat attended Livingston High School. As graduation drew near, Pat made the decision to apply to Newark State Teachers College, as Kean University was formerly named, due to the convenience and affordability the school offered. He figured, if not accepted, he could always follow in his older brother’s footsteps and join the United States Air Force.

Not only was Pat accepted, he was the beneficiary of scholarships and work study opportunities which afforded him the ability to obtain a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education. Pat pursued an advanced degree at Kean, as well, and completed a Master of Arts program in behavioral science. He was also a member of the Sigma Beta Tau Fraternity during his enrollment at Kean.

Pat began his professional association with Kean University shortly after earning his master’s degree – a relationship which still exists today! His involvement at the University continued to develop after securing a teaching position and he eventually held various positions such as Acting Dean of Students, Dean of Students, Vice President of Student Affairs, and Chairperson of the Faculty Senate. Pat is also one of those responsible for founding Kean University’s Men’s Soccer Team, even having coached the team in 1969. Presently, Pat continues to teach full-time as an Associate Professor within Kean’s School of Curriculum and Teaching, College of Education.

Both a Kean alumnus and an active member of the faculty, Pat is one of the University’s most generous donors, having established the Patrick J. Ippolito ’62 ’65 Annual Scholarship in Elementary Education. This scholarship is awarded on a yearly basis to junior students at Kean who are majoring in elementary education.

When asked why he feels it is important to give to Kean, beyond the gift of his time and expertise, Pat responded in a simple, heartfelt fashion, stating, “For me, my philosophy is giving back. I was eligible for scholarships and work study opportunities which allowed me to afford, and ultimately earn, my degrees. It is all about time, treasure and talent.”

Pat lives his life focused on his passions, which are his family and his community of Livingston, New Jersey. He is involved with the Livingston Little League and is currently serving as President for the 38th year. Charles has also been a member of the Livingston First Aid Squad for twenty years, where he is currently serving in his third year as President. As part of his involvement with the First Aid Squad, he has been volunteering daily, since the end of December 2020, at the Essex County COVID-19 vaccination site located in Livingston Mall.

As a Kean employee, Pat emphasized the ease of giving through the method of payroll deduction, which deducts pre-determined amounts directly from an employee’s paycheck. He stated, “It is our responsibility to give back; to make a Kean education available to those students who otherwise cannot afford it themselves.”


A Message from Bill Miller, Chief Executive Officer

Dear Kean Alumni and Friends –

It is sometimes difficult to express the depth of our gratitude to the faithful donors who make each fiscal year of giving a success for the Kean University Foundation. By conveying special stories of talented students and exceptional faculty, the Kean University Foundation endeavors to translate the resonating ideals of loyalty, pride and passion that pass between our Kean community and our contributors.

Alumni and friends are motivated by different reasons, and there is a story behind every gift. Many people give because of a sense of pride. Others give for personal fulfillment. Some give because someone has set an example for them to follow.

Whatever your reason for making the Kean University Foundation a philanthropic priority, thank you for igniting one of the best years of donor participation in recent memory. You are touching lives everyday through your generous contributions. That in and of itself is gratifying. Gifts from the heart are allowing us to improve the total educational experience for our students – the reason we exist.

Kean University is an institution on the move, boldly investing resources to bring innovative areas of study to our students, encouraging our faculty to conduct research that will make a global impact and stimulating the state of New Jersey with service activities.

We are living in a time of dramatic transition. These issues are complex, and change is hard work. The Kean University Foundation is committed to leveraging the power of our donors to catalyze action that builds trust, relationships and philanthropic investments in the name of transforming lives.

We can only do this work with support from you. I hope you enjoy this latest edition of our Foundation newsletter.

All my very best,



Generous Support Makes Theatre Even More Accessible at Kean

Alongside faculty and staff at Kean University, excitement at the Kean University Foundation is palpable as we eagerly await the return to campus and welcoming students for in-person instruction. Our friends at Premiere Stages, as well as those within the Kean community who are patrons of the arts, are no exception! Thanks in large part to the tremendous support received from John Bauer and Nancy Boucher, the Hyde and Watson Foundation, the E. J. Grassmann Trust, and the Union Foundation, the Bauer Boucher Theatre Center has been the beneficiary of significant internal, structural upgrades which will undoubtedly make experiencing community theater at Kean even more comfortable and enjoyable!

Led by John Wooten, Director of Arts Programming at Kean University and Producing Artistic Director for Premiere Stages, the theater has been outfitted with ADA compliant dressing rooms and a fully-accessible backstage restroom. All associated construction is expected to be completed, with facilities ready for usage, in plenty of time for live performances to commence this fall! Regarding our longstanding foundation partnerships and thoughts on this vital renovation project, Wooten expressed, “The renovations to the Bauer Boucher Theatre Center will greatly enhance our ability to engage artists with disabilities and support their work. Having a fully accessible bathroom backstage, along with new ADA compliant dressing rooms, will afford greater access for our artists and students. Premiere Stages could not be more thankful to the Hyde and Watson Foundation, Union Foundation, E.J. Grassmann Trust, and John Bauer and Nancy Boucher for making this possible!”

The Kean University Foundation is currently in the final stages of securing the philanthropic support needed to complete renovations and there is still opportunity to get involved!

If you are interested in learning more, please contact the Kean University Foundation via email at or phone (908) 316-8920.


Founders Day 2021

On April 14, 2021, the Kean University Foundation celebrated its third annual Giving Day, now known as Founders Day, in honor of the day Newark Normal School, now Kean University, held its first classes in 1855. To say it was an exciting 24-hours would be an understatement! All told, once the last of many gifts were counted, a total of $27,641 had been raised from 232 donors. This achievement would not have been possible without the tremendous support of our alumni, friends, faculty, and staff.

This year, not one, but three generous donors - Kean alumni Dottie McCabe ’80 and Mark Hiltwein ’87, along with our friend Barbara Kelly - agreed to extend challenge grants in honor of Founders Day. These challenges had quite an impact and would not have been possible without their belief in Kean University and the value of a world-class education.

Kean University President Lamont O. Repollet, Ed.D. also took to his social media platforms and expounded on the importance of coming together as a community, especially on Founders Day. “I am so grateful to our generous donors who made this year’s Founders Day such a success,” said Dr. Repollet. “Your support of the University is critical in our efforts to help students from across New Jersey and beyond achieve their dreams of earning a college degree. As Kean continues to grow into a world-class research institution, I can say with confidence that our plans for the future are bright with you in our corner. Thank you.”

Save the date for Founder’s Day on April 14, 2022. We have some exciting plans in store for next year!


“This is something I can
do; this is my chance to
give back.”

- Tom Kaercher ‘77

Kean Alumnus Gives Back By Volunteering at Kean Campus Covid-19 Testing Site

Tom Kaercher ’77 grew up in Westfield, New Jersey. While he initially began his pursuit of higher education at North Carolina State University, Tom later transferred to Kean where he graduated with a degree in management science. Following graduation, Tom was employed as a professional tennis instructor before beginning a distinguished career at AT&T and Lucent Technology, where he held a variety of managerial positions until his retirement in 2001.

When asked to reflect on his time as a student at Kean, Tom remembered the years as busy, yet fulfilling and productive, noting he was a member of the Evening Student Council and editor of the “Night Owl”, Kean’s evening newspaper. Tom was also a member of the search committee for the Dean of Students, which resulted in the eventual selection of Associate Professor Patrick Ippolito.

In later years, Tom became involved with a Union County-based volunteer committee that offers assistance during natural disasters. This involvement led to volunteering in the Union County Medical Reserve Corps, which is comprised of people who are willing to volunteer in the event of an emergency.

In March 2020, as the spread of COVID-19 was gaining momentum in the state of New Jersey, it had become evident that access to testing sites would be an integral part of combatting the pandemic. Union County quickly identified the need for a testing center. Joining forces with Kean University, the parking lot located behind Vaughn-Eames Hall became the location of the first COVID-19 testing site established in Union County.

Once this partnership was established, it was not long before local volunteers were called upon to assist with staffing the site. Though it did require being outside, Tom said to himself, “This is my opportunity to do my part in helping defeat this terrible virus and keep everyone safe.” When asked why, Tom responded, “I have been so blessed and this is something I can do; this is my chance to give back.”

Tom offered his time regularly, volunteering three full days per week in March 2020. He was committed to ensuring as many fellow Union County residents as possible could get tested, and much like the postman, Tom appeared as scheduled without hesitation, regardless of the heat, cold, rain, snow or wind. He remains devoted to his commitment and continues to volunteer twice weekly at the COVID-19 testing site located at Kean University.


Student Spotlight: Drew Garger

When Drew Garger ’21 of Sparta, New Jersey, decided to transfer from one institute of higher education to another, he had little idea as to where he could go that would accommodate his list of needs. Drew knew he wanted to attend a college that would offer small classes, an in-depth learning experience, faculty who provide guidance and support, and, if possible, the ability to remain close to home.

From the moment Drew stepped onto the Kean Skylands Campus and met Robyn Roebuck, Director of Operations for the Skylands, he knew it was the right place for him. How could anyone object to taking classes in a renovated former abbey nestled among the trees and impressive views found within 40 acres of protected land in Jefferson Township, New Jersey? Along with the proximity to his home, Drew’s decision to transfer to Kean was made even easier due to the generosity he received from the Frankowski Scholarship.

Like many Kean students, Drew and his family have experienced recent hardships as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. He knew that receiving a scholarship would afford him the ability to focus on his academics, rather than concerns related to financial aid. “Receiving this scholarship has been a tremendous relief,” said Drew. “I am forever grateful to those who have given so generously to the Frankowski Scholarship.”

If you are interested in learning more about Kean Skylands, please visit our website,, or contact us either via email at or by phone at (908) 737-1612.


Corporate and Foundation Relations at The Kean University Foundation


Opportunity is knocking as the Kean University Foundation focuses renewed efforts and energy on its Corporate and Foundation Relations Program! Following the onboarding of a new Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations in early 2021, the Foundation has developed a robust plan to establish meaningful partnerships with businesses and corporations throughout the region. With an emphasis on determining complementary needs between prospective external partners and University leaders, Corporate and Foundation Relations strives to aid Kean faculty and staff with both identifying and applying for grants through private philanthropic foundations. The resulting collaborations will support critical research and activities within departments and areas across campus in accordance with their program’s overall objectives.

We look forward to sharing additional news regarding our exciting new initiatives in the future!

For more information, click here:


A Gift with Life Income

Many supporters of worthwhile charities have acquired appreciated property over time. A great way to use this appreciated property is to make a charitable gift. A donor of appreciated property receives a charitable tax deduction and also benefits from bypassing a capital gains tax on that gift property.

Of course, some supporters also want to increase their income. One giving tool that is popular for this purpose is the gift of either appreciated stock or real estate which is placed into a special trust called a Charitable Remainder Unitrust.

If you make a transfer into a gift plan that pays you income for life, you may receive both a charitable tax deduction, as well as favorable capital gains benefits. Your charitable deduction will be for a portion of the value of your property since you will receive income. With most life-income gifts, your selected charity will need to wait until you pass away before it receives the gift as designated. The IRS has periodically approved these plans in letters and rulings.

Therefore, a charitable remainder trust is a very good way to combine both a charitable deduction and income for one or two lives now, with a significant benefit to a favorite charity in the future.

For more information, please contact James Gurland, Chief Development Officer, via email: or phone: (908) 316-8924.


Support Kean Students and Commemorate Graduation All at the Same Time!

As the 2020-2021 academic year draws to a close, we invite you to join in our students’ success and celebrate by making a gift to the Kean Fund for Excellence. Please consider a gift of $20.21 in honor of our graduating seniors and rising underclassmen.


Questions? Comments? Info?

Kean University Foundation, Inc.
1000 Morris Avenue, Union, New Jersey 07083
908-316-8920 | 908-316-8921 (Fax)

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