University News

Local Historian to Present Lecture on 19th Century Paterson Industrialist Roswell Colt on May 6

--Lecture is sponsored by Friends of the Cheng Library at William Paterson University

Roswell Colt, who some would argue is the most important Paterson resident of the 19th century, will be the topic of a lecture by Glenn Corbett, an associate professor at John Jay College, on Sunday, May 6 at 2 p.m. in the Cheng Library Auditorium on the William Paterson University campus in Wayne. Admission is free. The lecture is sponsored by the University’s Friends of the Cheng Library.

The program, titled “Roswell Colt: A Biographical Puzzle of the ‘Greatest of all the Colts,’” will explore Colt’s strategic foresight as governor of the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures that created America’s first center of industrial innovation in Paterson. Colt changed the focus of the society from creating manufactured goods to its new role as the developer of a 19th century industrial enterprise zone. As a result of Colt’s efforts, Paterson became the Silicon Valley of its day. Corbett will also discuss Colt’s life as a merchant, banker, stock speculator, land developer, manufacturer, horticulturalist, and breeder of cattle, as well as his work as a philanthropist.

Corbett is an associate professor of fire science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and former chair of its Department Of Protection Management. He is a technical editor of Fire Engineering magazine and is a former assistant chief of the Waldwick Fire Department. He testified before the 9/11 Commission and recently served on the Federal Advisory Committee of the National Construction Safety Team that investigated the World Trade Center disaster. In addition, he is the chief technical advisor to the Skyscraper Safety Campaign. Corbett has served as the president of the New Jersey Society of Fire Service Instructors. He has an avid interest in firefighting and history, authoring The Great Paterson Fire of 1902 and co-authoring Historic Fires of New York City.

For additional information, call the Cheng Library at 973-720-2113 or email

# # # #