Remembering Yvonne Keene, Dedicated Administrator

Yvonne Keene, Assistant to the Dean in the Office of Academic Services (OAS), passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday, January 29, 2020.

Yvonne at her deskYvonne worked at OAS for over thirteen years, serving in multiple roles throughout her tenure, culminating in her most recent appointment in 2014 as Assistant to Dean Sofia Pinto-Figueroa. “The Office of Academic Services is grieving the loss of a beloved friend and colleague,” said Pinto-Figueroa. “Words cannot express what Yvonne meant to each one of us, and how deeply saddened we are by this loss.  Our love, support, and prayers go out to Yvonne’s family and loved ones.”

Within OAS, Yvonne served as business specialist and office manager, which allowed her to come into contact with and touch many people, including students, staff, and faculty across campus. “She loved her job and she absolutely loved coming to work each day,” reflected Pinto-Figueroa. “Each day Yvonne would come to work with a smile on her face, greeting every one she encountered with positive energy and a contagious laughter.”

Yvonne started her career at Rutgers University-Newark in the 1980s at the Registrar’s Office.  She worked in the Registrar’s Office for many years before a short separation with the university, and then returned again to work in OAS.

A lifelong resident of Newark, Yvonne was very committed to her family. She leaves behind a husband, Julian Keene, two children, Julian Keene, Jr. and Crystal Yvonne Keene-Searwar, and a granddaughter, Alycia.

Funeral services for Yvonne Keene will be held at Cotton Funeral Service at 1025 Bergen Street, Newark, NJ on Monday, February 3, 2020 at noon, with a viewing from 10am – noon. More information can be found at Yvonne Keene's page on the Cotton Funeral Service website.

In lieu of flowers, the family is accepting gifts/monetary donations.  If you are interested, please reach out to Crystal Keene-Searwar at