Financial Support for Student Scholarships Continues to Climb Thanks to University’s 28th Annual Legacy Award Gala

President Waldron joins Legacy Honorees Jennifer Santiago of

Enterprise Holdings (left) and Linda Bowden, MA '78

Alumna Linda Bowden, MA ’78, New Jersey regional president of PNC Bank, and Enterprise Holdings were honored at the 28th Annual Legacy Award Gala, hosted by the William Paterson University Foundation on April 19. Legacy Awards honor those who exemplify the leadership of our namesake, William Paterson, by demonstrating a strong support for public higher education in the state of New Jersey, and generosity to others through philanthropic leadership. 


The William Paterson University
Foundation Board

The gala, held at The Grove in Cedar Grove, New Jersey, is the Foundation’s largest event to raise funds to support the University’s mission of promoting student success and academic excellence through student scholarships. Since 2013, the gala has raised more than $1 million for student scholarships.

“We are so lucky to have such wonderful and loyal alumni, friends, faculty and corporate partners as our honorees – honorees that continually come back year after year to welcome in the new class of Legacy award recipients,” says Pam Ferguson, president of the William Paterson University Foundation and vice president for institutional advancement.

“Support for the Legacy Award Gala demonstrates William Paterson University’s commitment to raising funds that enable our students to succeed,” says President Kathleen Waldron. “All proceeds directly benefit student scholarships.” 


Legacy Scholar Reem Eldabagh ’18
addresses the crowd

Reem Eldabagh ’18, a double major in chemistry and biology with a minor in French, has received several donor scholarships at WP, most recently the Carol Katharyn Henderson Strobel Endowed Scholarship. At the gala, Eldabagh – who has completed two internships in biological research and presented that research at Harvard Medical School earlier this month – addressed the crowd.

The financial relief for her family that came of her scholarships, Eldabagh says, “has brought me peace of mind, enabling me to devote my thinking to my college career, which has made my success easier and resulted in exceptional accomplishments that my younger self, who only dreamt of completing her college education in America, never imagined were possible.”

Each year, the University provides more than $11 million in scholarship support for students. This year, $1.3 million of that total was provided by generous donors, allowing the institution to bestow more than 600 scholarship awards.


Linda Bowden, MA ‘78 has more than 25 years of experience in the wealth management industry and is the New Jersey regional president of PNC Bank. She has been named among the “25 Women to Watch” by U.S. Banker magazine and was recognized as one of the “Best 50 Women in Business” and “Power 100” by NJBIZ, a leading New Jersey business journal.

Bowden is active in a range of community programs. She serves on the board of the Drumthwacket Foundation, as well as the executive committees of the New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, and Choose New Jersey. She is also a member of the board of trustees of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. Between 2009 to 2016, she served as a member of the William Paterson University Foundation board.

Enterprise Holdings Inc. operates the Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental, and Alamo Rent-A-Car brands through a network of more than 50 independent regional subsidiaries. The company is family-owned and spans beyond 90 countries. Enterprise has been a strong partner of William Paterson University for more than 20 years, currently employing more than 50 of our graduates.


A view of the gala from above

Jennifer Santiago, talent acquisition manager, leads the Enterprise Human Resource team for Enterprise Holdings in northern New Jersey. She has assisted hundreds of William Paterson students with their own professional development via workshops and information sessions on campus over the years. In 2015, Santiago was honored as a corporate leader by Beta Gamma Sigma, an honor society in the University’s Cotsakos College of Business. She has been a member of our Career Development Center’s Advisory Board for eight years, speaking to faculty, staff, and students on job market trends and corporate/collegiate partnership best practices. Working closely with the Cotsakos College of Business, she has served as a judge for the University’s Russ Berrie Institute (RBI) Sales Triathlons, has presented at the Crux of Industry Niche boot camps, and served as an RBI Sales Career Boot Camp coach.