Office of the President

February 6, 2023

Dear William Paterson Faculty and Staff,

Thank you to everyone who joined us in Shea Auditorium last Thursday for my Spring semester State of the University address, which began with a terrific student performance of the theme song for my talk, “I Can See Clearly Now,” under the direction of Professor David Philp. In my address, I shared updates on our branding and identity work, including samples of new WP advertising, along with progress on the five pillars of our Strategic Plan. I also had the pleasure of sharing some positive admissions and enrollment, budget, and retention numbers. A couple of important highlights: Currently, we are nearly one percent ahead of both our Spring enrollment goal and our fall-to-spring retention, year-over-year.

These and other signs are the result of a lot of good work by dedicated faculty and staff across campus, and I am grateful to you all for everything you do for our students. As I said on the Shea stage, I am confident that there are many “bright, sunshiny" days ahead for William Paterson. If you weren’t able to join us or would like to take a closer look, you can find the text of my address and the accompanying slides on my website.

A reminder that Provost Josh Powers will lead a presentation of Spring 2023 Academic Affairs updates on Zoom this Friday, Feb. 10, From 12:30-1:15 p.m.

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the kickoff event for William Paterson’s Black History Month celebration, which is themed, “Black Resistance: Pride, Power, Persistence.” The inspiring keynote address was delivered by Zellie Thomas, a WP alumnus, educator, and activist from Paterson, N.J. Thanks to Student Diversity and Inclusion Director Yolany Gonell and Assistant Director Myranda Louis Jean for organizing a wonderful evening. Black History Month is always a special and important time on our campus, even more so now, when we see troubling efforts around the country to undermine the teaching of Black history and its centrality to our nation’s history. I encourage everyone to participate in Black History Month on campus, in whatever way you can. Please check Pioneer Life for details of the month’s events.

As a result of new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requirements for text messaging, our RAVE emergency alert communications will now begin with the prefix “WP Urgent” rather than “WP Alert.” We wanted you to be aware of this change, even though it will not affect the nature or content of these communications, which the University may send for a wide range of emergencies, including inclement weather. With this in mind and winter still very much with us, I encourage you to sign on for RAVE emergency alerts through WPConnect, if you haven’t already.

Left to Right: Nafin Elias ’20, MA ’22; Kate Matthews-Bray

Senior Associate Director of Alumni Relations; Gina Buffalino

Senior Alumni Relations Specialist; Jenna Villani

Executive Director of Alumni Relations

This week’s WPWe are Proud – Congratulations to Pam Ferguson and the Institutional Advancement team, including Executive Director Jenna Villani and the Alumni Relations team (pictured above), for organizing another successful Manhattan Bagel Scholarship Event. Thanks to shop owner Chintan Patel and to everyone from the WP community who took the opportunity to pick up their coffee, bagels, treats, or sandwiches on a day when half the proceeds went to support scholarships for our students. As a result of your patronage and Manhattan Bagel’s generosity, $2,500 was raised for student scholarships – 25% more than last year. We are fortunate to have supportive local businesses like Manhattan Bagel.

Have a great week!


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