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Orville Edward Kean

Orville Edward Kean

  • Ethnicity: African American
  • Gender: M
  • Year of Birth: 1938
  • Place of Birth: St. Thomas, USVI
Office of the President
University of the Virgin Islands
P.O. Box 6046
St. Thomas, VI 00804
Voice (809) 693-1000


  • PhD Institution: University of Pennsylvania, 1971
  • MS Institution: University of Michigan, 1961
  • BS Institution: Lincoln University, 1959


Dr. Orville Edward Kean, as third president of the University of the Virgin Islands, has been instrumental in effecting its evolution toward an academic mecca of the Eastern Caribbean. His vision, which is rapidly becoming reality, is of the University as an international center for higher learning -- a source of Educational empowerment to help resolve the contemporary socioeconomic concerns of the Caribbean.

Born in 1938 on the island of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Kean attended public elementary and secondary schools. He made his mark of academic excellence early on -- as valedictorian of the Charlotte Amalie High School class of 1955.

In 1959, Kean graduated salutatorian from Lincoln University with a B.A. in mathematics. He earned his M.S., also in mathematics, from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in 1961, after which he returned home to St. Thomas to teach high school at his alma mater. In 1966, after a short stint as Director of Research and Statistics for the Virgin Islands Department of Social Welfare, Kean joined the faculty of what was then called the College of the Virgin Islands, as Assistant Professor of Mathematics.

In 1971, following a leave of absence to study, Kean was awarded his doctorate in mathematical logic and category theory from the University of Pennsylvania. Between 1976 and 1978 he took a second leave of absence from the University and served as Director of the Policy Planning and Research Office in the Virgin Islands Department of Commerce.

During his years of distinguished service to the University, Kean has served as Associate Professor of Mathematics and Professor of Mathematics; as Vice Chair of the Science and Mathematics Division; as Acting Director of the Caribbean Research Institute; Dean of Instruction; Acting Vice President for Academic Affairs; and as Executive Vice President.

From 1984 to 1991, he was Director of the Eastern Caribbean Center which facilitates Educational, technical, cultural and scientific exchange between the University and the nations and territories of the Eastern Caribbean. In that capacity, Kean helped lay the groundwork which has contributed to the internationalization of the University of the Virgin Islands, a priority he identified on becoming President in October 1990.

Dr. Kean has served on many boards, commissions, and councils. Current affiliations include President, Association of Caribbean Universities and Research Institutes and Smithsonian Associates; the Council of Presidents and the Board on Community and World Relations of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges; International Association of University Presidents; American Association of Higher Education; Black Caucus for the American Association of Higher Education; Journal of Eastern Caribbean Studies Advisory Board; Mathematical Association of America; and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, among others.

He is also a member of the Virgin Islands Public Broadcasting System Board of Directors; the Board of Governors of the Virgin Islands Hospitality Training School; and the Virgin Islands Tourism Awareness Advancement Link, Inc.

Dr. Kean has received many honors and awards, the most recent being the honorary degree of Doctor of Science from his alma mater, Lincoln University.

Dr. Kean and his wife, Julie, have two adult children, Catherine and Michael, and a granddaughter, Gabrielle.

[Source: Official University biography]