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Wakefern Donates $1 Million to Kean University

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MORRIS COUNTY — Wakefern Food Corp. has announced a $1 million donation for student scholarships at Kean University in honor of the company’s recently retired president, Kean alumnus Joe Sheridan ’80.

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 (CBPM) 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, actively supports the Kean University Foundation and 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,” said Kean President Lamont O. Repollet, Ed.D. “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 on May 6 voted to name the 6th-floor boardroom at Kean’s Hynes Hall after Sheridan and expressed gratitude to Wakefern for the support.

Sheridan said he was grateful for his education at Kean, 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 ’06H, chair of the Kean Board of Trustees, 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,” said William Miller, chief executive officer of the Kean University Foundation. “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 successful careers.”

Sheridan earned a Bachelor of Science degree 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.

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

During his tenure as vice president and president at Wakefern, Sheridan shepherded membership and store growth, launched one of the grocery industry’s earliest online shopping platforms in 2002, and rolled out Wakefern’s popular private label product lines, Bowl & Basket, Wholesome Pantry, and Paperbird. 

Wakefern, a retailer-owned cooperative with 45 members and 365 supermarkets, including ShopRite, Price Rite Marketplace, the Fresh Grocer, Gourmet Garage, Fairway Market, Dearborn Market, and Di Bruno Bros., also became a leader in social responsibility under Sheridan’s stewardship.

“The creation of the Kean scholarship is in keeping with Joe Sheridan’s desire to give back,” said Wakefern Chief Communications Officer Karen Meleta.

“Throughout his career, Joe furthered Wakefern’s commitment to the community through his support of our ShopRite Partners In Caring program, which was created in 1999 and has donated more than $62 million to hunger-fighting organizations,” she added. 

Sheridan has volunteered with Special Olympics New Jersey and other nonprofits such as the Embrace Kids Foundation and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Creating the scholarship at Kean University was a fitting way to honor his legacy at Wakefern.

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Frank Cahill
Frank Cahillhttps://www.frankcahill.com
Publisher of Parsippany Focus since 1989 and Morris Focus since January 1, 2019, both covering a wide range of events. Mr. Cahill serves as the Executive Board Member of the Parsippany Area Chamber of Commerce, President Kiwanis Club of Tri-Town, and Chairman of the Parsippany-Troy Hills Economic Development Advisory Board. Owner of the Morris now app serving small business in Morris County.
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