William Paterson University mourns the loss of Jean Aires ’64, MA ’88, a dedicated and passionate member of the Alumni Executive Council and the William Paterson University Foundation Board, on March 15, 2023. She was 80.
A 1964 graduate of then-Paterson State Teachers College with a bachelor’s degree in history, Aires began her career as a teacher at Passaic High School, where her students remembered her years later for her ability to convey her love for classic “civics” and citizenship values through the many social studies courses she taught. In 1988, Aires earned a master’s degree in communication arts from William Paterson. She retired from teaching after nearly 40 years in Passaic and pursued a second career as a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker, where she remained engaged until her death.
Aires joined the Alumni Executive Council in 1986, and in 2005, became the Council’s representative to the William Paterson University Foundation Board; she remained a member of both organizations until her passing. In addition, she was a member of Foundation’s Golf Outing Committee since its inception in 2010, a member of the Donor Scholarship Committee, and a member of the Hobart Manor Revitalization Committee. She also was very active with the University’s Abram Kartch/Thomas Jefferson Lecture Series. She was posthumously elected director emerita by the Foundation Board during its meeting on June 13, 2023.
“For 38 years, Jean was passionate, faithful, and dedicated to her alma mater through her untiring service, generous philanthropy, and ongoing quest to make William Paterson the very best it could be,” says Pamela Ferguson, vice president for institutional advancement and president of the William Paterson University Foundation.
A member of the University’s Heritage Society, which celebrates loyal donors of 20 or more years, she was also a member of the Hobart Society, making a gift through her estate plans. She also established the Aires Annual Scholarship for a full-time undergraduate student enrolled in the College of Education.
“Among her numerous philanthropic endeavors, Jean held William Paterson University in highest esteem for the seminal education she said she received and the role she believed William Paterson played in accessible, exemplary higher education,” Ferguson adds. “She gave loyally of her time and talent, and there was no one who was more dedicated to William Paterson. She will be greatly missed.”
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