GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP — “Oh, wow, look at that.”
Stockton University President Harvey Kesselman, 65, stood on the roof of the college’s Unified Science Building and grinned at the bird’s-eye view of the construction on campus.
He’s there to pose for a photograph, but he can’t resist the view. At one end is the outline of the new science building, where construction workers are laying the foundation. At the other end is the college’s original buildings and its new Campus Center, surrounded by the Pinelands.
Kesselman tries different poses but is not an “arms crossed” kind of guy. He’s more comfortable with a casual hand in the pocket, laughing as staff and a reporter suggest possible headlines: “Kesselman on high.” “Kesselman on the edge.” “The Kesselman Empire.”
“Oh no, don’t use that last one!” he says in horror.
Despite his protest, Kesselman has been inextricably linked to the college since its founding and figures to be instrumental in its future as he oversees plans to expand the college in Atlantic City and Galloway Township. He also plans to attract an international student base while holding true to the college’s original mission.
A student in the first Stockton freshman class in the old Mayflower Hotel in Atlantic City, Kesselman has spent his 40-plus-year career at Stockton, rising from tutor to provost under four previous presidents, all of whom he calls mentors. He took over as acting president last year and became president Jan. 1.
His inauguration is Friday.