Office of the President

July 3, 2023

Dear William Paterson Faculty and Staff,

Like all of American high education, William Paterson is still grappling with last week’s Supreme Court decision barring affirmative action as a factor in college admissions and its implications for our nation. Coupled with the court’s subsequent decision striking down President Biden’s student loan debt forgiveness plan, it has been a tough week for the cause of higher education access and equity in our country. However, as I said in my message to the campus community shortly after the decision was released, the development regarding affirmative action “will only strengthen my personal commitment and that of our University to sustain a diverse campus environment where every student has access to the academic, social, and emotional support they need to receive a great, empowering education.” And we remain as committed as ever to making a William Paterson education as affordable as possible for all students.

In more positive news, the new State budget that was passed on Friday includes the $7.5 million in additional funding for WP that we were hoping for, as well as additional funds for outcomes based allocations to all public institutions, which we anticipate will yield nearly $4.6 million in additional State support for William Paterson. I want to again thank N.J. Senator Nellie Pou, Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly, and Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter for their continuous support, as well as Governor Phil Murphy and his front office staff. Thanks also to Dr. Sue Tardi and the AFT for their advocacy on behalf of greater public funding for the University.   

Please note that Welcome Day, which I wrote about in my May 15 update, has been rescheduled to Wednesday, August 30. In addition to a regular work schedule for staff, daytime classes will be cancelled, with classes resuming at 5:00 p.m. Faculty should plan to be on campus from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m for a Convocation ceremony, as well as college and departmental meetings. Lunch will also be available in the UC Ballrooms, where we will celebrate milestone work anniversaries of our faculty and staff. Additionally, I hope that everyone will join me for my Fall State of the University address. A full schedule of the day’s activities will be shared in the coming weeks.


Looking at where we are with Fall 2023 enrollment, the first-time, full-time (FT/FT) applicant pool is 8.5% larger than last year, with more than 8,600 applicants (please note that this number is a correction from the last update, where the number of prospects were mistakenly reported as applicants). WP has made 11% more offers of admission, resulting in an 8.5% increase in FT/FT deposits paid (910 deposits) compared to this time last year. Campus-wide efforts are underway to assist these students with placement testing and enrollment. Transfer student deposits are up 42.2%, and enrollment has increased by 27.3%, year over year. New graduate student enrollment stands at 489 students, marking an 18.4% increase from last year. The Enrollment Management team is optimistic about the new Fall class and is actively collaborating with WP departments to support these students and their families.

I want to thank the members of the Women’s Experience Task Force: Dr. Gamin Bartle, Interim CIO, Information Technology; Task Force Co-Chair, Dr. Sharmila Pixy Ferris, Professor, Communication Department; Dr. Carol Frierson-Campbell, Professor, Music Department;

Task Force Co-Chair Dr. Gigi Mohamad, Assistant Professor, Education Leadership and Professional Studies; and Jenny Nesenjuk, Assistant Director & Employer Relations Lead, Career Development Center, along with everyone who participated in their good work, which has resulted in the comprehensive report that can now be found on my website. This report contains a clear-eyed assessment of the experiences of women at William Paterson, where, as the report notes, they make up a majority of both the faculty/staff and student populations. In addition to various data sources, the report is built on the feedback of more than 350 women students, faculty, and staff members on campus. Thanks to this extensive survey, along with comparative data from across higher education, the report will serve us well as we work to further improve the experience for all women at William Paterson and support the advancement of more women into leadership positions on campus.

This week’s WPWe are Proud – One of the many great benefits of working at William Paterson is the tuition waiver that is generally available to employees and dependent children. It is always extra special to see a member of our community or their child earn a William Paterson degree, expand opportunity, and further strengthen their ties to the University. Congratulations to the families and the 15 employees and dependent children who earned their degrees this year!

I hope everyone has an enjoyable and relaxing Independence Day, filled with good food, fun, and time spent with family and friends. Happy Fourth!


Richard J. Helldobler, Ph.D.
Office of the President | 973.720.2222 |