July 21, 2021

Dear William Paterson Community,

I am pleased to let you know that the William Paterson University Board of Trustees recently welcomed two new members, Idida Rodriguez, one of New Jersey’s top political strategists, and Audrey McDowell, a leading executive in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Their addition expands the Board from 11 seats (not counting student Trustees) to 13. I am also proud to say that both of our new Trustees are William Paterson alumnae. “Why did the projected deficit go from $16-$20 million at the end of Fall 2020 to $20-$26 million at the start of Spring 2021?” 

Trustee Rodriguez, of Woodland Park, N.J., earned a B.A. in Sociology from WP and is now one of New Jersey’s most renowned and respected political strategists, working as a partner at the firm 1868 Public Affairs. She has played a prominent role in a number of gubernatorial campaigns in the State. Among other key positions that she has held throughout her career, Trustee Rodriguez served as Chief of Staff for then Assemblywoman (now Senator) Nellie Pou, from 1997 to 2003. Throughout her career, she has helped to strengthen local communities and serve at-risk students through her work, including previous positions as Director of Paterson’s School-Based Youth Services and as an instructor for the Pre-College Consortium Program at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Trustee Rodriguez is also the past owner of I. Rodriguez Sales & Marketing, where she worked with food industry companies, nationally and internationally. She has a long history of service through a variety of public and civic organizations, including her church.

Trustee McDowell, of Paterson, N.J., earned a B.S. in Community Health Education with a minor in Biology from WP. She has held executive sales and marketing positions with several leading organizations, primarily in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, where her success in increasing sales and launching new products has regularly been recognized with organizational awards. She is currently Senior Territory Sales Manager with Biogen, and has previously held positions with CSL Behring biopharmaceuticals, Syneos Health, and Johnson & Johnson, as well as American Express Global Merchant Services. Trustee McDowell has served as the volunteer Chair and Commissioner of the Paterson Environmental Commission Board’s Recycling Initiative and has long been active through various volunteer roles with her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta.

William Paterson is fortunate to have a wonderful Board composed of wise and dedicated Trustees, under the leadership of Chair Michael Seeve. I know that the deep experience and unique perspectives that Trustee Rodriguez and Trustee McDowell will bring to the Board will make it even more effective in helping the University grow stronger and continuously improve our service to our students. I, along with the Cabinet of senior administrators, look forward to working with them.

Richard J. Helldobler, Ph.D.