Young Alumni/ae Award – Reunion 2003

In 1994 Kevin Hagan turned Drew down, and accepted another admissions offer upon graduating from Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School.  But soon he realized that Drew was better suited to his interests, transferred during his sophomore year, and graduated in 1998 with a major in history and a minor in education.  He’s glad he came.

Indeed, Kevin is enthusiastic about the education and mentoring he experienced at Drew.  He speaks first of the overall leadership of President Thomas H. Kean, and also of the influence of his basketball coach, Mark Coleman, from whom he learned that hard work and teamwork were essential but took second place to academics.  He learned important lessons in quality and discipline from Perry Leavell, and Lillie Edwards fostered his growth both in the classroom and through off-campus opportunities.  Just as important, he thinks, is the camaraderie of a small learning environment in preparing graduates for the real world.

And in only five years since his graduation cum laude, he has made a name for himself in New Jersey politics, using his skills in communication, organization, and management in combination with well-known personal integrity.  As assistant to the mayor of Woodbridge, New Jersey, he organized monthly town hall meetings and responded to the concerns of local residents.  In 2000, convinced of James McGreevey’s ability to provide the quality leadership New Jersey needs, he became political director in McGreevey’s campaign for Governor, with major responsibilities for communication, coordination, and staff and volunteer enlistment.

Upon McGreevey’s election he joined the Governor-elect’s executive staff.  In January 2002 he became the Governor’s deputy chief of staff, serving as primary liaison with elected officials in New Jersey and Washington, and managing four of the office’s nine divisions.  In a short leave of absence in 2002 he managed Frank Lautenberg’s successful campaign for the United States Senate.  As of mid-February 2003, he is chief executive officer of New Jersey’s Democratic Party, running day-to-day operations “while putting together a team and a plan which will elect Democrats in November and for many years to come.”  The rapid development of his career speaks well for his own abilities and Drew’s preparation.

A Lawrenceville, New Jersey resident, Kevin is pursuing a master’s degree in public administration at Rutgers.  This former Drew team captain still plays basketball, spoke at last year’s weekend retreat for incoming Drew athletes, and is on the C’98 Gift Committee.  We’re glad he came to Drew, too.