Kean Medallion Society Member to Receive Honorary Degree at 2024 Commencement

April 2024

In advance of Kean University’s 2024 Commencement activities, Bill Miller, CEO of the Kean University Foundation and Lori Funicello, Director of Planned Giving, had the honor of presenting Patricia Graleski, a resident of Durham, North Carolina, with the degree Doctor of Humane Letters on behalf of the Kean University Board of Trustees. The decision to award Graleski with this distinction was made at the March meeting of the Board of Trustees.

Kean University President, Lamont O. Repollet, Ed.D., will publicly announce the honorary degree bestowed upon Graleski at the 2024 Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony taking place on Thursday, May 16, before a crowd of nearly 17,000 at the Prudential Center in Newark.

Graleski is a member of the Kean University Medallion Society, a donor and a friend to the Kean community. Her noteworthy philanthropic support of the Kean University Foundation has resulted in the creation of the Patricia Graleski Gallery, located in the Green Lane Academic Building on the University’s main campus in Union.

Not only does this honorary degree recognize Graleski’s philanthropic support of Kean, but it also applauds her many personal and professional accomplishments.

Born in Jersey City, Graleski was awarded a full-tuition scholarship to attend Newark State College in 1965. However, both her parents were hearing impaired, had very limited education and were often out of work due to their disabilities. Graleski was required to work full-time to support the family of five and was forbidden by her parents to accept the scholarship. Despite never attending Newark State College, Graleski never forgot how she felt when she received the scholarship award letter at the age of 18.

Although Graleski faced obstacles which stood in her way of obtaining a college degree as a young adult, she built a very successful career at IBM where she was recognized with several top performer awards throughout her twenty-five-year career.

Notwithstanding her career success, Graleski still longed to earn a college degree. And, at the age of fifty, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing and Business Administration from the University of Maryland.

Even though she earned her degree at the University of Maryland, Graleski never forgot how she felt when she was awarded the scholarship from Newark State College nearly sixty years ago. As a young girl who dreamed of going to college, it meant the world to Graleski to be recognized for her academic achievements after working so hard to excel academically.

Graleski has included a charitable bequest in her will to endow a full-tuition scholarship so that students with academic merit from modest means can be given the same opportunity she was granted so many years ago.

The entire Kean community is proud to welcome Patrica Graleski H’24 as an honorary alumna of distinction.