September 3, 2019

To the Students of William Paterson community:

Welcome to the 2019-2020 academic year! I hope that you have had an energizing and enjoyable summer and that you are as excited as I am to begin the new semester.

It is my privilege to serve the William Paterson University community as your President. Since taking office more than a year ago, I have only grown more impressed with what drew me here in the first place, namely the amazing things that you, your classmates, and your professors, and our staff accomplish every day at this University. 

You are here as a result of your continued hard work and determination to get a great education and, ultimately, to graduate with a degree that will serve you well as you pursue your next professional or academic endeavors. And we – that is, every member of the faculty, staff, and administration – are here for you. Our main focus is to support you in all your efforts to learn as students and, just as importantly, to grow as individuals.

A big part of our mutual efforts is clear and effective communication. We pledge to communicate openly and often with you about developments here at the University that will impact our community and your place in it. In return, we ask that you communicate with us to help us better support you. Whether through faculty office hours, meeting with an advisor, sending me an email or stopping me on campus to chat, let us know how you’re doing, what’s working for you, and what’s not. This is a large and diverse community, and it is only through frank conversations that we better learn to understand one another as individuals and get the information we need to constantly improve as an institution. 

As part of our commitment to continuously improve our system of student communications, I am pleased to announce that the new WP Connect Student Portal — which features an intuitive, mobile-friendly design and improved search functions — is available beginning today. The new portal will help you quickly and easily navigate many important activities and responsibilities, such as viewing your class schedule and progress toward your degree; accessing student success, financial aid, and campus life resources; and acting on any notifications/alerts, among many others. You can access the new student portal at

The new portal and other digital communications are vital to keeping everyone informed, but when it comes to the important process of learning from and better understanding each other, there is no substitute for face-to-face interaction. So, I look forward to meeting you either during scheduled events and activities or during informal interactions on campus. Each semester, I will host several “Pizza with the President” sessions and will set aside time to meet with students in my office in Hobart Manor and elsewhere on campus. I will also meet regularly with members of the Student Government Association and other student organizations.

Our University has an impressive number and variety of activities and events. I look forward to continuing to take advantage of our vibrant campus by attending academic programs, performances, visual arts exhibits, and – donning my orange and black – our athletics events. I hope you will too. I love nothing more than getting out across campus and meeting as many of you as I can. So, please, if you see me, stop and say “Hello!” and let me know how you’re doing. 

I wish you all the best for a rewarding and inspiring year at William Paterson University!


Richard J. Helldobler, PhD