William Paterson University held two ceremonies to celebrate the beginning of construction on an addition and renovation of its athletics fieldhouse, an initiative designed to provide the institution’s student-athletes with the resources they need to compete and succeed at the highest level.
During a groundbreaking event on October 13, the University announced a $250,000 lead donation from Stephen Adzima ’75, a former Pioneer football player and member of the William Paterson University Athletic Hall of Fame, to the Pioneering Champions Campaign, which seeks to raise $1.5 million in support of the project. In recognition of the donation, William Paterson will name the Stephen Adzima Strength and Conditioning Center, to be located in the fieldhouse, in his honor. The gift establishes an endowed fund for ongoing support of the fieldhouse.
The event served as the public launch of the Pioneering Champions Campaign, which has been kicked off with a video by WP alumnus Kevin Burkhardt ’97, studio host and play-by-play announcer for Major League Baseball and the NFL on Fox Sports. To watch the video, click here.
“Thank you, Steve, for leading the $1.5 million fieldhouse campaign by making this generous commitment to your alma mater,” said President Richard J. Helldobler. “Intercollegiate athletics is an integral part of the William Paterson mission to provide our students with a quality, comprehensive campus educational experience…The fieldhouse project will be a key upgrade, providing our hard-working and dedicated student-athletes with more modern, state-of-the-art facilities, which will support better training and better practice and gameday experiences, and hopefully more winning seasons. Not to mention more student-athletes getting those life-changing degrees that transform their lives, and those of their families and communities.”
“I am pumped. I have vivid memories of playing on this field and of my teammates,” said Adzima, noting that when he played on the University’s first football team 50 years ago, there were no such facilities on campus. “We need an even playing field for our students-athletes and this is a first step toward making that happen. Go Pioneers!”
“Today is about WP's alumni recognizing the importance of ‘giving back’, supporting our current Pioneer champions,” said Pamela Ferguson, vice president for institutional advancement and president of the William Paterson University Foundation. “I thank Steve for his unwavering commitment and philanthropic generosity to William Paterson University.”
At an event during Homecoming on October 21, John Galandak, vice chair of the William Paterson University Board of Trustees, and Lauren Locker '79, vice chair of the William Paterson University Foundation, joined with alumni, friends, student-athletes, and University staff to celebrate the project.
Galandak praised Stephen Adzima , a former member of the Board of Trustees, for his lead gift to the Pioneering Champions Fieldhouse Campaign. "Despite not having served together, I know we have a lot in common: we are both dedicated to the success of William Paterson and its students."
"As a member of the Foundation, I am excited to be here to share in the celebration of this project, which is designed to support the success of our Pioneer student-athletes and give them the resources they need to compete at the highest level," Locker said.
President Helldobler, who also spoke at the ceremony, noted the importance of intercollegiate athletics as part of the University experience, and the need for modern, state-of-the-art athletics facilities. "As the current and former student-athletes who are with us here can attest, success in the competitive arena--success that transcends wins and losses (though we certainly like wins!)--can translate to success in the classroom, in careers, and throughout an individual's life," he said.
Adzima, the president and owner of Universal Electric Motor Service in Hackensack, served on the William Paterson University Board of Trustees from 2005 until 2014. He has been a supporter of the University and its athletics programs for more than four decades. Adzima played on William Paterson’s first football team, which became an NCAA Division III team in 1972; he was a three-time all-conference selection and in 1974 was named an All-American defensive end. He was inducted into the University’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1991. An economics major at William Paterson, he graduated in 1975. Adzima met his wife, Roxanne (Ambruso) Adzima ’78, at William Paterson. He is a member of the William Paterson Heritage Society, which celebrates loyal donors who have given to William Paterson University for 20 or more years.
The project, slated for completion in August 2024, includes a 4,000-square-foot addition to its existing athletic fieldhouse facility. It will include a student-athlete-specific fitness center, featuring strength training and cardio areas, with roll-up glass garage doors facing Wightman Stadium. It will also feature an expanded athletic training facility; individual locker rooms for field hockey, softball, and women’s soccer; and a renovation of the existing football and baseball locker rooms. William Paterson fields 13 NCAA Division III intercollegiate teams and currently has 300 student-athletes.
William Paterson University
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, New Jersey 07470