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April 7, 2015, volume 5, number 7

To the William Paterson University Community,

Winter is slowly easing its grip on our campus, as we enter the last six weeks of the Spring 2015 semester. After a long, cold winter, it will be a delight to see the campus pop back to life with spring blossoms, especially our daffodils. 

New Gift for Scholarships. The Henry and Marilyn Taub Foundation has pledged $1 million to establish the Henry Taub Scholars Program. The donation marks the largest single gift specifically for scholarships in William Paterson University history.

The funding will provide $250,000 per year for four years for scholarships covering tuition and fees for students with financial need, providing critical support for between 30 and 50 students. The first scholarships are only available to full-time freshmen in the incoming fall 2015 freshman class.

Henry Taub, born and raised in Paterson, became a successful businessman, and along with his wife Marilyn, established a foundation focusing on strengthening the community, enhancing education, and supporting health research. We are delighted to be the recipients of this generous gift, of great benefit to our students, and thank the Taub Foundation for partnering with the University.

Legacy Gala on April 16. The University’s 25th Annual Legacy Gala will be held on Thursday, April 16, at The Grove in Cedar Grove.  The gala is the Foundation’s largest event to raise funds to support the University’s mission of promoting student success and academic excellence. Honored this year will be alumni Nancy (nee Levenstein) Salvini ’72 and Emil Salvini ’71; Michael Allen Seeve, president, Mountain Development Corp., and ICA Risk Management Consultants for their philanthropy, leadership, and community service. For more information please contact Meredith McCarthy at 973-720-3920 or at mccarthym@wpunj.edu.  To purchase tickets at a special faculty/staff price please go to: https://wpconnect.wpunj.edu/alumni/forms/protected/journal.cfm

Commencement 2015. The University will celebrate Commencement on Wednesday, May 13, 2015 at 9 a.m. at the Prudential Center in Newark.  Please note the change in start time and venue. Delivering the keynote speech at Commencement is William Paterson alumnus and Board of Trustees Member William J. Pesce ’73. Will retired in 2011 after thirteen years as CEO of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Will has served as executive-in-residence for the University’s Cotsakos College of Business, where he continues to interact with students as a guest lecturer. He serves on Wiley’s Board of Directors and the Board of Overseers of New York University’s Stern School of Business. Will has received numerous honors, including his induction into the New Jersey Business Hall of Fame™, a lifetime achievement award for individuals making a significant, positive impact on New Jersey, as well as the William Paterson University Legacy Award and President’s Medal.

The Pesce Family established the Pesce Family Mentoring Institute to help prepare WPU students for their careers or graduate education by connecting successful professionals, including alumni and community partners, with selected William Paterson undergraduate students.

I am honored that Will Pesce has agreed to deliver the keynote address at this year’s Commencement, and I eagerly look forward to hearing his remarks to the graduating seniors.

Receiving an honorary doctorate posthumously is Kurt Landsberger. A successful businessman, newspaper columnist, environmental activist, author, and philanthropist, Landsberger built two thriving businesses in the production of laboratory equipment and medical aids for the elderly. His family foundation supports a scholarship in environmental studies at William Paterson. Sadly, Kurt died at age 94 in December 2014, so we will present his honorary degree to his son and grandson.

Commencement is such an important milestone in the lives of our graduating seniors—many of whom are first in their families to graduate from college—so I strongly encourage all faculty to robe in academic regalia and participate in the academic procession.  For faculty not serving as department marshals, reserved seating is available on the dais. A luncheon for faculty and staff volunteers commences immediately after the conclusion of the Commencement exercises. 

The University is providing free roundtrip buses from campus to the Prudential Center for faculty and staff volunteers, but you must register to hold a seat.  Please follow this link to reserve your seat: https://wpconnect.wpunj.edu/students/commencement_events.

University Research and Scholarship. The University hosted its annual Research and Scholarship Event April 1 and 2, showcasing the new research, creative activity, and scholarship being conducted by faculty, librarians, and students. Poster sessions and oral presentations of over 200 participants were featured over two days in the University Commons. Authors and award recipients were also recognized at a reception on April 1. This event captures some of the cutting-edge research being conducted in classrooms, in laboratories, and in the field by our faculty and students.  Faculty/student research is a long-held tradition at William Paterson University and last year we provided additional financial support for this activity.

Budget Outlook for Fiscal Year 2016. We are in the process of planning budgets for Fiscal Year 2016. As we study the proposed budget from the state administration, it appears that there will be a $39 million decrease in direct state operating aid to the state colleges and universities. William Paterson’s portion of that decrease is approximately $2.8 million, approximately 8.4 percent of our state appropriation, or about 1 percent of our total University budget.

Legislative hearings on the Governor’s budget are scheduled for April 15 and 30, and Patrick DeDeo, Associate Vice President for Governmental Relations and External Affairs, and I will be in Trenton to testify before the House and Assembly on the impact of this cut to our overall budget. We are currently in discussions with our State Senators and Assemblypersons to ask for their help in restoring these much-needed funds.

Fall 2015 Enrollment Forecast. We are pleased that applications for undergraduate admission for the Fall 2015 semester are up by 2.3 percent and up by 37 percent at the graduate level so we remain optimistic about attaining our enrollment goals for traditional freshmen, transfer, and graduate students.  We have readjusted the scholarship matrix to the 2013 levels to regain our competitive balance with other institutions.  This allows us to produce better results in terms of attracting new students.  Our enrollment goals require us to continue to improve on persistence benchmarks (retention, and 4-, 5-, and 6-year graduation rates) in order to realize our forecast of 11,407 students enrolled.  The admissions staff and the student success team are fully engaged along with the campus community in all of our enrollment efforts.

Campus Construction. Construction on University Hall, the new academic building, is on track and exterior brickwork has begun. The contractors were able to continue their work throughout the long winter months to keep the project on time, and we anticipate that the building will open in Fall 2016.

We are moving forward with the development and design plans for the renovation of Hunziker Hall and Wing. The goal is to start the project immediately after the three academic departments—Communication Disorders and Sciences, Nursing, and Public Health—relocate to the new academic building.  Until both Hunziker Hall and Wing are completely renovated, the number of classrooms will be slightly less than currently exists, so we will be looking at the class scheduling grid to find ways to accommodate fewer available classrooms in the interim.  When the new academic building and the renovated Hunziker Hall and Wing are fully operational, we will have a significant increase in the number of classrooms on the main campus.

WP P.R.I.D.E. Winners. Faith Mutch (Payroll and Benefits), Elaine Bush (College of Education), and Michael McConnell (Instruction and Research Technology) are the newest winners of the WP Pride Staff Excellence Awards. Faith, Elaine, and Michael were nominated for exemplary service to the University, and we commend them for their continued dedication to their departments, co-workers, and students.  Congratulations!

SpringFest. The Student Activities Planning Board is sponsoring Springfest 2015 with a weeklong slate of events April 19 – 26. Springfest is an annual event that promotes campus pride and spirit through music, food, contests, and a wide array of fun and engaging activities. Springfest also provides an opportunity for students to get outside and enjoy warmer Spring weather. 

Visibility. Our Department of Marketing and Public Relations has produced videos on two of our outstanding students, Kayla-Lynn Kasica, an accounting major, and Adonis Rivie, a biology major, to support the University’s Will.Power. brand and marketing campaign. The videos support student recruitment and have been deployed in various locations on the University website, including undergraduate admissions and the home page, and throughout our social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter.  Admissions staff members also show the videos to prospective students and their families during campus visits and recruitment events. We are very proud of these two students and all they have accomplished, and I would encourage you to take a look at both videos.   To view the Adonis video, please click https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FaCZ549EhVE, and to view the Kayla-Lynn video, please click https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1D8Lwr4jf9A.

Best regards for the last weeks of the semester, and I look forward to seeing you at Commencement on May 13.

 

Sincerely,

Kathleen Waldron
President

William Paterson University
300 Pompton Road, Wayne, New Jersey 07470     973-720-2222     president@wpunj.edu