University Background


William Paterson University is among the largest universities in the state of New Jersey, with nearly 11,000 students and nearly 74,000 living alumni, including nearly 59,000 alumni in New Jersey. Richard J. Helldobler became the University’s eighth president on July 1, 2018

The third oldest public institution in New Jersey, the University was founded in 1855 as a normal school in the city of Paterson dedicated to the professional preparation of teachers.  The institution continued to expand and evolve, and in 1967, by state mandate, was transformed into a multipurpose liberal arts institution. In 1971, the institution was named after William Paterson (1745-1806), the New Jersey patriot who was a signer of the Constitution, New Jersey’s second governor, and a U.S. Supreme Court Justice.

Located on a 370-acre hilly, wooded campus, in suburban Wayne, to which the institution moved from Paterson in 1951, the University offers the best of all worlds. Bordering on High Mountain Park Preserve, nearly 1,200 acres of wetlands and woodlands, it is just three miles from the historic Great Falls in Paterson yet just 20 miles from the rich cultural, artistic, and commercial life of New York City.

William Paterson is the third most diverse public university in New Jersey and nearly 30 percent of its students are the first in their families to attend college. The University was recently designated as a Hispanic-serving institution with more than 25 percent of its students claiming Hispanic heritage.

The University is committed to providing an outstanding and affordable education for its students.  For the past six years, the University has held increases in undergraduate tuition and fees to less than two percent. In addition, each year, the University awards more than $1 million in donor-funded scholarships and another $10 million in direct institutional support.

The University offers 53 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and two doctoral programs: the doctorate in clinical psychology and the doctor of nursing practice. Its wide range of degree programs are offered through five academic colleges: Arts and Communication, the Cotsakos College of Business, Education, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Science and Health. An Honors College provides academically gifted students with a rigorous curriculum that includes a challenging array of courses, seminars, and co-curricular activities.

William Paterson’s 410 full-time faculty members are highly distinguished and diverse scholars and teachers. They include 41 Fulbright scholars, two Guggenheim Fellows, and recipients of numerous other awards, grants, and fellowships from the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Institutes of Health, and the U.S. Department of Education.

Students benefit from individualized attention from faculty, small class sizes, and numerous research, internship, and clinical experiences. Approximately 50 percent of students participate in a career-related external learning experience such as internships, clinical rotation, or student teaching before they graduate. Undergraduate students also are actively involved in research and other scholarly and creative activities with faculty on projects leading to presentations at regional, state, or national conferences or publication in scholarly journals. The University established a week-long series of campus events, Explorations, in 2016 to highlight the depth and quality of student and faculty research.

The University is the first and only public New Jersey college or university that requires new undergraduates to take a course on civic engagement. During the 2015-16 academic year, more than 2,300 students enrolled in 40 different courses in a variety of disciplines and students contributed more than 7,200 hours to community service projects. The institution is a founding member of New Jersey Campus Compact, and has been nationally recognized for its leadership in the American Democracy Project.

William Paterson’s state-of-the-art facilities provide students with a variety of opportunities for experiential learning including its new 80,000-square-foot $40 million academic building, University Hall.  Funded in part by $30 million from the state’s “Building Our Future” Bond Act, the facility provides general-use classrooms and dedicated laboratories and clinical spaces for programs in nursing, communication disorders, and public health. The Science Complex encourages an interactive learning environment with nearly 100 research labs and 50 teaching labs, many of which can be configured in multiple ways to enhance faculty and student collaboration.  HD-ready TV broadcast studios and radio broadcast studios and sound engineering facilities offer students hands-on opportunities in professional facilities, providing the skills needed for internships and careers.  Students in the Cotsakos College of Business can take advantage of advanced facilities such as the Russ Berrie Professional Sales Laboratory, a unique computerized multimedia facility that simulates business office environments, and its Global Business and Finance Institute with its simulated trading room. The University Commons, including the John Victor Machuga Student Center, is the hub of campus life, providing students with seamless access to student development services, activities, meeting rooms, and dining venues, all under one roof.The institution is also committed to supporting veterans and active service members on its campus.  The University has been honored as a “Military Friendly School” by and has been included in their Guide to Military Friendly Schools each year since 2011.

The University is committed to sustainability, and is a charter signatory of the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment. Its solar panel installation ranks among the 10 largest university installations in the United States, supplying 15 percent of the institution’s energy needs, for a savings of $10 million over 15 years. Since 2001, William Paterson’s electricity consumption has decreased 10 percent and natural gas consumption has decreased 50 percent.

An active campus life includes residential housing for nearly 2,600 students. Social, cultural, and recreational activities include 115 campus clubs and organizations, 13 NCAA Division III intercollegiate sports teams, and six club sports teams. Cultural events take place throughout the year, featuring both William Paterson’s own talent and renowned professional artists. Among the programs are concerts presenting jazz, classical, and contemporary music; theater productions; gallery exhibits; and the acclaimed Distinguished Lecturer Series, now in its 38th season.

Contact Us

William Paterson University
300 Pompton Road,
Wayne, NJ 07474-0913


(973) 720-2971

Follow Us