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Alumni News

Dr. Pennington’s Impact Well Beyond Graduation

Posted in: Alumni News and Events

After a successful 22-year career, Dr. Karen L. Pennington will be retiring on April 1 as Vice President of Student Development and Campus Life at Montclair State University.  Since she came to the University in 1998, Dr. Pennington has led by example. Her skills, knowledge and long history of impressive achievements, ignited her deep passion for the development of students.

“Dr. Pennington understood that being able to meet the basic needs of students was an integral step in creating an environment for students to succeed at the University. Her genuine concern for their health, safety and well-being and her forward vision, resulted in the creation of exceptional and innovative programs and services for students. These initiatives have helped to empower and support students in and outside the classroom,” said Dean Margaree Coleman-Carter, Dean of Students.

One of her most recent initiatives to help students, was the start of Rocky’s Closet – a place where students can go to get professional attire to help give them that confidence for their first interview and start of their career.  In celebration of Dr. Pennington and her passion for this initiative, the University held a fundraising campaign in her honor, calling upon some past Student Government leaders to help with outreach to raise $10,000 for Rocky’s Closet. Arun Bhambri ’11, ’15 MA, Louis Castano ’12, Yuri Jadotte ’06, George Juzdan ’14, Pooja Patel ’12, Jonathan Preciado ’10, ’12 MBA, Mark Ruff ’14, Laura Ryblewski ’96, ’99 MA and Amy Werner ’07 all raised their hands to help support this effort. 

This group of alumni volunteers shared so many stories of the impact Dr. Pennington had on them as students and now in their personal and professional lives. 

“I got to know Dr. Pennington quite well during my tenure in the SGA and Greek Council. During my senior year, she served as one of my advisors when I was SGA President. Dr. Pennington went above and beyond to provide support and guidance as a mentor. I’m grateful for the countless times she guided me through challenging situations and inspired me to be a stronger student leader,” said Jon Preciado ’10, ’12 MBA. “Dr. P has dedicated her career to helping students succeed. Her efforts go well beyond campus life, as she seeks to alleviate some of the more discreet challenges that students face. Her leadership in forming the Red Hawk Pantry and now Rocky’s Closet underscore her dedication to ensuring that each Red Hawk is able to be their best and flourish. I encourage you to join in with your contribution and help future generations of Red Hawks flourish.” 

Throughout the month-long campaign, alumni volunteers reached out to fellow alumni friends from sorority and fraternity connections to fellow student leadership alumni.  Along with the support of the Montclair State community, the project surpassed its goal of $10,000 raising close to $13,000. The efforts of these volunteers to honor Dr. Pennington made a statement on how important she has been to each of them and countless numbers of Red Hawks.

The University will honor Dr. Pennington with a farewell parade through campus on Wednesday, March 31, at 2 p.m.

Donations are still being accepted for Rocky’s Closet in honor of Dr. Pennington’s retirement.  She has made it her mission to put students first. So please, if you have not done so already, help us leave a lasting legacy in her name by supporting this important initiative.