Chair's Message

Chair's Message

From the Department Chairperson, Kevin Keenan, Ph.D., AICP

Kevin Keenan

Spring 2023 Newsletter

On 20 April 2023, I had the privilege of welcoming 21 students, their families, and their loved ones to our annual departmental awards ceremony.  (See nearby for a list of award recipients.) That event turned out to be our largest awards ceremony in recent memory, with the room filled to capacity.  This year marked the first time that our department offered the Professor Marvin Creamer Geography Medallion, and it is the first year we invited our graduating masters students to be formally recognized at the ceremony.  Several faculty members commented on the special environment that Professor Creamer created in the Department, and which lives on to this day.  When it came time to close out the ceremony, I could only agree with this sentiment: there is something very special about the Department of Geography, Planning, & Sustainability.  I’d like to offer you three reasons why I think that special environment exists.

First, it is the amazing students in our Department that make it so special.  Our awardees capture qualities that are reflected throughout the student body.  Our students have some of the strongest academic skills at the University, with several reaching the highest designation of summa cum laude at graduation.  But our students are also leaders on campus, frequently advancing environmental issues in student organizations of note.  But above all, these students create and advance communities that make Rowan and our Department a better place.  They are kind, caring, and passionate about a better future. 

Second, our faculty and staff are among the most hard-working, innovative, and caring that I have ever met.  These people come in early and stay late to make sure that our students have a wonderful, enriching, and meaningful college experience.  Our faculty are also pushing the boundaries of knowledge and teaching, and our staff is working hard to keep the trains running on time (metaphorically speaking).  This group of people is also more than kind to each other and to our students, and that takes work too.  All of this deserves to be recognized. 

Finally, our Department has never abandoned the guiding ethos fostered by Professor Creamer, its founder, and that truly makes it a special place.  Our Department embraces adventure and it advances creativity in multiple forms.  Our Department creates safe spaces for students from a variety of backgrounds to be who they are, and it has never ceased to promote environmental awareness and careful stewardship of our resources. 

As I said in my closing remarks at the awards ceremony, there is a “specialness” that envelopes the Department of Geography, Planning, and Sustainability.  I feel privileged to be amongst the students and faculty that sustain that environment, as well as to share in and support the ethos fostered by Professor Creamer.  I welcome all of you to join us in this wonderful place. 

Please do not hesitate to contact me should you ever need anything from the Department of Geography, Planning, & Sustainability.  I wish the best for a wonderful and restful summer season!


Kevin Keenan, Ph.D., AICP
Associate Professor & Department Chairperson

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