Arlene Brautigan ’78 – A Legacy That Will Be Forever Treasured at Kean University

April 2024

Ellen Arlene Brautigan ’78, known by her friends as Arlene, grew up in Union and later lived in Basking Ridge. After graduating from Union High School in 1961, Arlene first attended Katherine Gibbs Secretarial College, and later graduated from Kean College where she earned a bachelor’s degree in business in 1978.

After graduating from Kean, Arlene worked as a Human Resource Director, first at Allied Chemical, then at Verizon and finally at Liz Claiborne Fashions in Secaucus. In her spare time, Arlene enjoyed spending time at her beach house in Ortley Beach. Although a career in business was her livelihood, music was her passion. Arlene especially loved jazz music and her all-time favorite singer was Frank Sinatra.

Those who knew Arlene said she was a selfless, humble and generous woman who was active in her community. Arlene was extremely grateful for her time at Kean and became a steadfast supporter and dedicated member of the Kean University Alumni Association Board for nearly three decades. While serving on the board, Arlene established the Brautigan Family Music Scholarship Fund in loving memory of her brother who inspired her love of music. This annual scholarship was an important resource to music students at Kean, and brought Arlene much satisfaction, pride and joy during her lifetime.

Arlene was passionate about investing in future generations and had the foresight to include Kean in her will many years ago. Her foresight and planning resulted in a magnificent gift which will significantly increase both scholarship and programmatic support for students majoring in music and theatre at Kean University. Arlene’s namesake and legacy will be forever remembered while her gift will provide meaningful support for Kean students in perpetuity.

In recognition of her great generosity, the Arlene Brautigan Endowed Music Scholarship Fund and the Arlene Brautigan Endowed Theatre Scholarship Fund will be permanently endowed, and two strategic departmental funds will also be established in her name to expand opportunities for both music and theatre at Kean University.

When asked to remark on this historic legacy gift and Arlene’s service to the University, Ed Esposito ’69 ’72, President of the Kean University Alumni Association, said, “There is no doubt that Arlene cared deeply about her alma mater. She believed in Kean and the transformational impact that higher education has on young people. Arlene’s final gift will have a lasting and significant impact on students here at Kean in perpetuity and her memory will be treasured forever.”

Bill Miller, CEO of the Kean University Foundation, added, “Arlene was a stellar example of a Kean alumna, both in terms of her long-time service on the Alumni Association Board and her benevolent support. It is my hope that Arlene’s bequest inspires others to make a philanthropic investment in the future of Kean University.”