Presidential Search Committee Profiles


Board of Trustees

Michael B. Kennedy '72, '75
Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees
and Chair of the Presidential Search Committee

Mr. Michael Kennedy is a former partner and PFS National Practice Leader of PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He retired in 2009 with 34 years of professional service. He is an undergraduate and graduate business and accounting adjunct instructor at Rider and for many years, served as a part-time instructor for the Graduate Tax Program at Villanova University Law School. Mr. Kennedy began his tenure on the Rider University Board of Trustees in 1999. Since that time, he has served as Chair of the Business Affairs and Audit Committees and as a member of the Executive Committee. His term as Vice Chair of the Board runs through fiscal year 2014 and he will begin his term as Chair of the Board in fiscal year 2015. Outside of Rider, Mr. Kennedy is a member of the Finance Committee of the Union League of Philadelphia. Presently, he serves as the Treasurer of the Ernest L. Ransome III Scholarship Trust and on the Grant Committee, Governance Committee, and as Chair of the Scholarship Committee as a Board member of the Genuardi Family Foundation. Mr. Kennedy earned his Bachelor of Science in Economics in 1972 and his Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting in 1975, both from Rider. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and is currently licensed in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Gary Shapiro '72
Chair of the Board of Trustees

Mr. Gary Shapiro is Partner of Tropico Management, LP, a private equity and management company which, with its predecessor companies, has invested in more than 30 businesses over a 28-year period. He was a member of the Board from 1999 to 2008 and rejoined the Board in 2009 and presently serves as Board Chair. In addition to serving as Board Chair during the last two years of his first tenure, Mr. Shapiro served as Chair of the University Advancement and Senior Compensation Committees and as a member of the Executive, Business Affairs, Human Resources, and Westminster ad hoc Committees. He was instrumental in raising funds for Rider’s new Student Recreation Center and with his wife, Mrs. Stacy Shapiro, led the creation of Westminster’s Circle of Leaders. As Trustee, Mr. Shapiro also made the Annual Fund a top priority, working closely with University Advancement staff to increase contributions by 15 percent and alumni participation by 700 donors. He partnered with fellow Trustee, Mr. William Rue, in establishing the Trustee Challenge, which led to a 100 percent increase in Trustee contributions to the Annual Fund since FY2006. Mr. Shapiro received the Life Achievement Award in 1998 from the College of Business Administration. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Commerce from Rider in 1972.

F. Christopher Carothers '91, '94

Mr. F. Christopher Carothers is President and CEO of FCC Consulting Services LLC, a computer consulting firm in Trenton, New Jersey. He was a member of the Board from 2001 to 2010 and returned to serve another term in 2012. During his tenure, he has served as Chair of the Student Affairs Committee, and as a member of the Executive, Business Affairs and Academic Affairs Committees. In addition to the above, he was a member of the previous Presidential Search Committee, the Men’s and Women’s Head Coach Search Committees as well as the NCAA Certification Committee. He graduated from Rider in 1991 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and in 1994 with a Master of Business Administration. Mr. Carothers has also served as a member of the Rider Alumni Volunteers for Enrollment, the Mercer County Executive Economic Transition Team and the New Jersey Commerce Trade Mission to South Africa.

Molly O’Neil Frank

Ms. Molly O’Neil Frank is the great granddaughter of Katharine Houk Talbott, Westminster Choir College’s first benefactor.  She joined the Rider University Board of Trustees in 2011 and is on its executive committee. Ms. O’Neil Frank currently is in her second year at Union Theological Seminary where she is pursuing a Masters in Divinity. In addition, she serves on the boards of The JED Foundation (dedicated to the emotional health of college students), Lighthouse Works (an artist fellowship program in Suffolk County, NY) and the Keewaydin Foundation (operator of the oldest boys camp in North America) and previously was the President of the board of Signature Theatre Company (an Off-Broadway theatre company in New York) and a trustee of both The Allen-Stevenson School (a boys school) and the Diller-Quaile School of Music in New York City. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English in 1984 from Wesleyan University in Connecticut.


Thomas Mulhare '70

Mr. Thomas Mulhare is the retired Partner-in-Charge of the Financial Services Group and Business Risk Consulting Group at EisnerAmper. He has more than 30 years of professional accounting experience, including being a Senior Partner with Arthur Andersen LLP, where he led both its Northeast Insurance and U.S. Actuarial Practices. In this capacity, he was also responsible for managing 60 consulting actuaries and 200 accountants and consultants in 11 offices nationwide and served as the firm's Director of Insurance Training. He has extensive experience in the property and casualty, life and healthcare insurance arenas, having performed regulatory services, financial examinations, as well as oversight on demutualizations and conversions. He retired from EisnerAmper in January 2012, and has since been providing consulting services and executive training and development to insurance companies. He was a two-time Rider Trustee who served as chair of the University Advancement and Student Affairs committees and chaired the Trustee Committee on the future of Westminster Choir College. He was also co-chair of the Academic and Arts Campaign. Mr. Mulhare graduated from Rider in 1970 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, major in Accounting.

Christopher Nikolich '92

Christopher Nikolich is Head of Research and Investment Design for AllianceBernstein’s Defined Contribution business and has been with the firm since 1994. He is the author of Anti-Depression Advice for Retirees, among other defined contribution-related research. In his current role, Mr. Nikolich also works closely with clients in structuring their customized target-date funds. Prior to his current position, he was a senior investment director within the Defined Contribution business and served as a senior portfolio manager on the Blend Solutions team. During his tenure with the Blend Solutions team, Mr. Nikolich was based in London, working with clients in the UK and Europe. He is a member of Rider’s President’s Council and served as the only non-Trustee on Rider’s Investment subcommittee. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major in Finance from Rider University in 1992 and an Master of Business Administration in finance and international business from New York University.

William Rue '69

Mr. William Rue is the Chairman of Rue Insurance in Hamilton, New Jersey. It serves over 8,500 individuals and 3,000 businesses with multiple lines of coverage in 44 states. Mr. Rue served 18 years as a Rider Trustee, through 2012, and then returned to the Board in 2013. During his tenure, he has served as Vice Chair of the Board, Chair of the Student Affairs and University Advancement committees, and as a member of the Executive Committee. Fundraising was always a top priority for Mr. Rue. He was Chair of the Campaign Cabinet for Rider’s successful first-ever major campaign, Preparing for Success. He also co-chaired the Academic and Arts Campaign along with Mr. Shapiro and was a member of the SRC Campaign Committee. He and his wife have made naming gifts for the SRC and the Academic and Arts Campaign, and in 1997 established The William M. and Joan Rue Endowed Scholarship for business students. In 1996, he established the Rue Challenge which encourages 100% giving by Alumni Board members each year, and he and Mr. Shapiro partnered together to establish the very generous Trustee Challenge which encourages the same among the Board of Trustees. Mr. Rue earned a Bachelor of Science in Commerce from Rider in 1969.

Faculty and Staff

James O'Hara

Mr. James O’Hara has served as Vice President for Enrollment Management of Rider University since 2004. In this role, Mr. O’Hara is responsible for undergraduate, graduate, and non-traditional admissions; financial aid; bursar; and enrollment marketing. Mr. O'Hara has served in leadership roles on University Committees and currently Co-Chairs the Enrollment Management Council with a focus on improving the student experience and retention at Rider. Prior to joining Rider University, Mr. O’Hara was the Director of Enrollment Management at Pace University in New York for six years. He began his admission career at this alma mater, Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY, and later served as the director of the U.S. Admissions office for Franklin College Switzerland.  He also worked as Director of Admission for Berkeley College. Mr. O’Hara holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and International Relations from Marist College and also studied in Salzburg, Austria. 

Steven Lorenzet

Dr. Steven Lorenzet is the Dean of the College of Business Administration at Rider University. In this capacity he provides leadership to a College with five departments offering twelve undergraduate programs, as well as three graduate degrees. There are also five Centers of Excellence that report to him. Previously he was the Dean of the Nathan Weiss Graduate College at Kean University where he was responsible for six departments offering 12 degree programs, including two doctoral programs. There were also an additional 67 graduate programs at Kean, for which Dr. Lorenzet and the Graduate College provided academic leadership and administrative support. His teaching interests are primarily in Human Resource Management and Organizational Behavior and he has remained an active researcher. A sample of journals his work has appeared include Leadership and Organization Development Journal, Human Resource Development Quarterly, and Organizational Research Methods. He has received multiple awards including the Citation of Excellence from Emerald Management Reviews. Dr. Lorenzet has also been an active consultant working with pharmaceutical, legal, military, financial, and academic organizations. He received his Ph.D. in Organizational Studies (Human Resource Management and Organizational Behavior) from the University at Albany, State University of New York.

Pamela Brown

Dr. Pamela Brown is a professor and chair of the Department of Communication and Journalism. She has professional experience in journalism and public relations and teaches writing, reporting, public relations, law and ethics. She also teaches in the Master of Arts in Business Communication program. Her research is on 20th-century journalism history, the African-American press, and the law of cyberspace. Dr. Brown is a former president of the American Journalism Historians Association and has made several presentations at national conferences on the scholarship of teaching and learning.  

Heather Casey

Dr. Heather Casey is currently an Associate Professor of Literacy Education at Rider University in the Department of Teacher Education and Director of the National Writing Project at Rider University. This year, Dr. Casey is serving as co-chair of the International Reading Association’s Adolescent Literacy Task Force. Heather teaches courses in Emergent Literacy, Literacy Learning in the Elementary Grades, Middle School Literacy development, Disciplinary Literacies, and hybrid undergraduate and graduate courses in the area of multimodal teaching and learning. Dr. Casey’s research focuses on adolescent literacy and the use of collaborative learning structures and new literacies to motivate and support adolescent literacy development and engagement. Dr. Casey presents locally and nationally and has published articles and and book chapters on these topics. She is currently co-editing an online series for the International Reading Association e-ssentionals publication titled, Literacy Practices that Adolescents Deserve. The series will launch in 2014. Dr. Casey is a former middle school language arts teacher, a certified Reading Specialist, and earned her Ph.D. from Rutgers University in the area of Literacy education.

David Keenan

Mr. David Keenan has served Rider University for over 18 years. In that 18 years he has worked with many various areas of the institution, including campus life, Greek Life, service learning, multicultural affairs, recreation programs, conference services, student center management, and international student services. Mr. Keenan currently serves as the associate dean of campus life. In addition, he has advised numerous student organizations such as the Student Government Association, the Student Entertainment Council, the Association of Commuter Students, and Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. He was a member of the last Rider University strategic planning committee and is currently a Title IX investigator for Rider University and member of the Rider University Community Standards Board. Mr. Keenan has served on search committees for Rider’s Dean of Students and Provost.

Joel Phillips

Dr. Joel Phillips is Professor of Composition and Music Theory at Westminster Choir College where he has taught since 1985. He is the 2009-2010 recipient of the Rider University Distinguished Teaching Award. Dr. Phillips's compositions have received a number of awards and his choral works are published by G. Schirmer, Inc., Transcontinental Music Publications, GIA, and Mark Foster Music (Shawnee Press). A member of the editorial review board of the Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy, he served for five years as Chief Faculty Consultant for the Advanced Placement Examination in Music Theory. The second edition of his two-volume textbook, The Musician’s Guide to Aural Skills, coauthored by Paul Murphy (SUNY–Fredonia), Elizabeth West Marvin (Eastman School of Music), and Jane Clendinning (Florida State University), is published by W. W. Norton and Company. Also coauthored with Marvin and Clendinning and published with W. W. Norton is Dr. Phillips’s textbook, The Musician’s Guide to Fundamentals, just released in its second edition. Dr. Phillips has been an invited speaker on conferences throughout the United States and in Canada and has appeared on more than 60 presentations and panels. He is a founding member and past president of the Music Theory Society of the Mid-Atlantic and is Editor of the Society for Music Theory’s Newsletter.


Nominations, inquiries and applications, includuing letter of interest and curriculum vitae, should be forwarded, inconfidence, to: Steve Leo, Vice President; Vicki Henderson, Senior Associate; Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates, LP 610.572.4296

Christine Zelenak, Director of the Office of the President and Executive Assistant to the President, will provide staff support to the search process. Individuals interested in contacting the Search Committee directly may do so by emailing