Office of the President

June 19, 2023

Dear William Paterson Faculty and Staff,

Happy Juneteenth! While New Jersey observed the holiday last Friday, today is the federal holiday, as well as the actual anniversary of the day in 1865 it commemorates, when federal troops arrived in Texas to belatedly share news of the Emancipation Proclamation. As this helpful explainer from our Center for Diversity and inclusion states, Juneteenth is an important opportunity to reflect both on how far we have come and how much work remains in our quest for “equality and justice for all.”

Looking at current enrollment numbers, the freshmen applicant pool is currently 8.7% larger than at this time last year, with more than 14,000 applicants. Offers of admission have also increased more than 10.9%, year over year, resulting in a 5.6% increase in deposits paid compared to this time last year. I am also pleased to report that the revised transfer credit policy recently approved by Faculty Senate is yielding promising results, and transfer student offers of acceptance are up 25.5%. Deposits from transfer students are also up 48.2%, and enrollment is up 25.1% over last year. The Enrollment Management team remains optimistic about the new Fall class and is working hard with departments throughout campus to support our new students and their families. Graduate applications are up 9%, with more than 2,000 applicants and a 25% increase in the number of admissions offer made. New graduate student enrollment is up 16.2% over this time last year.

In terms of retention, as of last Friday, the retention rate for first-time, full-time, main campus undergraduate students stands at 73.7%. This is slightly (0.1%) ahead of where we were at this time last year, and the actual retention rate at census last fall was 71.5%. Our goal for this year is a minimum of 72%. We are in reach of that goal, but we will still need to see a lower summer melt of students between now and census in order to meet it.

The Counseling Health and Wellness Center has been awarded an important grant that will help us better meet the mental health needs of our students. The $462,000 Mental Health in Higher Education: Community Provider Partnership and Professional Development Grant is funded through the Federal American Rescue Plan Act. It allows higher education institutions to develop partnerships and expand professional capacity to meet the direct and unique mental health needs of their students, with a distinct focus on traditionally underrepresented student populations, which were disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds will be used at WP to establish mental health partnerships within the community to enhance services for our students. This includes professional development, psychiatric services, intensive outpatient care, and group programs. The grant will also help to establish a sensory/relaxation room planned for space in the Cheng Library. 

This week’s WPWe are Proud – Many of you are aware of the wonderful story of two members of the Class of 2023 – student Commencement speaker Racha Ahmad and her mother, Stani Hajbi – which has been shared on campus and in the local media. It has now gone national, as Racha and Stani were recently featured on NBC News with Lester Holt. Congratulations once again to them and to Vice President Stuart Goldstein and his Marketing and Public Relations team for sharing this wonderful story of Will. Power. and earning this high-profile media placement, which put Racha, Stani, and William Paterson before a national audience. Thanks, in particular, to Maria Daniels, who coordinated the NBC feature and publicity overall, as well as to everyone in M&PR, who were all deeply involved in the great communications work in support of our 200th Commencement, whether through social media, design, photography, web, or campus communications.

My next updates email will be in two weeks, on July 3. For those who will be on vacation, enjoy the July 4thholiday, and I hope everyone has a productive and enjoyable rest of June.


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