Provided/From left, Jonathan Holloway, president of Rutgers University, Stockton President Harvey Kesselman, Susan Cole, former president of Montclair State University, and Jonathan Koppell, president of Montclair State University, at the Stockton Foundation Benefit Gala.

ATLANTIC CITY – The 2023 Stockton University Foundation Scholarship Benefit Gala held April 22 at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in honor of retiring President Harvey Kesselman raised more than $460,000 for student scholarships.

Nearly 700 attended the event, which was organized around Kesselman’s motto, “Students First.” It featured guests harvesting greens with students, enjoying salad composed with vegetables grown at Stockton’s Sustainabilty Farm, touring the night sky with physics students inside an inflatable geodome, learning about restoration efforts while students shucked locally farmed oysters, sampling wine and making ice cream with students.

Guests at the Gala participated in a variety of Stockton experiences led by faculty and students, including making ice cream using liquid nitrogen.

“Providing the opportunity for our guests to interact with students and faculty in unique and meaningful ways is a signature part of this evening,” Stockton University Foundation Executive Director Dan Nugent said. 

Throughout his tenure, Kesselman has worked tirelessly to enhance the value of a Stockton degree and elevate the university’s recognition and reputation. His unwavering commitment to putting students first has been an inspiration to many, and the event was a testament to his exceptional leadership, Nugent said.

During her toast to Kesselman, foundation Chairwoman Brigid Callahan Harrison praised Kesselman by acknowledging his unwavering commitment to serving others. She told the crowd that since he entered the Mayflower Hotel, where Stockton was first located before the Galloway Township campus was completed, he has dedicated his life to ensuring that every student at Stockton has the opportunity to experience the transformative effects of a Stockton education.  

“Stockton transformed my life, and I am honored to have had the chance to be part of changing the lives of students for the last five decades. Thanks to your generosity that legacy continues, allowing future leaders, innovators and critical thinkers the opportunity for a Stockton experience,” Kesselman said.

Higher education leaders from throughout the state turned out to honor Kesselman, including New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education Brian Bridges, and presidents and former presidents from Rutgers, Montclair, Thomas Edison, Rowan, Kean universities. Scg

Scholarship recipient and marine science major Jared Handelman of Hillsborough expressed his gratitude, saying, “I’m just very grateful to have been here tonight and to have met some amazing people. I’m thankful for all the donors and what they do for Stockton and its students. (The Gala) was a rewarding experience and opportunity.” 

Net proceeds from the event support the Stockton Foundation’s Scholarship Benefit Endowment.

Learn more about the Stockton Foundation and its scholarship program at


Nanette LoBiondo Galloway

Award winning journalist covering news, events and people of Atlantic County for more than 20 years.