President Mordechai Rozanski announces plan to retire

Rozanski, the University’s sixth president, has served Rider since Aug. 1, 2003
Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Rider University President Mordechai Rozanski announced on Wednesday his plan to retire, effective July 31, 2015. 

In a letter to the University community, Rozanski said he originally intended to retire at the end of his second five-year-term in 2013, but was persuaded by the Board of Trustees to extend his term by two years to coincide with the University’s 150th anniversary, which takes place in 2015.   

“With that Anniversary now on the horizon, Rider deserves new leadership to work with the Board of Trustees and the University community to shape a new and compelling vision for Rider’s future. In the meantime, I look forward to continuing our work together as we complete the important tasks still remaining and ensure a smooth leadership transition,” Rozanski said. 

He added, “Serving as Rider’s sixth president has been the most fulfilling experience of my academic career. I have been privileged to work with an exceptional community of dedicated Trustees, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni and students. I am profoundly proud of the initiatives we have undertaken and the achievements we have attained together.” 

During his presidency, Rozanski has led a successful program of institutional renewal that advanced Rider to the next level of excellence. The University currently enrolls approximately 5,500 undergraduate and graduate students and employs more than 1,000 faculty and staff. Since 2003, full-time undergraduate enrollment has grown by 8 percent. Additionally, the University’s students come from all over the U.S. and the world, representing 41 states, three U.S. territories and 77 countries. 

Board of Trustees Chairman Gary Shapiro ’72, praised Rozanski’s leadership by stating in a letter to the community, “His decade-long guidance of the University has been superb and characterized by a clear vision, collaborative spirit, creativity and an unwavering commitment to our students’ success.” 

President Rozanski “has guided Rider’s institutional progress and heightened its academic stature by virtually every measure. Mort’s strategic investments in new undergraduate and graduate  academic programs, the establishment of the two-campus Westminster College of the Arts, a substantial expansion of scholarship support for our students, innovative student support and auxiliary programs, extensive facilities improvements across both campuses, and impressive fundraising results have all strengthened Rider’s competitiveness,” stated Shapiro. 

This year, Rider improved eight spots to #18 in U.S. News & World Report’srankings of public and private regional institutions in the North, making Rider the second highest ranked institution in its category in New Jersey. 

Over the past 10 years, Rozanski oversaw the investment of $125 million in facilities improvements to enhance the campus environment for students, faculty and staff.  Significant examples on the Lawrenceville campus include the West Village Residence Hall, the Student Recreation Center, and North Hall, a modern academic building completed in 2011. Construction of the Marion Buckelew Cullen Center is underway on Rider’s Westminster Choir College campus in Princeton. The Cullen Center will be a state-of-the-art rehearsal and classroom facility for student performances and coursework, which will be completed in mid-2014.  Additionally, academic, residential and dining facilities on both campuses were renovated and Lawrenceville athletic facilities upgraded. 

One of the key priorities of Rozanski’s presidency has been to assure that Rider remains affordable for current and prospective students. To that end, student financial aid has doubled during his term to more than $54 million in student scholarships annually. More than 98 percent of undergraduate students now receive some form of financial support from the University. 

Capital and scholarship investments were made possible, in part, by increases in fundraising results during Rozanski’s term.  In the 2013 fiscal year alone, Rider raised more than $14 million in cash through gifts, bequests, and other means of philanthropic support, representing a 78 percent increase from the previous record high. 

Chairman Shapiro stated, “I don’t believe there is anyone affiliated with Rider who hasn’t been impressed by the significant advances made by the University under Mort’s leadership.” 

A broad-based Presidential Search Committee, which will serve in an advisory capacity to the Board of Trustees, is in the process of being formed. It will be chaired by Michael Kennedy ’72, vice chairman of the Board of Trustees. 

“We anticipate the search process will be completed by early January 2015,” Kennedy said. “President Rozanski has worked tirelessly to make Rider University better in every way. We will be seeking a candidate who will build on his successes while laying out a new, shared vision for Rider’s future.”

Upon retirement, Rozanski’s 45-year career in higher education will have included a combined 22 years as president of Rider and the University of Guelph. It also includes leadership roles at Adelphi University, Fairleigh Dickinson University and Wagner College. In 1993 he was selected to be the President of the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, where he served until 2003. He earned his bachelor’s degree in History from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and his Ph.D. in Chinese-American Relations from the University of Pennsylvania.

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“Serving as Rider’s sixth president has been the most fulfilling experience of my academic career," President Rozanski said.