Kean University Awards Five Presidential Excellence Awards


Five dedicated Kean University employees received the institution’s Presidential Excellence Awards during a reception on June 23. Kean President Dr. Dawood Farahi bestowed the honor in recognition of their exceptional contributions in teaching, service and scholarship.

The Kean University 2016 Presidential Excellence awardees are: Robin Landa, design professor, for Distinguished Scholarship; Dr. Marguerite Mayhall, history professor, for Distinguished Teaching; and Dr. Wolde Woubneh, math professor, Donna Lowe Alexander from the Office of the Registrar, and Millie Gonzalez from University Relations for Distinguished Service.

"All of us at Kean can take pride in the accomplishments of these faculty and staff members," said Farahi. "Their commitment and professional excellence is felt on campus and beyond the borders of Kean."

Landa of Manhattan is a professor in the Robert Busch School of Design in the Michael Graves College at Kean University, and has written 23 published books about design, creativity, advertising, branding and drawing, including her most recent, Nimble: Thinking Creatively in the Digital Age. 

Mayhall of Green Brook is assistant professor of art history at Kean University. Since joining the faculty at Kean, Mayhall has taught the first half of the art history survey from prehistory to the Middle Ages more than 40 times, but she still considers it one of her favorite classes to teach.

Woubneh of East Windsor is a professor of mathematics and coordinator of Kean’s Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program. Under his leadership, LSAMP participation has increased from 10 students in 2009 to 367 in 2016.

Lowe Alexander of Union is managing administrative assistant in Kean’s Office of the Registrar. Lowe Alexander has developed academic partnerships with the New Jersey - New York Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions officers (ACRAO) via dedicated membership and executive board service. 

Gonzalez of Union Beach is a senior writer and editor in Kean's Office of University Relations and is the lead project manager for Kean Current as well as a contributor to Kean News, Kean Magazine and other internal publications and external media outlets across various platforms. She is also an advocate for the disability community.

“I take great pride in all that I do for my alma mater, and I’m humbled and grateful for the recognition,” said Gonzalez, who earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees at Kean.

Also at the award ceremony, the Kean Alumni Association Teacher of the Year Award was given to Dr. Norma Bowe of Highland Park, education professor, whose Death in Perspective class is the subject of the book, The Death Class: A True Story about Life, by Erika Hayasaki. Bowe also founded Kean's Be the Change student service group, which has developed neighborhood gardens in Newark and was selected to attend Clinton Global Initiative University in 2015 and 2016 to advocate for its Vertical Garden Peace Project for war-torn areas of the world.


PHOTO CAPTION: The Kean University 2016 Presidential Excellence Awards were bestowed on five dedicated University employees on June 23. Award recipients, pictured, L-R: Dr. Norma Bowe, Alumni Association Teacher of the Year;  Professor Robin Landa, Distinguished Scholarship for Faculty; Donna Lowe Alexander, Distinguished Service for Clerical Staff; Dr. Wolde Woubneh, Distinguished Service for Faculty; Millie Gonzalez, Distinguished Service for Professional Staff. Not pictured: Dr. Marguerite Mayhall of Green Brook, Distinguished Teaching for Faculty. 

Founded in 1855, Kean University has become one of the largest metropolitan institutions of higher education in the region, with a richly diverse student, faculty and staff population. Kean continues to play a key role in the training of teachers and is a hub of educational, technological and cultural enrichment serving nearly 15,000 students. The University's six undergraduate colleges offer 50 undergraduate degrees over a full range of academic subjects. The Nathan Weiss Graduate College offers four doctorate degree programs and more than 60 options for graduate study leading to master's degrees, professional diplomas or certifications. With campuses in Union and Toms River, New Jersey, and Wenzhou, China, Kean University furthers its mission by providing an affordable, accessible and world-class education. Visit

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