Russell Hawkins, Former Chair of the Board of Trustees at William Paterson University, Posthumously Elected Trustee Emeritus

Russell Hawkins

Vice President Pamela Ferguson, President Richard Helldobler, Virginia Hawkins, and John Galandak, vice chair, Board of Trustees

--Hawkins also has been posthumously named director emeritus of the William Paterson University Foundation

The late Russell Hawkins, who served as chair of the William Paterson University Board of Trustees from 1984 to 1989, was posthumously elected trustee emeritus by the Board during its meeting on March 3, 2023.

Hawkins served on the William Paterson Board of Trustees from 1980 to 1992. In addition to serving as chair of the board for five years, Hawkins served as vice chair of the New Jersey State College Governing Boards Association from 1986 to 1988. He retired from the Board of Trustees in 1992 after 12 years of service to become a founding member of the newly established William Paterson Foundation Board. In 1992, William Paterson University presented him with an honorary doctorate of humane letters.

“Russell Hawkins served William Paterson with distinction in a number of roles for decades as a trustee and then chair of the Board,” said President Richard J. Helldobler. “During a period of great growth and change, Russell’s leadership was instrumental to William Paterson’s continued evolution as one of New Jersey’s leading institutions of higher education. Through his service on the Foundation Board, he further helped support our students and the development of key campus resources. It is an honor to formally recognize his many contributions to our University.”

He served on the Foundation Board for 30 years until his death in December 2022, where he was a member of the finance committee. In addition, Hawkins served as Foundation Board secretary from 2014 to 2022. He was posthumously elected director emeritus by the Foundation Board during its meeting on March 7, 2023.

“Russell Hawkins was a loyal, committed member of the University community for many years,” said Pamela Ferguson, vice president for institutional advancement and president of the William Paterson University Foundation. “He was a humanitarian, incredibly thoughtful, and always interested in moving the Foundation forward, and we are proud to recognize him.”

“William Paterson has been part of our lives for many, many years,” said his wife, Virginia Hawkins, who was present at the Board of Trustees meeting on March 3, and spoke of their long involvement with the University, including their attendance at numerous events. “I know he would be honored, as am I, and I thank you very, very much.”

Hawkins had a long and successful career with Allied-Signal Corporation, now Honeywell, from which he retired as vice president of human resources after 25 years. He previously worked for the Social Security Administration in Philadelphia.

He was an active community member, including service on the Morristown Board of Education, chairman of the Morris Education Foundation, and a member of the Morris County Fair Housing Council. He also served on the boards of the Morris Museum of Arts, the Mayo Performing Arts Center, the Morristown Area YMCA, the Regional Health Planning Council, and WNET 13. He was a lifelong member of the NAACP and the National Urban League. Hawkins was a graduate of Howard University with a bachelor’s degree in economics.