During a recent visit to campus, Paul Huegel ’83 was blown away by how much Montclair State has grown since he attended. “The physical growth of the campus has been extraordinary!” he said after he saw some of the newer buildings, diner, and parking decks.
Huegel, who majored in English, recently sat on a panel at the English Career Night, an event where successful English alumni discuss their careers with current students pursuing the degree. “As the first person in my family to graduate college, I think its important to give back to Montclair State through donations of time and talent, as well as financial support that provides many of today's students the opportunity to attend the University,” he said, noting that a large percentage of the students at English Career Night were also the first in their families to attend college.
Huegel’s career started in journalism. While he was a student, he worked on the Montclarion while improving his writing skills in journalism courses. He recalls those courses, as well at the professors who taught them, as having a lasting impact on him. “From the full professors to the adjunct professors who were active journalists, the writing faculty was outstanding and directly contributed to landing my first job as a journalist.”
But writing wasn’t the only skill Huegel honed while completing his undergraduate career. “Michael Grieco was an outstanding teacher and mentor. Taught life lessons not just "academic" lessons,” he said, recalling his favorite professor. He also played on the soccer team, where he developed political and managerial skills that he would employ later in his career.
He’s held leadership positions at Princeton University, Fairleigh Dickinson University, and The State University of New York at Binghamton. He’s also been involved with his other alma mater, Seton Hall University, as the Executive Director of its Pirate Blue Athletic Fund. Huegel earned his Master’s degree in Corporate and Organizational Communication there after completing his Bachelor’s at Montclair State.
Later, he held positions as President of Cathedral Healthcare Fund in Newark and President and Chief Executive Officer of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of New Jersey. He also serves as a board member for Holiday Express and Caucus Educational Corporation.
Now as President of the Somerset Medical Center Foundation, Huegel looks back fondly on his time at Montclair State as the first step in his successful professional journey. “The "college" that I attended certainly has grown into a major "university" with academic offerings and student resources that didn't exist when I attended. You can even find a place to park thanks to the parking deck.”