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ACE Honors Helldobler with Reginald Wilson Diversity Award

This year’s American Council on Education (ACE) Reginald Wilson Diversity Leadership Award honors Dr. Richard Helldobler, the president of William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey.

Dr. Richard HelldoblerDr. Richard Helldobler“I am honored and humbled to be recognized with this award, named for Reginald Wilson, a true pioneer in supporting diverse student populations,” said Helldobler.

The award is named in honor of the late Reginald Wilson, who was senior scholar emeritus at ACE and founding director of ACE’s Office of Minority Concerns. It is bestowed annually to individuals who have made outstanding contributions with sustained commitments to diversity in higher education.

The 2024 award recipient — a 30-year veteran higher education administrator, a first-generation college graduate, and the son of immigrants — has advocated for traditionally underrepresented college students, including LGBTQ communities, throughout his career and continues to mentor others as an alumnus of the ACE Fellows Program and member of the ACE Council of Fellows.

“I am grateful to ACE, which provides a strong and supportive platform for everyone in American higher education involved in this important and necessary work, and I want to thank all of the great colleagues who I have had the privilege to work with throughout my career, particularly here at William Paterson University,” said Helldobler. “I believe we are advancing ACE’s mission and honoring Dr. Wilson’s legacy by removing barriers to success for the historically underrepresented populations who are changing the social fabric of our state and our nation.”

Helldobler holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Toledo as well as a master’s in speech and theatre and a Ph.D. in theatre from Bowling Green State University.

“Richard Helldobler has been committed to equity and inclusion throughout his career in public higher education,” said ACE President Dr. Ted Mitchell. “He is not only expanding access for students at William Paterson, [but] he is serving as a mentor to the future leaders of higher education and challenging all of us to rethink systems that create barriers for underrepresented populations in higher education and beyond.”

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