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June 10, 2013, volume 3, number 20

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To the William Paterson University Community

I am deeply saddened to inform the University community about the death of our dear friend and colleague Roland Watts, associate vice president for campus life, after a long illness.

Roland arrived on campus in July 1986 as director of residence life, and served in a variety of administrative positions in student development for nearly 27 years, including dean of students.  He worked with many of our student clubs and organizations, including the Student Government Association, and received numerous awards from students for his care, concern, and mentorship.  Students continued to fondly refer to him as Dean Watts, and despite his illness, he courageously brought his cheerful smile and upbeat demeanor to our campus every day. We will truly miss him.

In one of his first interviews on campus in 1986, Roland described his philosophy about the students he served.  “Whether as a professor or some other mentor, it’s important to realize how instrumental you can be in a student’s life,” he said.  “For me, playing that big brother role and being helpful to students is the ultimate reward.”

On behalf of the University, I offer our deepest condolences to Roland’s wife, Audrey Bonaparte-Watts ’95, and his family. Counselors will be available from our Employee Assistance Program provider, CONCERN, today in Atrium Conference Room 126 from 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m, and on Tuesday from 9:30 to noon in University Commons 202.  A viewing will be held on Friday, June 14, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Volk Leber Funeral Home, 789 Teaneck Road, Teaneck. Services will be held on Saturday, June 15; a viewing will be held at 10 a.m., followed by a funeral service at 11 a.m. at Christ Church Cathedral, 68 Church Street, Montclair, NJ, 07042. At the request of Roland's family, in lieu of flowers, donations would be appreciated to the Roland Watts Memorial Scholarship Fund, William Paterson University, Hobart Manor, Wayne, NJ, 07470, www.wpunj.edu/giving.


Kathleen Waldron

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