Back to former New Jersey governors
Thomas H. Kean
New Jersey

Gov. Thomas H. Kean

  • January 16, 1982 - January 16, 1990
  • Republican
  • April 21, 1935
  • New York
  • Princeton University, Columbia University
  • Married Deborah Kean; three children


THOMAS H. KEAN was born in New York City. A graduate of Princeton and Columbia University, he served with New Jersey’s 50th Armored Division. He has taught American History and English at the high school level and directed a camp for disadvantaged children. He also taught political science at Rutgers University and was a commentator and consulting reporter for New Jersey Nightly News. He was majority leader of the New Jersey Assembly from 1971 to 1972, speaker from 1972 to 1974, and minority leader from 1974 to 1977. He was elected governor in 1981. As Governor of New Jersey (1982-1990), he was rated among America’s five most effective governors by Newsweek Magazine, noted for tax cuts that spurred 750,000 new jobs, a federally replicated welfare reform program, landmark environmental policies, and more than 30 education reforms. He delivered the keynote address at the 1988 Republican National Convention. He served on the President’s Education Policy Advisory Committee and as chair of the Education Commission of the States. Governor Kean is former chair and president of Reality Transfer Company of Elizabeth, New Jersey. In 1990, he was named president of Drew University.



Recent New Jersey Governors