North Ward Center Founder Awarded Honorary Degree from Kean University

Kean University will award an honorary degree to Stephen N. Adubato, Sr., at the Nathan Weiss Graduate College commencement ceremony on May 11 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, N.J. Adubato will receive a Doctor of Human Letters degree.

For more than four decades, Adubato, a lifelong Newark resident, has provided a broad range of social and educational services through his many philanthropic activities in his hometown of Newark. In 1970, he started The North Ward Center, which operates job training, education, recreational and adult medical day care programs for thousands of residents.

“Through the Robert Treat Academy and his many other activities, Mr. Adubato has made a positive difference in the lives of so many individuals,” said Dr. Dawood Farahi, president of Kean University. “It is especially fitting that Mr. Adubato receives this honor in Newark.”

Adubato began his career in education as a history and government teacher in the Newark Public School System. While teaching, he obtained a master’s degree in education and completed coursework for a doctorate in education.

He served on the executive board of the Newark Teacher’s Union and was a consultant to the New Jersey chancellor of higher education. One of the first programs started by The North Ward Center was a preschool. Today it is one of the state’s largest, educating 680 preschoolers in five locations. In 1980, The North Ward Center founded the Newark Business Training Institute, which has helped thousands of adults make the transition from welfare to work.

In 1997, Adubato achieved one of his biggest educational accomplishments with the opening of the Robert Treat Academy Charter School, which enrolls 450 students in grades K through eight. As one of the state’s first charter schools, Robert Treat has gained a national reputation for academic success and was named a Blue Ribbon school in 2008. Last year, Robert Treat opened a second campus in Newark’s Central Ward. Between the two campuses, 675 students will eventually be enrolled.

Founded in 1855, 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 45 options leading to a master’s degree, doctorate, professional diploma and/or state certification(s). Five undergraduate colleges and the Nathan Weiss Graduate College now serve more than 15,000 students.

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