Medalist: Bristol-Myers Squibb
Good morning. My name is Mordechai Rozanski, president of Rider University.
For those of you unfamiliar with Rider, let me do a little history. Rider was founded in 1865, in Trenton, New Jersey, as Trenton Business College to serve returning veterans from the Civil War. The College’s first class enrolled 50 students, most of whom were veterans. We enrolled our first women students in 1866. By the way, tuition was $60 for the year and as a special deal $75 for two years. Today, the total sticker price, before scholarships or financial aid, is $52,000 including room and board.
Today, Rider University has two campuses, in Lawrenceville and Princeton, where our Westminster Choir College is located. We are a comprehensive, private university of approximately 5,400 students with programs in business, education, the liberal arts and sciences, music and the fine and performing arts.
This year, we are celebrating our 150th Anniversary, our so-called sesquicentennial. In honor of this anniversary, the University established a new Medal of Excellence. This medal recognizes members of the Rider family and those in our broader community whose exemplary achievements have brought honor to the University. Throughout the year, we are honoring 32 highly deserving individuals and organizations for their significant contributions and service to Rider, as well as for going above and beyond in helping to advance the University and our students, alumni and community. We are proud to be here today to honor Bristol-Myers Squibb for its many contributions to Rider and to present it our Medal of Excellence.
Let me elaborate. For more than 40 years, Rider has had an enriching corporate partnership with Bristol-Myers Squibb that began with a $1,500 grant in support of a pre-college science-training program for students in 1973. Since then, our relationship has flourished based on our common mission of preparing the next generation of professional scientists.
Over the last four decades, numerous employees of Bristol-Myers and its successor, Bristol-Myers Squibb, have served as mentors and advisors to our students and faculty. And in a special case, Lee Hastings Bristol Jr. the grandson of the founder of Bristol-Myers, was the third president of Westminster Choir College from 1962 to 1969.
Overall, the people of Bristol-Myers Squibb have helped pave the way for our graduating students to enter and thrive within the workforce of the future. While that volunteerism and support has been tremendous, the generosity of the company has had an even greater impact.
As a leading BioPharma company, Bristol-Myers Squibb has demonstrated a commitment to making the study of science and technology exciting for students of all ages. Beginning with that small grant in 1973, the total support from Bristol-Myers Squibb for Rider initiatives has totaled some $2.3 million, the most visible example of which is the Bristol-Myers Squibb Center for Science Teaching and Learning at Rider University.
Now in its 12th year, the Center has hosted professional development experiences for nearly 1,000 K-12 teachers of science and mathematics, with the goal of helping teachers find new ways to build excitement for and an understanding of science and mathematics.
In addition, thanks to Bristol-Meyers Squibb, the Rider Science Education and Literacy Center provides teachers with opportunities to improve their instruction by advancing their knowledge and by helping them make content connections across grade levels. This important work is driven by our collective goal of fostering students’ interest in science and supporting them in their pursuit of careers in the STEM disciplines.
With New Jersey State’s recent adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards, the need for professional development for science teachers has grown exponentially. And Bristol-Myers Squibb has been at our side in helping us prepare teachers in 27 school districts as they adapt instruction, assessment and curriculum to be in alignment with the Next Generation Standards.
Bristol-Myers Squibb has also advanced numerous STEM-related initiatives at Rider, including the summer STEM Teacher Academy, where high school students who are interested in becoming teachers of science, mathematics or technology engage in hands-on, inquiry-based learning activities related to biology and ecology. Bristol-Myers Squibb has also contributed to Project SEED, an initiative co-sponsored by Rider and the American Chemical Society that provides disadvantaged urban teenagers who have a passion for chemistry with an opportunity to serve as research assistants for projects in Rider's labs.
Let me conclude by stating that Bristol-Myers Squibb has provided Rider the intellectual and financial resources that have allowed us to prepare students of all ages to engage the great scientific challenges of the future, and for those reasons, Rider University proudly bestows upon the company this Sesquicentennial Medal of Excellence.
-President Mordechai Rozanski