University Mourns the Loss of Hugh Aitken, Paul Chao, and Lorraine Cheng

The University remembers two professors and a Cheng Library benefactor.

Hugh Aitken, professor of music emeritus, died on December 24, 2012 at his home in Oakland. He was 88. Aitken was a graduate of The Juilliard School of Music and was a noted composer. His compositions ranged from solo and small ensemble pieces to full symphonies and operas. Some of his compositions were performed by YoYo Ma, Emmanuel Ax, the Seattle Symphony, and the New York Chamber Soloists, among others. Aitken was the author of The Piece as a Whole, a book exploring the relationships between music’s technical procedures and its expressive character. He  was appointed to the William Paterson music faculty in 1970 and retired in 1996.

"Hugh Aitken was a lifelong composer and educator," says Jeffrey Kresky, professor of music, who worked with Aitken for many years. "As a composer, he produced a large catalog of works primarily in various chamber music combinations, with a strong affinity for vocal music; but also in the larger forms of symphony and opera. As an educator, he inspired generations of students by his broad command of the arts and sciences generally, which deeply enriched his teaching of music.”

Paul K.  Chao, professor of sociology emeritus, died on January 5, 2013 at his home in Wayne. He was 93.  Appointed to the faculty in 1964, Chao retired in 1990. He was a graduate of New York University, and Cambridge University in England.  Chao, the author of six books, most recently published Witchcraft and Sorcery in 2012. After retiring, Chao taught at the University as an adjunct and would donate each semester’s salary to the University. He also established a scholarship for a student with financial need majoring in or about to major in Africana World Studies.

Lorraine L. Cheng, a benefactor to the William Paterson University David and Lorraine Cheng Library with her husband, David Cheng, died on December 29, 2012 at her home in Fort Lee. She was 86. A graduate of Cornell University, where she earned a master of science degree in biochemistry, she worked for Hoffman LaRoche for thirty-one years in several positions, retiring in 1994 as director of scientific information. The Chengs donated $1 million to the University’s library, capping their earlier support of the library’s collection of Chinese language materials which currently numbers more than 1,000 books written in Chinese.

“The Chengs’ generosity in creating an endowment to the library was a milestone for the University,” says Anne Ciliberti, dean of library services. “It provides a steady, dependable stream of revenue for the library that enables it to stay abreast of new technologies and developments in academic publishing. The Chengs had the foresight and commitment to recognize the importance of library collections and services.” The interest from the endowment is used for the acquisition of books for the library’s collection.