Big names appointed to Wenzhou-Kean’s Board of Directors

The Wenzhou-Kean organizational chart. Click to enlarge. (Photo via

The Wenzhou-Kean organizational chart. Click to enlarge. (Photo via

By Rebecca Panico | Published March 31, 2016

Six of seven American members were reappointed to Wenzhou-Kean’s Board of Directors at the March 7 Board of Trustees meeting, including members of the Kean family and former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey.

The 15-member board was first created in 2012. Eight Chinese members are appointed by the Wenzhou municipal government, while the other seven from the United States are appointed by the Board of Trustees. Each member serves a four-year term.

“The Board of Directors members are recommended by President Farahi and are chosen based on their experience and qualifications as well as their ability and interest to serve,” Kean spokeswoman Margaret McCorry wrote in an email. “They collectively bring a depth of knowledge and experience in education, international business, public service and government.”

The seven appointees are John Kean, John Kean Jr., Upendra Chivukula, Anne Estabrook, former U.S. Ambassador Clifford Sobel, Joan Verplanck and McGreevey. James Hynes was appointed as an alternate.

John Kean is the cousin of former New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean and John Kean Jr. serves as a Board of Trustees member. Former state Assemblyman Chivukula currently works as commissioner to the state’s Board of Public Utilities, while Anne Estabrook serves as Kean’s Human Rights fellowship sponsor and Joan Verplanck serves as president of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce. Hynes, the alternate, is a Kean alumnus.

The Wenzhou-Kean campus. Photo Credit: Christian Candelo

The Wenzhou-Kean campus.
Photo Credit: Christian Candelo

Of the seven American appointees, six were reappointed. Verplank is serving her first four-year term, replacing former state Senator Richard Bagger, McCorry said. Bagger formerly served as chief-of-staff to Gov. Chris Christie too.

The Chinese appointees are Wang Beijiao, Lu Shanzhen, Ye Shiqiang, Huang Shaoming, Sun Jianwei, Chen Aihua, Qiu Guanghe and You Xiaoping. Lin Weiping serves as honorary director.

Beijiao, the Board’s chair, is secretary of the Wenzhou-Kean CPC Committee and Deputy Secretary-General of the CPC Wenzhou Municipal Committee, according to a list provided by McCorry. (CPC is often an initialism for Communist Party of China, according to multiple sources familiar with the country. The question was posed to McCorry, but a response was not received by this article’s deadline.)

Additionally, Shanzhen is the chancellor of the Chinese campus, Shiqiang serves as deputy secretary-general of the Wenzhou municipal government and Shaoming is vice chancellor at the Wenzhou campus. Jianwei is deputy director of the Wenzhou Municipal Finance Bureau, Aihua was a former secretary of Wenzhou University CPC Committee, Guanghe is chairman of Semir Group Co., Ltd., and Xiaoping is chairman of Hua Feng Group’s board of directors.

Weiping, the honorary director, formerly served as the chairman of the WenzhouKean Board of Directors.

The board functions as an advisory board to the Trustees, overseeing the U.S. campus’ role in the partnership at Wenzhou–Kean, McCorry said. The Trustees oversee all academic decisions at Wenzhou-Kean University, she added, while Kean’s Chinese partners handle “general operations” at the campus overseas.

In the U.S., 15 Trustees are appointed by the governor and serve six-year terms. The student body elects a student trustee and student alternate each year. Trustees serve without compensation, but are reimbursed for all reasonable and necessary expenses, Kean’s website explains.

Kean University President Dawood Farahi and Trustees Chair Ada Morell will continue to serve as ex officio, non-voting members of the Wenzhou Board of Directors, according to the March 7 resolution.

To learn more about the Wenzhou-Kean campus, visit

Rebecca Panico may be reached at Follow The Tower on Twitter@KeanTower. Find The Tower on Facebook.



    July 12, 2012 A DIFFERENT SET OF STANDARDS “Local Source”
    *** In addition, the newly appointed Kean Board of Trustees member Dave Gibbons is the son of President Dawood Farahi’s girlfriend, Anne Evans Estabrook.
    Allegations have been made by faculty that Farahi helped not only former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey by allowing him to teach ethics courses at Kean after he resigned as governor, but also helped the relatives of Sen. Raymond Lesniak either get jobs or keep jobs on campus.

    Dec 15, 2008 POLITICAL CRONYISM-By Ali T Winston

    April 19, 2007 Former Gov. James E. McGreevey is teaching ethics, law and leadership at Kean University. By Lloyd Vries CBS/AP

    Sep 29, 2006 County Emergency Managment Planner may be unqualified
    By Tina Renna



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