The CDLS Leadership Legacy Award applications for the 2016 academic year will be available in January 2016.

Applications are due by March 2016.

Submit a Recommendation Letter

General Information
Coordinated by Rider University’s Center for the Development of Leadership Skills, the CDLS Leadership Legacy Award will be presented to one graduating Rider University student at the annual Awards Banquet at the end of each academic year.

This prestigious recognition, comprised of a plaque and a $300 award, is presented to a Rider senior who has demonstrated excellence in leadership through service to others while at Rider University.  The recipient of this award will demonstrate that they have:

  • Worked toward promoting positive change on behalf of others and society

  • Created a leadership culture within their organization(s) that focuses on providing service to others

  • Valued team leadership and inclusiveness above individual leadership

  • Led their organization(s) members with a “long term view” by mentoring and preparing future leaders

  • Made significant leadership contributions to their organization(s) and to the Rider community that will continue beyond their time at Rider (e.g., programming, events)

  • Led in their leadership position with integrity and the respect of their organization(s) membership and the Rider community

Additionally, candidates will show that they have provided true leadership and service to the University by demonstrating they have worked toward: 

  • Ensuring that whoever comes into contact with Rider has a positive experience. 

  • Developing a culture where everyone feels appreciated, involved, supported and challenged to their best. 

  • Leaving an improved Rider University to the next generation of leaders.

Additional Criteria

  1. Candidates must be a senior graduating either the Spring semester the award is received or as of the August or December graduation date immediately after the award is received.

  2. Candidates need not demonstrate a breadth of involvement and contributions.  Rather, the candidate must demonstrate that their leadership has been focused on service to others and has made a significant and lasting impact in positively changing the Rider/community culture, whether it be through one or multiple organizations at Rider.   Examples of involvement include, volunteer student representation, committee involvement, academic organization leadership, student organization leadership, community service participation, residence hall leadership, or athletic leadership and participation.  

  3. Candidates must be in good academic standing with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 at the time of consideration.

  4. Candidates must not have been on any form of academic probation or have been found responsible for being in violation of any University policy during the past academic year.

  5. Candidates are eligible to receive this award only once.

Evaluation Process
Application packets are reviewed by the members of the CDLS Advisory Board.  When evaluating applicants for an award, the selection committee looks for the extent to which applicants have demonstrated the above mentioned criteria. CDLS Advisory Board decisions are final and are kept confidential until the awards ceremony.

Interview Round of the Selection Process
From the students who have best demonstrated their fulfillment of the award criteria through their application, the top candidates for the award will be chosen to participate in a 30 minute interview with the selection committee in March 2016.  Based upon the interview and the overall application, an award recipient will be determined.

All candidates will be notified of their application status during the first week in March 2016.  

2015 Leadership Legacy Award Winner

Congratulations to Ms. Jessica Bohnenberger, the recipient of the 2015 CDLS Leadership Legacy Award.  During her time at Rider, Jessica served in a variety of campus organizations, including the Leadership Development Program and Alpha Psi Omega.  Jessica was motivated to develop her skills and utilize her strengths to leave a legacy at Rider.  As the Fine and Performing Arts Property Liaison, she collaborated with others to sort through and condense to one location the properties inventory from various places both on and off campus.  Her commitment to this year long project has and will continue to positively impact the lives of those who utilize props for their productions.  Additionally, as the Alpha Psi Omega treasurer, she created organized systems for maintaining the organizations budget and fundraising efforts.  For both of these notable efforts, Jessica worked with others and assured her successors were trained on how to maintain the changes that were implemented.  Jessica plans on continuing to serve others through her leadership.  She stated, “Rider has taught me more than I can ever repay it for and I attend to use all of what I have learned in each of my endeavors after I graduate."

Previous Winners

  • 2014: Lorelei Colbert
  • 2013: Louis Chebetar
  • 2012: Brian Williams
  • 2011: Michael Zilly
  • 2010: Heather Fischler


If you have any questions about the application process or the information sessions, please e-mail us at We look forward to receiving your application packets.

When completing the online application, please note that the application cannot be saved and completed at a later time. As a result, ensure that you have enough time and all required information to complete the application before beginning the process.