Vice President for Finance and Planning Jay Kahn has retired. Kahn is responsible for a number of buildings on campus, including the rear of the Mason Library, the Science Center, the TDS Center, the Young Student Center, and the Zorn Dining Commons. He also brought about the redesign of the Media Arts Center, the new Elliot entryway, the Rhodes redesign, and the Pondsides. His farewell ceremony took place in Centennial Hall in the Alumni Center on Tuesday, December 8.
Friends, family and colleagues gathered to celebrate Kahn as he said goodbye to KSC and continues his journey as a city councilman.
Many of Kahn’s closest friends spoke at the event and shared memories between the two of them. Speakers included Senator Molly Kelly and KSC President Anne Huot.
Senator Kelly said she is so impressed everyday with Kahn’s work at KSC. “He’s really made the structure of this campus what it is,” she said.
Sen. Kelly said she is sad about Kahn’s retirement. “It sounds like it’s something he really wants and is ready to do. He’s taking on a new career in politics but I think he will always be thinking about Keene State,” she said.
KSC students Tanner Semmelrock and Madison Strausser attended the event after Kahn personally invited them to attend.
“I met him during my accepted students day and I’ve just gotten to know him, and last year we traveled to Poland together,” Strausser said.
Semmelrock said he worked with Kahn through student government. “I’m excited to see the work he does between the town and the city,” he said.
“I’m sad to see him go but I know he’s going to do great things after this,” Strausser said.
Barbara Hall has been at KSC for 12 years and has worked with Kahn on various capital projects. Prior to working in the President’s Office, she has worked in the fundraising department which “is very tied to when a building is built,” she said.
“I think [retirement] is great for him, he’s been here a long time. Selfishly I’d like him to stay, change his heart, but I think it’s great. I think it’s time,” Hall said.
As for the future of the finance and planning department, Blank said she’s confident. “I think they’ve put in place someone who can manage on an interim basis. I think we have a long history of growing very carefully as a campus and I think that is going to continue,” she said.
Mayor Kendall Lane was also in attendance at the farewell. “I’m sorry to see him leave the college, but I’m thrilled that he’s going to be on the City Council,” he said.
Lane said he is excited that the community will still be able to get [Kahn’s] expertise and enjoy his insight.
“I think there will be a transition,” Lane said about the future of planning and finance at KSC. “I think that Keene State will be well served by the same token,” he said. He commended Kahn on his knowledge and history with the college but said KSC “will do well.”
When it was time for Kahn to speak, it was hard for him to get his words out due to his emotions.
“Thank you for helping me make my retirement from KSC so memorable,” Kahn said to his peers, “You’ve been such an important part of my life that I will always cherish.”
Sen. Kelly said Kahn’s legacy will continue at KSC. “A sign of a good leader is somebody who when they leave, their work carries on. I feel like that is the kind of leadership that Jay Kahn has and I think we will see that,” she said.
MacKenzie can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org