Wakefern donates $1M to Kean University for scholarships honoring alumnus Joe Sheridan

Wakefern Food Corp. announced Tuesday it will make a $1 million donation for student scholarships at Kean University in honor of the company’s recently retired president, Kean alumnus Joe Sheridan of the Class of 1980.

The New Jersey-based supermarket cooperative that includes retail banners ShopRite, Price Rite Marketplace and the Fresh Grocer endowed the “Joe Sheridan Resiliency Scholarship” to help students in the university’s College of Business and Public Management pursue their professional goals and dreams.

Sheridan, an Elizabeth native who retired as president and chief operating officer in December after nearly five decades with Wakefern, is an active supporter of the Kean University Foundation, as well as many other social and community causes.

“Wakefern’s generous gift honoring Kean alumnus Joe Sheridan creates a lasting legacy at Kean and offers students a financial safety net to continue their studies and follow in the footsteps of Joe and other prominent Kean alumni,” Kean President Lamont Repollet said. “We are grateful to Joe for his support throughout his years, and we thank Wakefern for their generosity in his name.”

The Kean University board of trustees voted earlier this month to name the sixth-floor boardroom at Kean’s Hynes Hall after Sheridan and expressed gratitude to Wakefern for the support.

Sheridan said he was grateful for the education he received at Kean, which is New Jersey’s urban research university.

“I have been blessed throughout my career to work in a field — the supermarket industry — that serves our communities every day, and am pleased that Wakefern, where I spent so many happy and successful years, is helping students at Kean achieve their dreams,” he said. “I look forward to continuing to support my alma mater and its students.”

Steve Fastook, chair of the Kean board, said Kean is pleased to honor Sheridan as a graduate and a supporter.

“Joe Sheridan was born and raised in Elizabeth, graduated from Kean and has never forgotten his roots,” Fastook said. “We are proud to count Joe among our many successful Kean alumni, and deeply appreciate this incredible gift to our students.”

The Joe Sheridan Resiliency Scholarship will benefit, in perpetuity, Kean CBPM students who maintain a GPA of 3.0 or above and who have demonstrated financial need.

“It is our great pleasure to thank Joe Sheridan and Wakefern, and express our deepest appreciation for this gift,” William Miller, CEO of the Kean University Foundation, said. “Through Joe’s vision and compassion, Kean’s College of Business and Public Management students will get a helping hand to keep them on track to graduation and the chance to build their own successful careers.”

Sheridan earned a Bachelor of Science in management science from Kean in 1980 and his wife, Joan Sheridan, received her master’s degree in educational administration and supervision from Kean in 1986.

Joe Sheridan began working as a selector in Wakefern’s Elizabeth warehouse in 1976, before he graduated. He rose through the ranks at Wakefern to become president of the company in 2011.