Office of the President

October 16, 2023


Dear William Paterson Community,

Thank you to everyone who joined us Friday at the groundbreaking ceremony for construction of an addition and renovation to our athletics fieldhouse, an exciting new initiative which will provide our Pioneer student-athletes with the resources they need to compete and succeed at the highest level.

I especially want to recognize and thank Stephen Adzima ’75, who made a very generous $250,000 lead donation to launch the $1.5 million Pioneering Champions Campaign in support of the project. A former Pioneer football player and member of the William Paterson Alumni Association Athletic Hall of Fame, Steve’s gift gives us a big head start in our campaign and establishes an endowed fund for ongoing support of the fieldhouse. 

Steve is the president and owner of Universal Electric Motor Service in Hackensack. He served on the University Board of Trustees from 2005 until 2014 and has been a supporter of William Paterson and its athletics programs for more than four decades. Steve played on William Paterson’s first football team, which became an NCAA Division III team in 1972. A three-time all-conference selection, Steve was named an All-American defensive end in 1974 and was inducted into the University’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1991. William Paterson is also special to Steve because it is where he met his wife, Roxanne (Ambruso) Adzima ’78. He is a member of the William Paterson Heritage Society, which celebrates loyal donors who have given to William Paterson University for 20 or more years.

In recognition of Steve’s generosity, we will name the Stephen Adzima Strength and Conditioning Center, to be located in the newly renovated and expanded fieldhouse, in his honor. Friday’s groundbreaking also served as the public launch of the Pioneering Champions Campaign, which has been kicked off with a video by another distinguished WP alumnus, Kevin Burkhardt ’97, studio host and play-by-play announcer for the NFL and Major League Baseball on Fox Sports. To watch the video, click here.

Intercollegiate athletics is an integral part of the William Paterson mission to provide our students with a quality, comprehensive campus educational experience. The fieldhouse project will be a key upgrade, providing our hard-working and dedicated student-athletes with more modern, state-of-the-art facilities, which will support better training, better practice and game-day experiences, and hopefully more winning seasons. Not to mention more student-athletes getting those life-changing degrees that transform their lives, and those of their families and communities.

We hope to complete the fieldhouse project in August 2024. As I shared during my Fall State of the University address, it will include a 4,000-square-foot addition to the existing athletic fieldhouse facility and a student-athlete-specific fitness center, featuring strength training and cardio areas, with roll-up glass garage doors facing Wightman Stadium. It will also feature an expanded athletic training facility; individual locker rooms for field hockey, softball, and women’s soccer; and a renovation of the existing football and baseball locker rooms. The project will benefit the 300 student-athletes who are members of our 13 NCAA Division III intercollegiate teams and, by extension, the experience for everyone who turns out to cheer them on.

I also want to extend a special thanks to Vice President Pam Ferguson and her Institutional Advancement team for organizing Friday’s event and managing the campaign, and Vice President and CFO Kirstin Loewrigkeit and Associate Vice President Kevin Garvey for leading the planning and now the execution of the project.

Thank you, and Go Pioneers!


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