Joseph J. Plumeri, Rochelle R. Hendricks and Joseph Flummerfelt will be honored
04/20/2017
Rider University will bestow honorary degrees on two noteworthy recipients at Commencement exercises at the Sun National Bank Center in Trenton, N.J., on Friday, May 12, 2017. 

Joseph J. Plumeri and Rochelle R. Hendricks will each receive an honorary doctorate of laws, awarded to individuals in government, public service, business or industry for service to the state, learning or humanity. Plumeri will deliver remarks at the undergraduate ceremony and Hendricks at the graduate and College of Continuing Studies ceremony. 
 
In addition, acclaimed conductor Joseph Flummerfelt will speak at the Westminster Choir College Commencement on Saturday, May 13, 2017, at the Princeton University Chapel.

Joseph J. Plumeri
Honorary Doctor of Laws recipient, Undergraduate Commencement speaker
Sun National Bank Center, Trenton, N.J.
Friday, May 12, 2017, 11:30 a.m.

Joe Plumeri has enjoyed a career spanning six decades in global commerce, community leadership and service on behalf of large, publicly held companies, small and medium-sized businesses, and civic and philanthropic causes. Known in the business world as a turnaround specialist, Plumeri has worked at the center of five major corporate transformations: Shearson-Lehman, Citigroup, Primerica, Willis, and First Data.

Today, beyond his work as a private investor and philanthropist, Plumeri is vice chairman of the Board of Directors of First Data Corporation, the world’ largest payments and business solutions company. He joined the company in 2013 after serving for 13 years as Chairman & CEO of Willis Group Holdings and, prior to that, more than 30 years in a variety of leadership roles at Citigroup and its predecessor companies. In addition to his role at First Data, Plumeri serves as a senior advisor to Kohlberg, Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P..

Plumeri’s generous philanthropy over the decades has drawn many accolades. Among many projects and initiatives, he has supported the construction of the “Samuel & Josephine Plumeri Wishing Place,”  the headquarters of the New Jersey Chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation; the Joe Plumeri Center for Social Justice and Economic Opportunity at New York Law School; and the Plumeri Awards for Faculty Excellence at The College of William & Mary, his alma mater.

A native of Trenton, N.J., Plumeri has always stayed true to his roots, regularly serving on boards and contributing to organizations in the state. He is an owner of the Trenton Thunder, the AA-affiliate of the New York Yankees, and the Lakewood Blue Claws, the A-affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. He supported the efforts of father, Samuel Plumeri, a one-time Trenton City commissioner and longtime community leader in Mercer County, in bringing a team back to his native Trenton and building a new stadium. Now known as Arm & Hammer Park, the stadium was completed in 1994 and originally named the Samuel J. Plumeri, Sr. Field. Its arrival helped revitalize the waterfront area of Trenton.  

Plumeri’s Trenton roots extend to Rider University. His mother, Josephine Vacarro Plumeri '34, who earned a degree in secretarial science from Rider while it was still in the state capital, began her career at the Trenton Board of Education. After she married her longtime love, she became her husband's partner in their real estate business. Plumeri's brother Samuel J. Plumeri Jr. ’77 — another Plumeri Rider graduate — has worked for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey since 2004 as a Port Authority superintendent of police and director of public safety. Brother Paul Plumeri is a blues musician (he was inducted in the national Blues Hall of Fame in 2013) who also worked as a housing inspector for the city of Trenton. 

In 2015, Plumeri published his first book, a national bestseller called The Power of Being Yourself. In 2011, Plumeri’s commencement address at William and Mary was hailed by The New York Times as “one of the best speeches of the year,” and National Public Radio cataloged the speech as one of the 300 “Best Commencement Speeches, ever.” 

Rochelle R. Hendricks
Honorary Doctor of Laws recipient, Graduate and College of Continuing Studies Commencement speaker
Sun National Bank Center, Trenton, N.J.
Friday, May 12, 2017, 4 p.m.
 
Rochelle R. Hendricks was named the first secretary of higher education for the state of New Jersey in May 2011. As secretary, she is responsible for policy and program development to enhance the capacity and competitiveness of New Jersey’s higher education institutions. In this role, Hendricks has focused on advancing the blueprint for higher education reform as recommended by the Governor’s Higher Education Task Force. She has implemented the New Jersey Medical and Health Sciences Education Restructuring Act and the Building Our Future Bond Act, building cross-sector state and national partnerships.
 
In March 2013, Lt. Governor Guadagno named Hendricks as the newest member of the New Jersey Partnership for Action. She is also chair of the Council on Innovation, established to enhance collaboration among academia, business, industry and the state.
 
In 2014, Hendricks was appointed to the State Ethics Commission by Governor Christie, and she was elected vice chair of the Educational Facilities Authority Board.
 
Hendricks is a founding member of the Policy Steering Council for the Center for Higher Education Strategic Information and Governance at Stockton University. She is a member of the Educational Leadership Foundation of New Jersey Board of Trustees and an ex-officio member of the Board of Trustees for the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
 
Before her higher education appointment, Hendricks served the Department of Education in a number of roles including acting commissioner, acting deputy commissioner and assistant commissioner. Prior to joining the Department of Education, she worked for more than 15 years at Princeton University in numerous capacities. She started her career as a teacher at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School.
 
Hendricks is the recipient of numerous academic, leadership and service recognitions from diverse state and national organizations. In 2016, she was awarded an honorary degree by Thomas Edison State University. Hendricks graduated from Temple University, garnering the Emma Jean Johnson Scholarship for “outstanding potential in the field of education,” and Princeton Theological Seminary with the Edler Hawkins Prize for Academic Excellence. She is an alumna of Princeton University’s Graduate Teacher Program and Bryn Mawr University’s Institute for Women in Higher Education.
 
Joseph Flummerfelt
Westminster Choir College Commencement Speaker
Princeton University Chapel, Princeton, N.J.
Saturday, May 13, 2017, 10:30 a.m.
 
For 33 years Joseph Flummerfelt served as artistic director and principal conductor of Westminster Choir College of Rider University — a position from which he retired in 2004.  He began his academic career as director of choral activities at his alma mater, DePauw University, from 1964 to 1968.  He served in the same capacity at Florida State University from 1968 to 1971, when he began his tenure at Westminster.  

Since retiring from Westminster, Flummerfelt has held many visiting professorships and conducted many performances at a number of universities, including Eastman School of Music, University of Texas, New England Conservatory, University of Illinois, Kansas City Conservatory of Music and DePauw University. For 37 years he served as director of choral activities for the Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, S.C., from which he retired in 2013. He was also the maestro del coro for the Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, Italy, for 23 years.
 
Musical America’s 2004 Conductor of the Year, Flummerfelt has been acclaimed for his artistry, which has been heard in many of the world’s concert halls for more than 40 years. He is founder and musical director of the New York Choral Artists. In 2016 he retired from 44 years of choral preparation for the New York Philharmonic.
 
In addition to his Grammy awards and nominations, Flummerfelt’s many honors include Le Prix du President de la Republique from L’Academie du Disque Francais.   He holds honorary doctorates from Westminster Choir College of Rider University, Purdue University, Vincennes University, Ursinus College and DePauw University.  He has received DePauw’s two highest alumni awards, the Old Gold Goblet in 1988 and the DePauw Gold Medal in 2005.