Office of the President

October 23, 2023

Dear William Paterson Faculty and Staff,

It was great to see so many of you dressed in your orange and black WP gear at Saturday’s Homecoming, where the Pioneer spirit was on full display despite the early rain. It was wonderful to personally engage with so many WP alumni, from graduates of recent years to ones who measure the time since their William Paterson days in decades. And I always enjoy seeing our graduates and their families reconnecting with one another and forging new friendships, whether at the well-attended tailgate or in the stands of Wightman Stadium. While our football team fell just short of victory, it certainly was not due to a lack of support from the nearly 1,200 fans cheering them on, in addition to Pio, our Pioneer Cheerleaders, the Dance Team, and Pep Band. Thanks to Vice President Pam Ferguson and her Institutional Advancement team, including Executive Director Jenna Villani and her Alumni Relations team, as well as Vice President Miki Cammarata, Associate Vice President Francisco Diaz, and the Student Development Team, including Director Kristen Foley and everyone in Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreation. A reminder that Family Day was postponed due to the weather, and we will look for another opportunity to bring families to campus at a future date.

A week earlier, our campus community demonstrated this same spirit to 403 prospective students and their families at our Fall Open House. This represents a nearly 7% increase in attendance from last year, when Open House was held on a beautiful sunny day, even though this year’s – like so many weekend events in 2023 – was impacted by rain. This is a critically important event for us, so I am grateful to all our faculty and staff members who helped to create a warm welcome for our guests, engage with them, and showcase the talented people and excellent programs that define the William Paterson experience. Thanks to everyone who planned and organized the event, as well as everyone who took part, especially Vice President for Enrollment Management George Kacenga, Associate Vice President Stephen Quinn, and their teams.  

This week’s WPWe are Proud – In addition to the honor of participating in the recent NBCU Academy Next Level Summit, WP also had the special designation of being the first and only college in the history of the event to have a crew of students running the control room during the live broadcast. The prestigious bi-annual event seeks to educate and elevate students and working professionals in the journalism, media, and tech industries. Our students shined with their talents on full display before a national audience of participants. Isabel Birritteri ’24, a current intern with NBC Universal and news director of WP’s Brave New Radio, served as the on-air host for WP. The technical crew included: Director Claire Biennestin ‘25, Technical Director Valery Arango ’24; Audio Engineer Christopher Cugliari ’26; Playback Engineer Delainne Morales ’24; Camera Operators Aria Capria ’26 and Stephen-Paul Russell ’26; Floor Manager Isabella Rocha ‘26, and Jib Operator Jess Carfello ’25Nicholas Wilkerson ‘26, Christal Fernando M.A. ‘24, Kehinde-Sierra Adetula MA ‘25,Marc Brandt ‘25, and Brooke Holzhauer ‘27 were selected to ask questions of the panelists on air. Special thanks to: TV Studio Manager Al ClarkeRob Meyer and Dante Portello from IRT; Department of Communication Chair Dr. Michele Cascardi; Director of Development Andres Cladera; Senior Marketing Communications Coordinator Maria Daniels for their work in making this a successful event, as well as Dr. Wartyna Davis, Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, for her leadership.

Thank you all for your continued good work and dedication throughout this particularly busy time of year.


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