University Dedicates Martini Family Electronic Resource Center on Campus in Recognition of Gift from Nicholas Martini Foundation


Present for the ribbon-cutting were (left to right) Dr. Kenneth Cheng, son of David and Lorraine Cheng, after whom the Cheng Library is named; President Richard J. Helldobler; Pamela Ferguson, vice president for institutional advancement and president of the William Paterson University Foundation; Gail Hansen, trustee of the Nicholas Martini Foundation; Bill Duffy, member of the Foundation Board and head of reference, Cheng Library; Nancy Weiner, assistant director, access and information services, Cheng Library; the Hon. William J. Martini, United States District Judge for the District of New Jersey and president, Nicholas Martini Foundation; Marissa Martini-Cyprys, daughter of Judge Martini; Edward Owusu-Ansah, dean, Cheng Library; William J. Martini Jr., son of Judge Martini; David Williams, digital initiatives and special collections librarian, Cheng Library; Michael Allen Seeve, chair, William Paterson University Board of Trustees; Brad Neilley '80, member, Board of Trustees; Lauren Locker ’79, vice chair, Foundation Board, and Anne Ciliberti, dean emeritus, Cheng Library

William Paterson University held a ribbon-cutting and naming ceremony on February 7, 2023 for the Martini Family Electronic Resource Center in the David and Lorraine Cheng Library on campus, in recognition of a generous gift from the Nicholas Martini Foundation.

Located on the main floor of the Cheng Library, the Martini Family Electronic Resource Center serves as a hub for the University community in the center of the campus, providing students with spaces for studying, research, and collaboration, and is the most used electronic lab space at the University.  

“The Cheng Library and the Martini Family Electronic Resource Center lie at what is the unified academic heart of our campus, where students of all majors and years from all our colleges come throughout the day and night to study and collaborate with classmates, as well as to receive guidance and learn research skills from the excellent Cheng Library faculty and staff,” said President Richard J. Helldobler. “On behalf of the entire campus community, I want to thank the Nicholas Martini Foundation, the Martini family, and all the trustees of the foundation for their generous and meaningful support of William Paterson and our students.”

“We are thrilled to see how the center has developed,” said the Hon. William J. Martini, a United States District Judge for the District of New Jersey and president of the Nicholas Martini Foundation, which was established in 1986 by his uncle, Nicholas Martini. Noting that his uncle “was focused on young people and their opportunities to advance themselves and grow,” he said he and his family were delighted to support the center. “It’s on the cutting edge,” he added. “Twenty years ago, when I became a judge, we used books. Today, the resources are electronic. This is the future, and students need to have access and gain skills in using them.”

The donation provided funds for a renovation and expansion of the Center, which features 24 Windows and 12 Mac desktop computers with access to numerous computer programs, along with a variety of seating areas designed for individual and group work. The donation includes an endowed fund to support ongoing electronic upgrades.

The Martini Foundation has been connected to William Paterson for nearly three decades.  In 1993, the foundation gave the University a very generous grant to fund the state-of-the-art Martini Teleconference Center in Hamilton Hall, enabling William Paterson to originate live, interactive television programs via satellite; at the time, the University was the only noncommercial facility in New Jersey with that capacity. Today known as the Martini Broadcast Studio, the 88-seat facility provides state-of-the-art video conferencing and live broadcasting capability for the University and serves as a hub for significant online and broadcast events.

The Nicholas Martini Foundation is dedicated to supporting programs primarily in the fields of youth and education, public health and welfare, community development, and arts and humanities. The Foundation focuses on giving locally in New Jersey, New York, and Washington, DC, as well as in a few international locations. 

Its founder, Nicholas Martini, was a successful attorney and office holder in Passaic County. He served as mayor of the city of Passaic, a five-term city commissioner for Passaic, and a Passaic County freeholder. Upon his death in 1991, the bulk of his estate was given to the foundation, which is headed by his nephew, the Hon. William Martini, president of the foundation, a U.S. District Judge for the District of New Jersey, and a former Congressman representing New Jersey’s Eighth District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Nicholas Martini Collection was gifted to the University in 2004 and is housed in the Archives and Special Collections in the Cheng Library.  The collection includes Nicholas Martini’s personal papers and extensive newspaper clippings that document his campaigns for office and present a political history of Passaic from the 1930s through the 1950s. Numerous photos and other personal papers provide information about the Martini family, his business ventures, and involvement in community activities. Selections from the collection, as well as items personal items donated by the Hon. William Martini, are on view in display cases in the Martini Family Electronic Resource Center.