WP Shines in the Sunshine State

Alumni, friends, and emeriti faculty members living in Florida had a chance to connect with William Paterson and one another during two events held this past February.

Virginia Overdorf and Robert Callanan

Virginia Overdorf, professor emeritus of kinesiology, and Robert Callanan, professor emeritus of biology, attended the reception in Sarasota

Gatherings were hosted on the west and east coasts, in the Sarasota and Boca Raton areas, respectively. President Richard J. Helldobler participated in both events and enjoyed sharing the latest University news and updates, celebrating the collective Pioneer Pride and listening to alumni share their WP stories and journeys since graduation.

“With more than 3,400 alumni who either reside in the Sunshine State full-time or spend time there seasonally as ‘snowbirds,’ the WP in Florida Alumni and Friends network remains vibrant and strong,” says Jenna Villani, executive director of alumni relations. “Florida has historically been and continues to be a dedicated and dynamic network of alumni.”

On February 13, WP community members living in the Sarasota area enjoyed a cocktail reception hosted at Grove in Lakewood Ranch. Johanna Torres, MBA ’17, director of student enrollment services, spoke during the event, sharing remarks about the impact of her WP degree and her unique connection to William Paterson, as both a graduate and a staff member.

Alumni and friends at the Sarasota Reception

President Richard J. Helldobler (far left) and alumna Johanna Torres, MBA ’17 (far right) with alumni and friends at the Sarasota reception

“Hosting a William Paterson alumni event in Florida is important, particularly since many of our students have family that live in Florida and our alumni have moved here or maybe are thinking of moving in the future,” Torres said. “It’s great to connect and remain updated on market trends and also learn about areas with potential for growth. With Florida's proximity to Central and South America and the Caribbean, the potential for collaboration and opportunities in various fields like marketing, international business, healthcare, and tourism is fascinating. It's events like these that can truly foster connections and open doors for alumni in their professional and personal endeavors.”

Eamon Duran ’89 with President Helldobler

Eamon Doran ’89 with President Helldobler at the Boca Raton event

Alumni and friends in Boca Raton gathered for a cocktail reception on February 15 at The Farmer’s Table. During the event, Dr. Michael D. Santoro ’73, a member of the Alumni Executive Council, as well as the Hobart Society and Heritage Society, shared remarks about his ongoing connection to William Paterson.

"What a terrific opportunity it was to connect and reconnect with several long-time friends and fellow WP grads along with some of my fellow Skull & Poniard brothers,” said Santoro after the event. “For those not living in Florida, it was a great way to get out of the winter cold, bask in some Florida sunshine and warm weather, and connect with fellow WP alums.”

Collectively, many Florida alumni and friends continued a tradition of supporting the Florida Alumni Endowed Scholarship, which is awarded in perpetuity annually to a student who resides in or has lived in Florida.

Alumni and friends who are interested in learning more about or getting involved in the Florida Alumni and Friends Network, or who would like to make a gift in support of the Florida Alumni Endowed Scholarship, may contact Jenna Villani, executive director of alumni relations, at villanij3@wpunj.edu or at 973.720.2932.

Alumni and friends at the Boca Raton Reception

Alumni and friends at the Boca Raton reception, joined by President Richard J. Helldobler (far left)