UNION, N.J. – President Dawood Farahi and the Kean University Alumni Association honored five recipients of the annual Distinguished Alumni Award at a luncheon and ceremony held on Sunday, April 10, 2016 at the University’s STEM Building. While the recipients represented a broad range of academic backgrounds and career paths, they all share a common sense of pride for their alma mater. This year’s recipients are:
Michael J. Cleary ’73, of South Plainfield, N.J.
Joan Marie Granato ’88 of Bayonne, N.J.
Jamel C. Holley ’06 MPA, of Roselle, N.J.
Marjorie A. Perry ’74, of East Orange, N.J.
Dr. Dennis M. Todd ’70, of Tuxedo Park, N.Y.
Michael J. Cleary ’73 is a retired 35-year veteran and former chief of the East Orange Police Department. During his time as a student, Cleary was a member of the University’s first lacrosse and football teams as well as editor of the school newspaper and yearbook. An active member of the Sigma Beta Tau Fraternity, Cleary spearheaded and participated in many service projects with his brothers. 43 years after graduating, he continues to be dedicated to Kean University as an assistant coach on the men’s lacrosse team.
Jamel C. Holley ’06 MPA, is the first African American to represent the 20th Legislative District in the New Jersey Legislature. Appointed to the assembly in 2015, Holley first served as mayor of his hometown of Roselle. Known for his spirited energy and focus, Holley has spent his career working to improve the lives of his constituents, combining advocacy with accomplishment. He is a motivational force for Kean’s students, encouraging them through his own personal story to work toward their goals with a positive attitude and confidence.
Marjorie A. Perry ’74 is the president and CEO of MZM Construction & Management. She is also an innovator, public speaker, writer and role model for women and minorities in business. Using her extraordinary path to success and 26 years of experience as fodder for inspiration, Perry looks back on her degree and credits it for helping her find her calling: “motivating nascent entrepreneurs” to develop and pursue their dreams. She has a lengthy history of dedication to Kean, serving as a member of the Foundation Board of Directors as well as a being a scholarship donor.
Dr. Dennis M. Todd ’70 has combined a passion for the medical field with roles in technology, business, academia, and public service. Upon graduation from Kean, Todd enlisted in the United States Army and served three years on active duty as a medical laboratory technologist, after which he earned a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from Lehigh University and went on to a tremendously successful career in the medical research industry. Todd is currently the president and chief executive for Bergen Community Regional Blood Center in Paramus. He also spent time as an adjunct professor at several institutions throughout the region and is a former member of the Kean University Biotechnology Graduate Program Advisory Committee.
Joan Marie Granato ’88 is the president of Future Focus Inc., Creative Health Care Consultants. Future Focus provides consulting and educational services within the health care industry, working primarily with first-time entrepreneurs and veteran operators within the long-term care for senior citizens sector throughout the tri-state area. After graduation from Kean University, Granato furthered her studies in Therapeutic Recreation at New York University. She is also trained by A.L.T.A. as an Assisted Living Administrator. Additionally, she holds a C.L.A. (Certified Leisure Associate) and C.R.A. (Certified Recreation Administrator). During her career, Granato has worked as a consultant for various retirement communities, nursing homes, adult medical and social day care centers, hospitals, and substance abuse organizations. Granato is also a sister of Alpha Theta Pi Sorority.
Kean University Alumni Association President Edward Esposito ’69 ’72 MA appreciates the diverse and robust backgrounds of each recipient. “As we honor these distinguished alumni, I can’t help but notice the unique and fascinating backgrounds each one of them has,” said Esposito. “Their personal, academic, and professional backgrounds vary dramatically, much like our students today, but something they do share is an ongoing connection and affinity with Kean, and that is sensational.”
For more information about this event, please contact the Office of Alumni Relations at (908) 737-ALUM (2586) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.