Montclair State University received a five-million-dollar donation to become a partner in the revitalization of the Hinchliffe Stadium in the city of Paterson, NJ.
During a press conference last week, President Jonathan Koppell announced that Montclair State alumnus Chuck Muth, born and raised in Paterson, is making the generous gift.
For Muth, giving back to the city that saw him grow felt like a strong obligation.
“When I left the city, I always felt this obligation to give back in a meaningful way,” Muth said. “And so I would like to see the money go toward educating. I think the outreach program educating students in particular about the history of Paterson, about the history of Hinchliffe Stadium [would] really be the outcome that I would love to see.”
Muth graduated from Montclair State in 1977 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and management. He is currently part of the advisory board of the university’s Feliciano School of Business.
Hinchliffe Stadium opened up during the Great Depression era and it was named after Paterson Mayor John V. Hinchliffe. For various years the stadium was home to the New York Black Yankees and New York Cubans Negro League.
According to the institution’s press release, the goal of the Paterson revitalization efforts is to highlight the history and culture of the stadium.
The museum and learning center will highlight the history of Negro League Baseball and the stadium’s legacy as a cultural touchstone. The Charles J. Muth Museum of Hinchliffe Stadium, as it will be known, will serve as an educational and community hub for the city of Paterson and Montclair State students and faculty.
Muth also explained what the partnership between Montclair State and the city of Paterson symbolizes for him.
“I think with [Koppell’s] vision of what this could be is terrific,” Muth said. “I mean [I’m] a big fan of [Koppell] and very excited to see that he’s adopted by my hometown of Paterson. I think the university is going to play a huge role and the other thing the university brings is a lot of integrity to things that we are doing in Paterson.”
Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh expressed the importance of having President Koppell as part of this project.
“[Koppell] is a visionary and enlightened leader,” Sayegh said. “He sees the big picture and he understands the pivotal role that Paterson plays in this area of North Jersey. So we are encouraged by this collaboration. We are elated that he was able to find a Patersonian who is an alumnus of [the university] who was magnanimous, who was generous enough to donate five million [dollars]. It is quite a gift right before Christmas.”
Montclair State will oversee the educational programming for the museum, which will include the curation and presentation of a wide range of exhibits and programs for diverse audiences. It is envisioned that a variety of educational outreach activities will connect the museum to the diverse communities of Paterson. The facility will also become the on-the-ground home of Montclair and Paterson’s expanding community development initiatives, according to the press release.
The release also explained how this partnership will benefit the university.
“In addition to benefits for community members, the partnership will provide additional experiential learning opportunities for Montclair [State] students and faculty to solve pressing challenges and make a difference,” the release stated.
According to Sayegh, at the moment there is not a specific amount of how much this project will entail, but in the future, fundraising and finding other benefactors will be one of the goals.
The mayor also explained that the project will begin in April of next year and will take around six months to be finalized.
Muth hopes that other people will get inspired by his act of charity.
“I love to encourage others to do the same,” Muth said. “If my donation does anything to help encourage others or inspire others to step up and participate as well, that will be a wonderful outcome.”