Distinguished alumni to receive awards at Reunions 2014

The University will recognize the contributions and careers of outstanding Rider alumni at Reunions 2014 on the Lawrenceville campus on June 7
Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Six distinguished Rider University graduates will be honored at the Alumni Awards Ceremony on Saturday, June 7. The annual ceremony is part of the daylong Reunion 2014 festivities on the Lawrenceville campus. Two alumni will be inducted into the Science Stairway of Fame and four will receive alumni awards that honor philanthropy, generosity leadership and professional excellence.

Wanda Rogers ’79, who will receive the Harold L. Conover Leadership Award, recently became the deputy commissioner of the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Management Service (FMS) bureau, making her the first African-American and just the second woman to hold this position. Since May 2004, Rogers has been a member of the senior executive service. Prior to her recent appointment, Rogers completed a temporary assignment in which she served as the senior policy advisor to the Treasury’s Fiscal Assistant Secretary and as the Treasury’s Implementation Official for the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009. Rogers, who has held a number of executive positions both within the bureau and at the Treasury’s Departmental Offices during her 29-year career with the Department, began her undergraduate experience at Rider as a business education major.  

Rosemarie Albanese ’65 will receive the Gordon E. Prichard ’63 Award for Volunteer Service. She has served as a member of the Rider University Alumni Association Board of Directors and an active member of the Regional Affinity Chapter for many years, helping the University extend its reach and connect with alumni near and far. She has served with distinction in roles that included the congressional district co-chair of the President Reagan's Citizens for America Committee, the vice chairman of the Warren County Republican Party, vice chair of the Republican Task Force of the N.J. Women's Political Caucus, the director of N.J. Conservative Caucus and an active member of the Business and Professional Women's Club among many other prestigious committees and organizations.

Howard Cohen ’71, who earned a master’s degree from Pace University after graduating from Rider, will receive the Distinguished Alumnus Award. Currently the chairman of EisnerAmper, LLP, Cohen has served as the managing partner and CEO of Amper, Politziner & Mattia, LLP, and as the managing partner of the New Jersey office of an international accounting firm. He is also the treasurer and a member of the Executive Committee of the New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the chairman of the Rider University Accounting Department Advisory Council and a member of Rider’s Executive Advisory Council.

Cohen was one of the first Rider alumni inducted into Beta Alpha Psi, a National Honors Fraternity for Financial Information Professionals, and was appointed to serve as a commissioner on the New Jersey-Israel Commission. B’nai Shalom Jewish Center of West Orange recognized him as “man of the year.” He’s also active in Metrowest Jewish Federation both in the Professionals and Country Club Divisions and serves as the Country Club Division Chairman for the Metropolitan New Jersey State of Israel Bonds.

Gregory Lorjuste ’04, who works as The White House's principal deputy director of scheduling, will receive the Outstanding Young Alumnus Award. He graduated from with a degree in elementary education and American studies. At Rider, he was involved with EOP, the Black Student Union, the Student Government Association, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. and Campus Ministry, where he met faculty and staff who became mentors. In addition to his primary education, he also learned how to plan events and manage meetings.

When Barack Obama was elected in 2008, Lorjuste was appointed one of the associate directors of scheduling for the president. He has been promoted twice since then. In his current role, Lorjuste is one of three professionals who plan the day-to-day details and logistics for President Obama’s domestic and international events.  

The inductees to the Science Stairway of Fame are Jennifer Aitken '96, who graduated from Rider with a degree in chemistry, and Robert Menrad '82, who graduated from Rider with a degree in physics and completed a master’s degree in computer science from Johns Hopkins University in 1991. Rider’s science department created the Stairway, which can be found in the University’s Science and Technology Center, to honor individuals who were exemplary students and have achieved significant professional success in their chosen careers following graduation.

Menrad is currently the deputy program manager of the exploration and space communications projects division at NASA. Menrad is an internationally recognized expert in his field as was demonstrated by his appointment to serve as NASA’s chairman on the Jason-3 Standing Review Board. He has also worked on the Hubble Space Telescope, managed systems for several satellite systems and is a published author and textbook editor.

Aitken completed her Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry in 2001 at Michigan State University. and is currently an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Duquesne University. For her work on synthesizing and characterizing many important and novel solid-state materials, she received the prestigious NSF CAREER award in 2007 from the Division of Materials Research. She has authored 44 peer-reviewed publications and has led Pittsburgh’s Project SEED project providing hands-on chemistry research experiences to economically disadvantaged high school students.

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Two alumni will be inducted into the Science Stairway of Fame and four will receive alumni awards.