Office of the President

July 17, 2023

Dear William Paterson Faculty and Staff,

It was wonderful to welcome members of the incoming class and their parents and families last week for New Student Orientation. As I often say, the only difference between a new college student and a high school student is a couple of months of summer vacation, so orientation is especially important in building their capacity for this important transition. Thanks to Director of Campus Activities, Service & Leadership Donna Minnich Spuhler for leading the ongoing series of orientation activities and to everyone in Student Development, Enrollment Management, and elsewhere who helped make it a great event for our newest Pioneers. 

When we see them again, on the August 30th Welcome Day, faculty should expect to be on campus from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., rather than 4:30 p.m. as previously stated. 


I am pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Gamin Bartle as Chief Information Officer after she served in this role in an interim capacity for more than a year. In that time, Dr. Bartle has led the transition to Workday as one of the co-chairs of the implementation team, drafted a strategic plan for IT, which we are now working through, and has emphasized a collaborative approach to leadership of the division. 

In speaking with her leadership team while considering this appointment, I was particularly impressed by what they described to me as a shift under Gamin from a “nuts and bolts” approach to IT to one that takes a deeper look at the macro trends that will impact William Paterson now and over the longer term. Also in IT, Patrick Ryan has been made permanent in the role of Director of Instruction & Research Technology, after serving as Acting Director. Congratulations to Gamin and Patrick.

On the enrollment front, total enrollment is currently 26% away from goal versus 26.9% at this time last year. Our main campus continuing enrollment is 10.6% from goal versus 10.4% away from goal last year, and continuing WP Online is 19.2% away from goal versus 26.6% away from goal at this time last year. First-year enrollment continues to trend well and currently stands at 932 deposits, which is 103.5% of goal, with 827 students enrolled for the Fall semester, to date. Year over year, retention is up 0.8%. 

My July 3 update email misidentified one of the co-chairs of the Women’s Task Force. The task force was co-chaired by Dr. Gigi Mohamad, Assistant Professor, Education Leadership and Professional Studies, and Dr. Gamin Bartle, CIO. The other members were: Dr. Sharmila Pixy Ferris, Professor, Communication Department ; Dr. Carol Frierson-Campbell, Professor, Music Department; Jenny Nesenjuk, Assistant Director & Employer Relations Lead, Career Development Center; and Maureen O’Brien, Junior, Communication Studies Major. I want to again thank them all for their good work, including their report, which can be found on my website.

This week’s WPWe are Proud – Congratulations to Professor of Art and Director of the Center for Chinese Art Zhiyuan Cong, who recently traveled to his hometown of Bencha Town, Rudong, Natong, China for the opening of the Zhiyuan Art Museum, which is named in his honor and showcases works from throughout his accomplished career as a painter and printmaker. The museum opening included panel discussions, a ceremony with dignitaries from across China, and an opening exhibit.

Professor Cong’s work has been exhibited at the National Museum of China, the United Nations, the Olympic Fine Arts Exhibition, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, The Butler Institute of America Art, the National Art Museum of China, and other prestigious venues. In addition to work as an artist and educator, Professor Cong is one of the foremost authorities on Chinese art and a leading ambassador for the study and appreciation of Chinese art in America. Click here to view video highlights of the opening ceremony. Congratulations, again, to Professor Cong on this most prestigious of honors.

Have a great week.


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