Kean Ocean, the Kean University-Ocean County College partnership that is a model of higher education affordability, accessibility and cooperation in New Jersey and the nation celebrated a decade of success during a special anniversary event September 22 at Ocean County College (OCC).
More than 100 guests, including members of the Ocean County Board of Freeholders, members of the Toms River Township Council, and faculty, students and staff from Kean University and OCC attended the event outside the Jon and Judith Larson Student Center. Speakers included Dr. Dawood Farahi, Kean University president; Dr. Jon H. Larson, Ocean County College president; and Dr. Stephen A. Kubow, acting associate vice president at Kean Ocean.
“Accessible, quality higher education is our mission, and that’s what we do here at Kean Ocean. We will be here for years to come, offering a quality education unsurpassed anywhere else.” said Farahi.
Kean Ocean, with more than 1,500 students, is the only public institution of higher education offering four-year degrees in Ocean County.
“The alliance between OCC and Kean – to offer students a path on which to first earn their associate’s degree, and then continue on towards a degree from Kean, with classes here still on the OCC campus – has been a study in forward-thinking and cooperation,” said Larson.
Over the past decade, Kean Ocean has grown from 11 to 33 degree completion programs, seven master’s degree programs, one Ph.D. program in Nursing Educational Leadership and online options through Kean Online.
“Kean Ocean stands as a successful re-imagining of higher education,” said Ada Morell, chair of the Kean University Board of Trustees. “We built an institution that expands educational opportunities in Ocean County and South Jersey, while keeping the cost of higher education down.”
Students attend classes in the Gateway Building, which opened in 2013 on the OCC campus.
“The costs of a college education keep escalating, but the value of a college education in today’s world cannot be underestimated,” said Robert Schiele, vice president of Student Organization for Kean Ocean. “I searched for the right fit for me, and I did not have to look far. Right here in Ocean County, I found my pathway to a college degree.”