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Georgian Court Names Ken Karamichael as Associate Vice President for Professional Studies and Business Development


Kenneth M. Karamichael, a longtime leader in workforce training and development, higher education, community development, and nonprofit engagement, is the new associate vice president for professional studies and business development at Georgian Court University.

Mr. Karamichael also brings extensive experience in government relations, media relations, philanthropic support, and the development of programs for veterans, women, BIPOC, LGBTQ, and other minority populations—especially those seeking new careers, educational pathways, and better futures.

“Ken is an exceptional and rare find,” said GCU Vice President of Institutional Advancement Matt Manfra. “He has an unmatched passion for the possibilities presented by higher education in its many forms; from degree paths to certification programs to grant-funded initiatives, his experiences run the gamut. GCU and the extended community will certainly benefit all that he brings to the Center for Professional Studies.”

Decades of Demonstrated Success

For nearly three decades, Mr. Karamichael has been known as “Mr. Rutgers” (he was the Rutgers University mascot during his undergraduate years). Since then, he has reimagined and reinvented how to engage stakeholders to achieve a shared vision in several key areas, including agriculture, arts education, social innovation, business and workforce development, golf turf management, at-risk youth re-engagement, and entrepreneurship.

In many cases, his work has led to numerous six- and seven-figure philanthropic gifts. One example is the 2017 landmark $27.5 million award funded by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. The largest philanthropic foundation grant in the history of Rutgers University, this international collaboration—including two prestigious Greek universities and dozens of industry and philanthropic leaders—has recruited and trained thousands of young entrepreneurs throughout Greece.

It is just one of Mr. Karamichael’s many successes in connecting people, programs, and resources. Over his career, he has obtained nearly $60 million in public and private funding. He also secured significant levels of support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; Bloomberg Philanthropies; The Nicholson Foundation; The Victoria Foundation; Amelior Foundation; JP Chase-Morgan; the U.S. Departments of Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services; the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) – Social Innovation Fund; and many others.

Building on Broad Experiences

Most recently, Mr. Karamichael served as the director of the Rutgers Office of Continuing Professional Education and was the chief strategic officer for the Rutgers Cooperative Extension. In those roles, he led one of Rutgers’ most innovative teams of nearly 50 full-time professional staff and more than 200 consultants and part-time staff. Together, they served nearly 20,000 nontraditional students annually.

He also worked as the director of the Rutgers Professional Golf Turf Management School, which attracts students from across the globe.

“If you have ever watched golf on TV, there is a 90 percent-plus chance that the program’s turf management alumni or educators are behind the scenes,” said Mr. Karamichael. “This also includes MLS and MLB stadiums.”

In his experience, continuing education delivers enormous potential and reach.

“From an educational and professional development lens, it is very exciting to see students excel in their profession,” said Mr. Karamichael. “Our classes help shape their futures; we must celebrate their learning and amplify their successes!”

Karamichael—A Leader Driven by Values

Ken Karamichael and new CPS student
Joseph Keslaire, a veteran bus driver for NJ Transit (right), received his celebratory GCU Lions face mask and magnet upon registration for the Center for Professional Studies (CPS) at Lake House with Mr. Karamichael (left). Mr. Keslaire was the first walk-in registrant for the CPS 2022 lineup of courses and certifications.

Social justice, a key component of GCU’s mission, is equally important to Mr. Karamichael, who has been awarded dozens of related grants and leadership awards.

In 2013, he received the inaugural Mary Jane Willis Diversity Award from Rutgers University, and later, the National Leadership in Diversity and Inclusion Award from the University and Professional Continuing Education Association (UPCEA).

Most recently, he developed the interactive Professional Online Global Entrepreneurship Certificate Program in collaboration with the Newark Business Hub and funded by Mielle Organics, the fastest-growing Black-owned and women-led global beauty brands. The effort is designed to support 1M black and brown entrepreneurs, foster generational wealth, and bolster community development.

“Personally, I have a passion for innovation, collective impact, and proactive professional development for the teams I lead,” said Mr. Karamichael, a lifetime member of the National Eagle Scout Association and a nationally certified volunteer expert. The Jackson Heights/Queens, New York, native was attracted to GCU, in part, because of its strong moral/ethical values and expectations.

“I thrive in supportive and innovative environments,” he said during his introduction to the university community in late fall. “Perhaps the greatest asset I offer is the ability to effectively engage with diverse constituents (and personalities)—effectively listening and aligning mutual interests into comprehensive, meaningful, and measurable outcomes.”

Mr. Karamichael, who has two bachelor’s degrees from Rutgers University (computer science and exercise science), earned a master’s degree in social and philosophical foundations of education from the Rutgers Graduate School of Education (GSE) in 2015. He is currently a doctoral candidate (Ph.D., Higher Education) at the GSE researching the impacts of succession planning, collective impact, and leadership pathways within university settings. He lives in Somerset County with his wife Monica McLaughlin, along with their cats—Grace, Betty, and Mama Cat. When he isn’t at work, he can be found outside of the office woodworking, bowling, enjoying a round of golf, or cleaning the beaches of Monmouth and Ocean counties with Monica on most weekends.

Aerial view of GCU.

About Georgian Court University

Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is Central and South Jersey’s only Catholic university. GCU is a comprehensive, coeducational university with a strong liberal arts core and a historic special concern for women. As a forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, GCU is known for expanding possibility for more than 2,100 students of all faiths and backgrounds in 35+ undergraduate majors and 10+ graduate programs. The GCU Lions compete in 15 NCAA Division II sports in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC). In 2020, GCU was named a Best Value College by and a Best Bang for the Buck (Northeast) by Washington Monthly. High student retention and graduation rates also make GCU a Top Performer on Social Mobility on U.S. News & World Reports rankings. The main campus is located in Lakewood, New Jersey, on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court, which is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, also serves students at other locations, such as GCU at BrookdaleGCU at Rowan College of South Jersey–Cumberland Campus, and through multiple online certificate and degree programs.

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