About the President
A Biography of Harvey Kesselman, Ed.D., President
Leading under the guiding principle of “students first,” Dr. Harvey Kesselman presides over Stockton University as its fifth President. With beginnings as unique as the university itself, Dr. Kesselman is the only sitting university president to have been in the inaugural class of the very institution he serves.
Throughout Dr. Kesselman’s four-decades-long tenure, he has successfully held leadership positions within virtually every major division of the university, including Provost and Executive Vice President, Interim Vice President for Administration and Finance, Vice President for Student Affairs, and Dean of the School of Education, making him the best-versed ambassador of Stockton University. Devoted to the success of the university, Dr. Kesselman oversees a $251 million budget which serves more than 1,200 full-time faculty and staff and supports almost 10,000 students enrolled in more than 160 undergraduate and graduate areas of study.
At the onset of his presidency, Dr. Kesselman took immediate strides to strengthen the value of a Stockton degree. Under his leadership, the University achieved record-breaking growth in enrollment. The president spearheaded the revamp of student enrollment and recruitment efforts; as a result, in fall 2017, Stockton enrolled 1,569 new matriculated freshmen (an increase of 32% above the previous record high) and 988 transfers, making this the largest number of new students in the University’s history. Over the last three years, Stockton’s enrollment has steadily increased and is on target to exceed the goal of 10,000 students by 2020.
Committed to advancing the University’s mission, Dr. Kesselman has successfully advocated for increased state appropriations, improved campus capacity, advanced University recognition and reputation, increased institutional giving, rededicated institutional commitment to shared governance and transparency, and developed stronger community and regional relationships.
To improve campus capacity, Dr. Kesselman has enhanced and expanded facilities in Manahawkin, and completed construction for the new academic quad expansion on the Galloway campus, which includes a $33.2 million Unified Science Center 2 and the $15.2 million John F. Scarpa Health Sciences Center.
In keeping with Stockton’s firm commitment to Atlantic City and the surrounding community, President Kesselman secured a firm footing in the area, negotiating a monumental public-private partnership to build a multi-million dollar state-of-the-art residential campus and parking garage in Atlantic City, which opened in fall 2018. In what may prove to be one of the most distinctive accomplishments in the history of the university, Dr. Kesselman’s visionary prowess and collaborative nature has positioned Stockton University’s Atlantic City Campus to be not only an extraordinary anchor institution, but a major economic driver for the region and the educational capital of southern New Jersey. In 2018 Atlantic City’s City Council approved the creation of a new University District to support Stockton and help foster economic development in the surrounding neighborhood.
As one of New Jersey’s most prominent and highly regarded educational leaders, Dr. Kesselman’s sphere of influence reaches well beyond the local community. He currently serves to serve as vice-chair of the New Jersey Presidents’ Council (NJPC). as well as the co-chair of the student success working group for the NJ State Plan for Higher Education, and also sits on Governor Murphy’s Executive Council for Atlantic City Shared Prosperity. In addition, he has advised the New Jersey College and University Presidents' Council regarding accountability and assessment, and represented the senior public colleges and universities in the NJ Committee of Experts on Campus Sexual Assault Issues. In addition, he founded and chaired the SRI & ETTC Consortium, which includes more than 90 school districts throughout New Jersey.
Dr. Kesselman is committed to making college accessible and affordable for all students. He is a former member of the Executive Committee of the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA), and helped oversee New Jersey's $1 billion student financial aid program. Through his efforts, Stockton expanded its Educational Opportunity Fund program to include a new cohort of 50 students, now based at the Atlantic City campus, and initiated a new Transfer Pathways program to assist students in making a seamless transition from a community college to Stockton.
Dr. Kesselman also provided his expertise on the Governor's Task Force to improve the NJ STARS program, and helped develop the NJ Student Unit Record Enrollment (SURE) statewide data and monitoring system.
Dr. Kesselman’s efforts in diversity and inclusion have earned Stockton national recognition. Known as a leading authority in public policy on higher education, President Kesselman was appointed by the American Council on Education (ACE) to serve as a member of the Commission on Internationalization and Global Engagement (CIGE).
Under Dr. Kesselman’s guidance, the university has received INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine’s Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award three years in a row in 2016, 2017 and 2018, and the 2018 Inclusive Excellence Awards from the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE). Stockton has earned national recognition as a front-runner in civic learning, community engagement and sustainability, receiving the American Association of State Colleges and Universities' (AASCU) Excellence in Innovation Award for Sustainability and Sustainable Development in 2016 and for Civic Learning and Community Engagement in 2017. With a host of awards and many special recognitions, Kesselman’s efforts have advanced the reputation of Stockton University and catapulted the institution’s brand into the national arena.
President Kesselman received his doctorate in Higher Education Administration from Widener University, his master’s degree in Student Personnel Services/Counseling from Rowan University, his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Stockton, and is a tenured Professor in Stockton’s School of Education, making him the most recognizable alumnus in Stockton’s history.