The Union County Board of County Commissioners is pleased to announce that the annual Chester Holmes Humanitarian Award will be conferred upon the President of Kean University, Dr. Lamont O. Repollet, Ed. D., in a ceremony at the Union County Performing Arts Center at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday evening, January 31. The Performing Arts Center is located at 1601 Irving Street in Rahway.
The award presentation is part of a celebratory evening in honor of Black History Month presented by the Commissioner Board, featuring a live performance of Langston & Beethoven: Black & Proud created and performed with musical guests by WQKR radio host Terrance McKnight.
Admission to the event is free of charge and open to all the public. Online registration is suggested to save a seat, at ucnj.org/black-history-month.
“Dr. Repollet exemplifies all that we honor in our community as someone who is continuously breaking barriers in education. Dr. Repollet was the first African American President for Kean, as well as the first African American Commissioner of Education of the State of New Jersey,” said Union County Commissioner Chairman Sergio Granados. “He is someone that embraces inclusion, diversity and social learning and his efforts to make higher education available, achievable and affordable to all contributes to the spirit of the Chester Holmes Humanitarian Award.”
“It is a real honor to welcome Dr. Repollet to Rahway, in celebration of his many contributions to Union County and beyond,” said Commissioner James E. Baker, Jr. “He embodies the best of us, and he inspires us to keep building a strong, diverse and thriving community.
“Dr. Repollet has inspired thousands of students to advance in their careers, and go on to touch the lives of many thousands more,” said Commissioner Dr. Angela Garretson. “He is a true change maker and innovator, and his leadership presence uplifts the black community and all individuals he encounters.”
“Dr. Repollet is a powerful champion for public education as the bedrock of our democracy, and for instilling a culture of inclusion and respect each student. We look forward to working with Dr. Repollet and Kean University for many more years to come,” said Commissioner Rebecca L. Williams.
Dr. Repollet was appointed President of Kean University in July 2020, building on his extensive experience in public education. With a focus on equity in higher education, Dr. Repollet has overseen the University’s successful application to be named as New Jersey’s first urban research university by Governor Phil Murphy in 2021. Last year, Kean was also accorded the status of Professional/Doctoral University by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education. The school is also in the process of achieving an R2 research Carnegie classification to reflect its focus on both research and transformational teaching.
Among the numerous honors and recognitions received by Dr. Repollet are the 2022 Leadership and Vision Recognition Award from EdgeCon, the 2022 Whitney M. Young Service Award Presented by Urban League of Union County and the 2022 Whitney M. Young Service Award from Greater New York Councils Boy Scouts of America. He also was honored in 2019 with the Medal of Excellence for Distinguished Service from The College of Education at Rowan University, the 2019 Trailblazer Award from the Innovation for Equity Summit, the 2019 Conclave Image Award from Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., and a 2018 Outstanding Human Rights Educator by Kean’s Human Rights Institute.
Among many partnerships with the Commissioner Board, Kean University has served as the flagship location for Union County’s COVID-19 pandemic response including testing, vaccinating, emergency food distribution, volunteer recruitment and the establishment of the first County based laboratory for testing COVID-19 samples.
The Commissioner Board established the Chester Holmes Humanitarian Award in 2012, in honor of the former County Commissioner and Rahway resident Chester Holmes, who passed away earlier that same year. An accomplished civic leader who loved the Union County community, Mr. Holmes was a former police officer, community volunteer and member of the Army National Guard.
Langston & Beethoven: Black & Proud is a rare chance for Union County audiences to preview a Lincoln Center performance in the intimate environment of the Main Stage, a beautifully restored former vaudeville theater that serves as Union County’s cultural centerpiece. The show will move to Lincoln Center in February.
For more details about Langston & Beethoven: Black & Proud, and for more information on all Black History Month events hosted by the Commissioner Board, visit ucnj.org/black-history-month.
Langston & Beethoven: Black & Proud is presented through the Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs, a division of the Union County Department of Parks and Recreation. For more information about the Office visit ucnj.org/cultural, email email@example.com, or call 908-558-2550.
For information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including free vaccination, free testing and other support services, visit ucnj.org/covid19. General information about COVID-19 is available through the New Jersey Department of Health at nj.gov/health.
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