William Paterson University to Host LGBTQ Presidents and Leaders in Higher Education 2021 LGBTQ Leadership Institute from June 17 to 19

William Paterson University in Wayne will serve as the host institution for the 2021 Leadership Institute of the LGBTQ Presidents in Higher Education, to be held virtually from Thursday, June 17 to Saturday, June 19, 2021.

The organization, founded in 2010, advances effective leadership in the realm of post-secondary education, supports professional development of LGBTQ leaders in that sector, and provides education and advocacy regarding LGBTQ issues within the global academy and for the public at large. William Paterson University President Richard J. Helldobler was elected as co-chair of the organization for 2021, along with President Erika Endrijonas of Pasadena City College in California.

“I am honored to have William Paterson hosting this important event,” said President Helldobler. “LGBTQ Presidents in Higher Education is a dynamic and fast-growing organization that is doing important work supporting and advocating for current and future LGBTQ leaders—work which ultimately benefits all of higher education. The Leadership Institute will provide attendees the opportunity to learn about many of the great things going on at William Paterson, providing the University with important exposure to an influential constituency.” 

A highlight of the event will be a conversation with Rep. Ritchie Torres, of New York’s 15th Congressional District, and Eddie Summers, president of The Thinkubator, a Bronx-based innovation and workforce development nonprofit organization, to be held on Saturday, June 19 from 3 to 4 p.m. Rep. Torres, elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2020 at age 32 to represent the South Bronx and parts of the West Bronx, will speak with Summers about pressing national issues of racial and social justice and equity that challenge today’s students and families in higher education.

The three-day event will include a number of sessions around the conference theme, “The Urgency of Diverse Leadership.” Panel sessions include “LGBTQ Leadership in Higher Education,” focused on the leadership issues faced by the first generation of out LGBTQ presidents and chancellors in the United States; “Beyond COVID-19: Planning for Disruption,” designed to provide advice on leading practices for business continuity; “Leading Through Two Pandemics: A Racial Divide and COVID-19,” which will explore the challenges of African American leadership as the United States grapples with the twin pandemics of racial and social injustice and the COVID-19 pandemic; and “Trans* Leadership in Higher Education: Challenges and Change,” which will feature trans* leadership in higher education in the United States and Canada, focusing on the institutional challenges and obstacles for emerging leaders as well as strategies to overcome them.

Additionally, participants can sign up for individualized 30-minute sessions with members of the organization based on their interests in leadership growth and career background.

Richard J. Helldobler, Ph.D., is the eighth president of William Paterson University, one of the state’s largest and most diverse public universities, which educates nearly 10,000 students through its five colleges. He assumed the presidency on July 1, 2018, after six years at Northeastern Illinois University, first as provost and vice president for academic affairs, and then as interim president. President Helldobler has more than 30 years of higher education experience in a variety of academic and administrative roles, along with prestigious fellowships and other distinctions. Like many William Paterson students, President Helldobler is a first-generation student of immigrant heritage, an experience which grounds his work in serving students for whom education is a means of social mobility and economic progress. In addition to co-chairing LGBTQ Presidents in Higher Education, he serves on the boards of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU); the New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities (NJASCU); and the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey (CIANJ). A 2005-2006 American Council on Education Fellow, he is chair-elect of the ACE Council of Fellows. A trained dancer and theatre director, President Helldobler was the founding artistic director for CalRep Pennsylvania, a pre-professional summer theatre program, and The Mon Valley Ballet Theatre, the resident ballet company at California University of Pennsylvania.  

For additional information, or to register, please visit  LGBTQPpresidents.org/Events/2021-Leadership-Institute-Virtual.