Montclair State University announced at a press conference today it will receive a $5 million gift that it will use to become an educational partner in the creation and operation of a museum and learning center at historic Hinchliffe Stadium in Paterson, New Jersey. President Jonathan Koppell announced that Montclair State University alumnus and Paterson native Chuck Muth ’77 and his wife, Laura, are making the transformational gift.
The event was held at Mary Ellen Kramer Park in Paterson, adjacent to historic Hinchliffe Stadium, and featured guests including city and state legislators, elected officials, and officials from the City of Paterson and Paterson Public Schools.
“Chuck Muth personifies what makes Montclair students special: perseverance, grit and a commitment to giving back to the communities that have shaped their lives,” says Koppell. “This gift will allow Montclair to continue building on its efforts to serve the public good in Paterson, where we feel we can partner to create solutions that will deliver lasting change for one of New Jersey’s most vibrant communities.”
“Our ability to become a partner in this initiative would not be possible without an investment from the State of New Jersey to restore Hinchliffe to the essential community asset that so many Patersonians remember,” says Koppell. “We wouldn’t be gathered here for this exciting announcement and be able to make an additional impact without that support.”
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 University students and faculty.
The gift furthers the Muth family’s continued support of Montclair State University. Growing up near Hinchliffe Stadium, Chuck graduated from Montclair in 1977 and has served on the advisory board of the University’s Feliciano School of Business since 2013. The Muths also have an endowed scholarship at Montclair that is named for Chuck’s parents, Charles and Madeline, that supports business students from Paterson.
“My roots in Paterson go back many generations. I grew up and attended schools only blocks from the iconic Hinchliffe Stadium and, like many others, have fond memories of attending events there,” says Muth. “The opportunity to work alongside Montclair State University on the Stadium revitalization project presented a terrific way for me to give back in a meaningful way to the city that played such a pivotal and inspiring role in helping to build my personal foundation and launch a successful career in business.”
Montclair 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.
The city and University are committed to strengthening a relationship-based approach to community development that focuses on building trust and meaningful connection. In addition to benefits for community members, the partnership will provide additional experiential learning opportunities for Montclair students to solve pressing challenges and make a difference.
“Everyone at Paterson Public Schools is looking forward to the revitalized Hinchliffe Stadium and its museum and learning center being enormously valuable educational resources for our students and families as well as all who visit,” says Paterson Superintendent of Schools Eileen F. Shafer. “Montclair State University’s partnership and the generous gift it is receiving will help ensure that the museum and learning center provide dynamic experiences that will help educate generations of visitors about Negro League Baseball and other important aspects of our cultural history.”
“When we set out to bring back Hinchliffe Stadium, we knew it would be a team effort,” says Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh. “We appreciate our partnership with Montclair State University to help make history again.”
“This generous gift on behalf of Montclair State University will go a long way to memorializing the history at Hinchliffe Stadium,” says New Jersey Congressman and Paterson native Bill Pascrell (D-9). “I look forward to the completion of this project and the many others going on at the Great Falls to make it the crown jewel of Paterson.”