• Thomas H. Kean
    Thomas H. Kean

Kean has been widely quoted in the media recently on the one-year anniversary of the signing of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act, which resulted from the 9/11 Commission’s work. Kean and other members of the Commission say that although the nation has spent more than $8 billion since 9/11 to prepare for terrorist attacks, taxpayers have no guarantee that these billions have increased our overall level of national preparedness. Of particular concern is the fact that emergency responders in large cities are still not able to communicate reliably in a major crisis, as was evidenced during Hurricane Katrina.

Kean served as governor of New Jersey from 1982 to 1990, and is still regarded as one of the most popular governors in the history of that state. He is noted for tax cuts that spurred 750,000 new jobs, a federally replicated welfare reform program, landmark environmental policies, and more than 30 education reforms. He delivered the keynote address at the 1988 Republican National Convention and was re-elected for a second term by the largest margin in state history.

After leaving the governor’s mansion, Kean served as president of Drew University from 1990 until 2005. During his 15-year tenure there, he focused on shaping Drew into one of the nation’s leading small liberal arts universities by stressing the primacy of teaching, the creative use of technology in the liberal arts, and the importance of international education. During Kean’s presidency, applications to Drew increased by more than 40 percent, its endowment nearly tripled, and more than $60 million was committed to construction of new buildings and renovation of older buildings, principally student residence halls.

On Dec. 16, 2002, Kean was named by President Bush to head the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, which became known as the 9/11 Commission. The Commission’s work culminated on July 22, 2004, with the release of the 9/11 Commission Report, which quickly became a national bestseller. Its recommendations resulted in the largest intelligence reform in the nation’s history. Kean currently serves as the chairman of the 9/11 Public Discourse Project, a nonprofit entity created with private funds to continue the Commission’s work of guarding against future attacks.

Kean also serves as chairman of the board of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the nation’s largest health philanthropy. In addition, he serves on a number of corporate boards and is chair of the Newark Alliance and the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, and is the former chair of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Educate America, and the National Environmental Education and Training Foundation. He also serves on the National Council of the World Wildlife Fund.

He holds a B.A. from Princeton University and an M.A. from Columbia University Teachers College and has served as a trustee of both institutions. Kean is the author of The Politics of Inclusion, published by The Free Press. He writes a regular column for The Star-Ledger with former Gov. Brendan Byrne and appears as a regular commentator on New Jersey Network News. He holds more than 30 honorary degrees and numerous awards from environmental and educational organizations.

The Shilling Lecture Series at Southwestern University was established in 1999 by The Brown Foundation Inc. of Houston to honor Southwestern’s 13th president, Roy Shilling, and his wife, Margaret. The series brings internationally prominent speakers on topics relating to ethics, public service and public policy to campus. Past speakers include Bill Moyers, President Jimmy Carter, Marian Wright Edelman, William Sloane Coffin, John McGuire, Karen Hughes, The Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Benazir Bhutto.

Tickets for the lecture will be available to the general public in March.

The 2006 Shilling Lecture will be part of the kickoff for Southwestern University’s “Thinking Ahead” fundraising campaign.


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