President Emeritus, Kean University, 90
A native of Newark, NJ, Nathan Weiss, age 90, President Emeritus of Kean University and former teacher at Fallsburgh High School, passed this life on April 9, 2013 at his
home in Egg Harbor Township, NJ with his
beloved wife at his
Dr. Weiss served as President of Kean College of New Jersey, now Kean University, for 20 years, retiring in 1989 as senior president of the New Jersey state colleges.
In 1961, he joined the Newark State College Department of History and Social Sciences and six years later became a full professor and department chair.
In 1969, he became President and also continued to teach every year until 1999, ten years after his retirement.
tenure, the college was transformed from a teachers college to a multi-purpose institution, becoming the second largest state college at the time of his
committed himself to the college's growth and development for the students of New Jersey through the creation of numerous academic programs including those in the health and technology fields and graduate studies.
presided over the name change from Newark State College
to Kean College of New Jersey
and the purchase of the Pingry School property which has become an integral academic and performance center for the campus.
was awarded a State of New Jersey challenge grant of $3.9 million for its "excellence and equity" plan which brought a nationally recognized assessment program and the most advanced technology infrastructure to the campus.
On the state level, he
was a moving force in the pursuit and development of the autonomy legislation and governance structure that enabled the state colleges to become more independent and responsible for their own visions and destinies.
has been described as a "man for all seasons" as he
clearly understood the words of Kipling who wrote, we must "walk with crowds nor lose virtue, and talk with Kings, nor lose the common touch.
In this light, he
became known as something of a "maverick" as he
vigorously pursued a vision of higher education that is open to all students, regardless of age, gender, disadvantage, or minority status.
considered Kean College
as "the college in the service of the people of New Jersey."
It was a point of pride with "Nat," as he
was fondly known, that Kean College
was a door to the American dream: thousands of its graduates were the first in their families to receive a college education.
insisted that Kean
could raise academic standards while remaining accessible to students who otherwise would never have set foot on an American campus.
inspired those who worked with him at Kean
to foster that dream and carry it into the future.
It is alive at Kean University today as a living tribute to his
vision, character, and generosity of spirit.
Dr. Weiss began his career as an educator (in his perspective, the highest of callings) at Fallsburgh High School (NY State) after serving three years with the U.S. Army Air Force in the Pacific Theater.
He received a BA from Montclair State College (now University) and an MA from Rutgers University.
In 1961, he earned a PhD in government from New York University.
was the recipient of honorary doctorate degrees from Kean
, Montclair State, and Jersey City State, honoring his
contributions to higher education and his
beloved state of New Jersey.
The University also recognized his
contributions in 1998 by naming its graduate division the "Nathan Weiss Graduate College
As an undergraduate student, Dr. Weiss was a scholar-athlete playing football and track and was later inducted in the Montclair State College Athletic Hall of Fame.
Football was one of his
lifelong passions and, as President of Kean
inspired the creation of its football program and was inducted into its Athletic Hall of Fame
Throughout his professional life, Dr. Weiss authored books and articles on the occupation of Japan, governance, collective bargaining, and politics; and was a frequent speaker throughout New Jersey in addition to serving as a member of numerous organizations, including a term as President of the New Jersey Public Administrators Association.
presidency included some of the most tumultuous years in higher education and is documented in his
book, "At the Center of the Storm: Reflections of a State College President.