Kesselman is unique in the history of Stockton. He was a member of its first class and a first-generation college student who “planted himself where he could grow,” and rose to become a member of the faculty, an administrator and provost before assuming the presidency.
His career parallels the institution’s growth, from a small college in the Pinelands National Reserve to a world-class university with locations in Galloway, Atlantic City, Hammonton in western Atlantic County, Manahawkin in Ocean County and Woodbine in Cape May County.
A new residential campus being built in Atlantic City will further expand Stockton’s impact on the region and state.
The inauguration marks the beginning of a presidency, but also serves as a rededication of the institution and an opportunity to reflect on its values and look toward its future.
“The university’s growing national and international reputation stems from our focus on ‘students first,’ and our dedication to excellence in teaching, support for scholarship and service to the community,” Kesselman said.
The ceremony will culminate in the investiture of the new president by Madeleine Deininger, a graduate of the Class of 1980 and chair of the Board of Trustees, followed by a presidential address.
Kesselman has more than 35 years of experience in higher education and is a tenured professor in the School of Education.
In his previous role as provost and executive vice president, he implemented Stockton’s Essential Learning Outcomes initiative, extended the community and global reach of the institution, and supported faculty initiatives and scholarly innovation through the university’s 2020 strategic planning process.
Kesselman’s other executive leadership roles at Stockton have included: dean of the School of Education, interim vice president for Administration and Finance, CEO of the Southern Regional Institute & Educational Technology Training Center, and vice president for Student Affairs.
He remains involved in many national and state academic organizations. He is a frequent presenter at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the American Council on Education, and the Society for College and University Planning.
He also serves as a Commissioner for the American Council on Education’s Commission on Internationalization and Global Engagement and as a reviewer for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Kesselman serves as the senior public college representative on the New Jersey Higher Education Leadership Team which considers policy questions and recommends strategies regarding the implementation of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC).
He received his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Stockton, his master’s degree in Student Personnel Services/Counseling from Rowan University, and his doctorate in Higher Education Administration from Widener University.
He began serving as acting and then interim president after the resignation of former president Herman Saatkamp in April 2015. The board named Kesselman as president in December 2015.
The inauguration will feature a special address by Jon Blair, an award-winning film producer and director with long-time ties to Stockton whose work includes the 1995 documentary, “Anne Frank Remembered.”
Blair is the only director of documentaries working in the United Kingdom who has won all three of the premier awards in his field: an Oscar, two Emmys and a British Academy Award. He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2015.
In 1994, Blair was awarded an honorary doctorate by Stockton for his contribution to human rights awareness through his film-making work. He also made a film about Stockton for its 40th anniversary celebration.
Other speakers will include: State Sen. Christopher Connors, R- 9th, a 1978 Stockton graduate; state Sen. James Whelan, D- 2nd; President George A. Pruitt of Thomas Edison State University; Michael Klein, executive director of the N.J. Association of State Colleges and Universities; and Richard Dovey, chair of the University Foundation and a member of Stockton’s first graduating class of 1975.
Faculty Senate President Brian Tyrrell and Student Senate President Maryam Sarhan will offer their groups’ salutations. Board Chair Deininger will serve as the host and provide welcoming and closing remarks.
Music will be provided by Christopher DiSanto, associate professor of Music; Beverly Vaughn, professor of Music; the Stockton Chamber Players; members of the Bay Atlantic Symphony; and students from the Stockton Classical Ensemble.
Student Danielle Quinn will lead the singing of the national anthem and the Galloway Police Department Honor Guard also will participate in the ceremony. Sven Fetterman, a student and veteran, will play the trumpet in the “To the Colors” flag ceremony.
The Atlantic City Fire Department “Sand Pipers” Pipe Band will perform the processional, led by William Lubenow, Distinguished Professor of History, carrying the mace. Delegates from the faculty, alumni and other institutions will take part in the procession, along with members of the Board of Trustees, cabinet, deans and speakers.
A reception will be held in the Campus Center following the inauguration, with music provided by the Stockton Faculty Band. Portraits of Stockton’s first four presidents, Richard E. Bjork, Peter M. Mitchell, Vera King Farris, and Herman J. Saatkamp, Jr., will be unveiled at the reception.
For more information and to RSVP to attend the inauguration, visit www.Stockton.edu/president/inauguration.