William Paterson names new president

William Paterson University announced Thursday it has named a new president, effective July 1.

Dr. Richard J. Helldobler, interim president of Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, has been named the eighth president of the Wayne-based college after a national search. The school’s current president, Dr. Kathleen Waldron, will retire June 30. She has been president since August 2010.

“Dr. Helldobler’s career has been committed to public higher education and to the academic and personal achievements of students,” said Fred Gruel, chair of the William Paterson University board of trustees. “As we learned from his visit with us, he has a strong background as an academician, having served as a faculty member, dean, academic vice president and president, and we are delighted that he will be bringing his expertise and leadership to William Paterson University.

As president of WPU, Helldobler will lead the school’s 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The school currently offers 52 undergraduate and 47 graduate programs, including two doctoral degrees.

“I am truly honored to be joining the William Paterson community as its next president. I look forward to working with the students, faculty, and staff as we continue to strengthen the academic legacy of William Paterson University by educating the next generation of leaders in New Jersey, the region and the nation,” Helldobler said. “My visit to William Paterson certainly proved it is a very special place, and I am sure my admiration for the institution will only deepen as we get to know each other better, and together continue the great work currently taking place at the university.”

Helldobler served as interim president at NIU since July 2016. Before that, he was the provost and vice president for academic affairs. Prior to NIU, he was vice president for academic affairs at Shepherd University in West Virginia from 2009 to 2012, as well as associate provost/associate vice president for academic affairs at California University of Pennsylvania from 2006 to 2009. He joined CUP in 1990, where he was a faculty member and chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance from 1990 to 2000, as well as interim dean and dean of the College of Liberal Arts from 2000 to 2006.