UNION—Kean University honored four outstanding individuals at its 16th Annual Gala, held on Thursday, June 13 at its STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Building on Morris Avenue in Union.
The honorees received Kean’s inaugural William Livingston Award, bestowed on individuals whose contributions encourage the promotion of excellence in education, excellence in business values, or outstanding public service to enhance and build a better society.
Drs. Dorothy and George Hennings
Two of the honorees, Dr. Dorothy Hennings and Dr. George Hennings, taught at Kean for a combined total of 64 years and, in retirement, are still actively involved in the school. Dr. Dorothy Grant Hennings, Distinguished Professor Emerita, taught language arts in the Department of Instruction, Curriculum, and Administration until her retirement in 2002. Dr. George Hennings, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Biology, also established courses in astronomy and geology and was instrumental in developing Kean’s program in science education for secondary science teachers. A World War II veteran, he served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps from 1943 to 1946; he held the rank of Sergeant Technician and saw service in England, France, and Germany. He retired from Kean in 1987.
They met at Kean in 1965, shortly after Dorothy arrived as a professor in the School of Education, when she stopped by George’s laboratory to borrow some lab equipment. They were married in 1968 and have since been linked by a love of education and a dedication to the development of skilled teachers.
The Henningses have pursued an extensive program of philanthropic support of Kean University. Hennings Hall and the Dorothy Grant Hennings Lecture Center on the Kean campus are named for them in recognition of their commitment to education and continued philanthropic leadership. They are active on the Kean University Foundation Board of Directors and proudly support a scholarship endowment that assists deserving students majoring in elementary or science education. The couple received honorary degrees from Kean in 2010.
Lauren Marrocco ’03 ’09—New Jersey’s 2012 Teacher of the Year
Livingston Award recipient Lauren Marrocco, a fourth-grade teacher at the Edward J. Patten School in Perth Amboy, N.J., was named New Jersey’s Teacher of the Year for 2012–2013 by the New Jersey State Department of Education. Marrocco has taught at Edward J. Patten, a K–4, 890-student school, for all of her 10-year teaching career. She chairs its School Leadership and Staff Development Committee, serves as an educational leader for her district, has helped to revise curricula, and has assisted in the development of a district-wide lesson plan format.
After completing her undergraduate degree at Kean, she began teaching first grade at Edward J. Patten. Three years ago she moved up to teaching fourth grade.
In 2009, she completed her master’s degree in educational administration and supervision at Kean while simultaneously completing the work necessary to become a National Board Certified Teacher in reading and language arts literacy. She is one of only about 200 New Jersey public school teachers to be certified by the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards.
Elisaveta Zaharieva ’04 ’06—New Jersey’s 2012 Nurse of the Year
Elisaveta Zaharieva, rounding out the William Livingston Award recipients, was named Nurse of the Year by the Health Care Association of New Jersey in October 2012 at its annual State Health Care Convention and Expo in Atlantic City. She has practiced the profession for 30 years, the last five as Director of Wellness at Juniper Village, a retirement and assisted living community in Chatham, N.J.
Zaharieva received her initial nursing training in her native Sofia, Bulgaria. Subsequently, she moved to the United States and received a B.S.N. in 2004 and an M.S.N. in 2006 from Kean University.
She oversees a staff of 45 associates at Juniper Village, ensuring that they provide every resident with superior medical attention while helping them experience the best quality of life possible. Lynne Katzmann, the CEO and founder of Juniper Communities, recently said of Zaharieva that she is “a very special individual” with “exceptional clinical skills” who puts a priority on nurturing the personal connections between medical staff and the residents and their families.
The William Livingston Award was named for New Jersey’s first governor, who held office from 1776 until his death in 1790. Livingston was also a delegate to the Continental Congress, a brigadier general in New Jersey’s state militia, a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, and a signer of the original Constitution. He was the builder of Kean University’s own Liberty Hall, which later passed down to the Kean family and still stands as a museum today.
Livingston played a key role in the creation of King’s College, which later evolved into Columbia University. He might have been pleased to know that his family’s estate became the home of a university that today is fulfilling the same functions he envisioned as an advocate for higher education more than 250 years ago.
Founded in 1855 as the Newark Normal School, Kean University has become one of the largest metropolitan institutions of higher education in the region, boasting 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, offering more than 50 undergraduate degrees and more than 80 graduate options including doctorate, professional diploma, master’s, certification, and non-degree programs. Five undergraduate colleges and the Nathan Weiss Graduate College now serve more than 15,000 students. The University has produced more than 80,000 alumni over the course of its 158-year history.
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