The Heights Officially Opens

On September 14, New Jersey’s newest and largest student residential and dining complex, The Heights, was dedicated amid a shower of confetti and the cheers of assembled dignitaries, guests, and students. New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno joined Montclair State University President Susan A. Cole to cut the ribbon to mark the occasion.

The lieutenant governor commended all those involved with the project and praised the outcome. “I think we did the right thing for the people of New Jersey, and especially for the students and the future of New Jersey,” she said, referring to the legislation passed to make the project possible.

In addition to the lieutenant governor, greetings were offered by State Senator Raymond J. Lesniak, and State Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver. President Cole and student representatives Jared Shababb, president of the Student Government Association and Chelsey Ristaino, community assistant at The Heights, also offered remarks.

“The importance of this project cannot be overstated,” said President Cole. “For more than 100 years, there has been a housing shortage at Montclair State and today, for the very first time in the history of this institution, there is no longer a shortage. We are now able to welcome all students who want a residential experience at Montclair State.”

Completed within 14 months, The Heights is the first public-private partnership construction project to be developed under the New Jersey Economic Stimulus Act. The state-of-the-art residential complex has approximately 568,000 square feet of living quarters, a 24,000-square-foot dining area, and accommodates nearly 2,000 students.

Among the dignitaries and guests in attendance at the ceremony were representatives of the Anthony M. Dinallo family and the John Victor Machuga Foundation, the individuals in whose honor the two primary building complexes, Dinallo Heights and Machuga Heights, are named.

Representatives of the families of a number of the eight distinguished former New Jersey residents for whom the eight residential halls of The Heights are named were also present. John Basilone, Albert Einstein, Nellie Katherine Morrow Parker, Walt Whitman, Clara Barton, Althea Gibson, William Gordon, and Sam Mills are the eight who were chosen for this honor.

View photos from the event at

Read media coverage of The Heights in:
The Star-Ledger

The Montclair Patch
Passaic Valley Today