Historic Timeline

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Oct 2, 1865: Origins as a private business college
Rider University's origins can be traced back to October 2, 1865, when Henry Bryant, Henry Stratton and William Whitney opened the Trenton Business College as part of the Bryant and Stratton chain of private business education institutions.

1866: Andrew Jackson Rider comes to Trenton
In June 1866, G.A. Gaskell, second principal of the Trenton Business College, resigned and returned to teaching at the Newark institute. Andrew Jackson Rider, also a teacher at the Newark branch, agreed to move to Trenton and become the Trenton Business College’s third principal.

1866: The first women were admitted; the first evening class occurred

1868: Andrew Jackson Rider becomes part owner of Trenton Business College
In February 1868, Andrew J. Rider purchased half-interest in the Trenton Business College, creating the partnership of Beecher and Rider. Joseph Beecher moved to Newark in 1869 with A.J. Rider assuming full control, but not full ownership, of the Trenton Business College. In November 1870, Joseph A. Beecher sold his share of the school to William B. Allen, who shared administrative responsibilities with A.J. Rider. The institute continued under the partnership of Rider & Allen until August 1873, when Rider dissolved the partnership to pursue his growing interest in the cranberry business. Allen retained control of the school, created a Telegraphy department and hired Thomas J. Stewart as teacher and assistant administrator. In 1878 A.J. Rider rejoined the Institute, reviving the firm of Rider & Allen.

1881: Andrew Jackson Rider becomes sole owner of the Trenton Business College
In 1881 William B. Allen retired and A.J. Rider purchased Allen’s interest in the school, becoming its sole proprietor.

1897: Incorporation of the Rider Business College. Andrew Rider becomes first president of the College
Following the move to the Ribsam Building and following continual growth under Andrew J. Rider’s leadership, the Trenton Business College was incorporated under an act of the New Jersey Legislature and named "Rider Business College." Andrew J. Rider assumed the new office of President of the College.

1898: Franklin B. Moore becomes second president
As the demands of Andrew J. Rider’s cranberry-bogs business increased, he searched for a new partner to assist with the College. Franklin Benjamin Moore of the Cedar Rapids Business College joined Rider as the secretary and business manager, and, upon the retirement of A.J. Rider, purchased the president’s interest in the College, becoming the institution’s second president.

1901: Rider Business College Renamed the Rider-Moore and Stewart School
In an effort to integrate the Steward Business College and the Rider Business College, President Franklin B. Moore and Vice President John Edward Gill renamed the college to reflect the significance of the merger.

1913: Curricula Expands to Include Commercial Teacher Education
By 1913, the College had established a school of education and announced the commercial teachers training course, becoming one of the first institutions in the nation to develop a two-year program to specifically meet the need for teachers in this field.

1921: Name changed to Rider College
By 1921, President Franklin B. Moore and Vice President John E. Gill had completed their long-sought goal to build the College its own building, with the school moving to the new site at 428 and 430 E. State Street. At the same time, they amended its incorporation to change the school's name to Rider College. In 1922, the N.J. State Board of Education granted Rider College permission to confer the degrees of Bachelor of Accounts and Bachelor of Commercial Science.

1927: Rider College Granted Permission to Confer Graduate Degrees
The New Jersey State Board of Education granted permission for Rider to confer graduate degrees in Master of Accounts and Master of Commercial Science.

1928: Alumni Association Organized
The Alumni Association is organized with Harold L. Conover ’23 as the first president.

1929: Clair F. Bee introduces intercollegiate athletics
Intercollegiate athletics are introduced by Clair F. Bee, the College’s first director of Athletics and first coach for football, basketball and baseball. Coach Bee, who would later coach the NBA’s Baltimore Bullets and author the famed Chip Hilton novels for boys, named Rider’s athletics teams “The Roughriders.” He served as director of Athletics until 1931. By 1934, the athletic program expanded to include soccer, basketball, wrestling, swimming, track & field and tennis.

1934: Franklin Frazee Moore ’27 named third president
Franklin Frazee Moore ’27 becomes the College’s third president.

1937: Rider becomes a nonprofit
The Board of Governors voted to amend the College’s Certificate of Incorporation to establish itself as a nonprofit institution.

1945: S.S. Rider Victory: World War II ship named after Rider College
Rider was one of just 22 institutions of higher education in the United States honored by having a ship, part of the U.S. Maritime Fleet, named for the College, joining such universities as Cornell, Purdue, Notre Dame and Vanderbilt. The S.S. Rider Victory was a 10,500-ton vessel, christened March 26, 1945, at the California Shipbuilding Yards in Wilmington, Calif.

1947: Fraternity reenacts Washington’s Crossing of the Delaware
On June 23, 1947, the brothers of Phi Sigma Nu Fraternity staged a full-dress reenactment of the Gen. George Washington’s historic 1776 crossing of the Delaware River as part of the fraternity’s new-member initiation. The reenactment was chronicled in the February 17, 1947, issue of Life magazine in a four-page photo spread.

1955: Middle States accreditation granted
Rider College receives full academic accreditation by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. The athletic teams are renamed the “Broncs,” replacing the “Roughriders” moniker.

1956: Plans underway to relocate the campus
The Board of Trustees purchases property in Lawrence Township for the location of a new campus to advance the future of Rider College and meet the needs of the post-war population.

1957: Groundbreaking Ceremony on the Lawrenceville campus
The groundbreaking ceremony is held for the Lawrenceville campus. Programs in liberal arts and secondary education leading to the Bachelor of Arts are inaugurated.

1958: Alumni Gym completed
Construction of Alumni Gymnasium is completed and the building officially opens for student use. Rider hosted Seton Hall in the new building’s men’s basketball debut. The construction of Alumni Gym was the fulfillment of a promise made by President Franklin F. Moore to the Alumni Association nearly 20 years earlier that the structure would be the first one completed once a more suburban campus was secured.

1959: Short Title Theater ’59 is inaugurated
Theater ’59, a program in educational theater, is inaugurated. Theater ’59 began by utilizing the Arts Barn, a converted building that had been a barn on the farm. The barn served the program well and contributed to the launch of the College’s drama program. In 1962, Theater ’59 was selected by the U.S. Department of Defense to be part of an eight-week USO tour for a production of Bye Bye Birdie. By 1967, Theater ’59 had achieved a level of excellence and was invited to perform at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

1959: First graduate program leading to the Master of Arts degree.
The School of Education begins Rider’s first graduate program leading to the Master of Arts.

1962: College reorganization
The College is reorganized into five schools by adding two new schools – Graduate School and Liberal Arts and Science – to the three existing schools, Business, Education and Evening.

1964: Complete relocation of campus
Rider College was completely relocated to the Lawrenceville campus in June 1964, with the move of all classes, administration and facilities.

1965: Highlights of Rider’s centennial year
A highlight of the year was the dedication of the newly constructed library, named in honor of President Franklin F. Moore. Another significant dedication was the dedication of the College Chapel on May 16 in memory of the late Dr. J. Goodner Gill, vice president of the College, who died in 1959.

1966: The Fine Arts Center dedication
The Fine Arts Center, with a theater seating capacity nearing 500, was dedicated.

1968: Master of Business Administration Program Inaugurated
The School of Business Administration inaugurates graduate study, leading to the Master of Business Administration (M.B.A).

1969: Frank N. Elliott named fourth president
After an extensive search, the Board of Trustees appointed Dr. Frank N. Elliott, vice president at Hofstra University, as Rider’s fourth president.

1971: Junior Year Abroad established
During the programs first year, 16 students studied abroad in France, Austria and Spain. 

1973: Rider receives Teacher Education accreditation
The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) grants accreditation to the programs in the School of Education.

1982: Baccalaureate Honors Program created
The Baccalaureate Honors Program was designed to enrich the educational opportunities and permitted the scholars to explore diverse forms of thought.

1984: Holocaust/Genocide Resource Center established
The center was designed to serve as an educational conduit to provide speakers seminars workshops and a variety of programs on the campus as well as serve as a resource center for the community.

1990: Dr. J. Barton Luedeke named fifth president
Upon the retirement of President Frank N. Elliott and an extensive search for his replacement, the Board of Trustees announced that J. Barton Luedeke, the vice president for Academic Affairs and provost at the College since 1983, had been selected to be Rider’s fifth president.

1990: Athletics Hall of Fame established
The Athletics Hall of Fame was established to honor the student-athletes and members of the coaching staffs responsible for Rider’s 60 years of outstanding achievements in athletics.

1992: The merger with Westminster Choir College
After more than six decades of choral excellence, Westminster Choir College had earned a worldwide reputation for maintaining its unique choral emphasis. After a brief period of affiliation, between the institution and Rider, a merger occurred on the Westminster Choir College campus, six miles north of Rider’s Lawrenceville campus, on Route 206. The signing of the merger created Rider’s fifth school: Westminster Choir College, the School of Music of Rider College.

1993: School of Business receives national accreditation
In April 1993, the proud academic reputation of the School of Business was validated when it received accreditation from the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business

April 13, 1994: Rider officially granted university status
Rider College officially assumed university status on April 13, 1994.

1997: College of Business Administration building renamed
In October 1997, the College of Business Administration building, completed in 1988, was named Anne Brossman Sweigart Hall, honoring a graduate of the Class of 1934.

1997: Beloved elm tree is removed
The 86-year-old elm tree that had come to symbolize the Lawrenceville campus was removed in July 2007 after developing Dutch elm disease, an untreatable condition.

2000: AACSB grants specialized accreditation to Accounting
The American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) grants specialized accreditation to the Accounting program in the School of Business Administration.

2000: Yvonne Theater dedicated
In November 2000, through the generosity of John Spitznagel '63, Rider's main theater was renovated and rededicated as The Yvonne Theater in memory of his wife, Yvonne Alexander Spitznagel '64

2001: Rider Institute for New Jersey Politics established
Founded in 2001 by the late Professor David Rebovich (1949-2007), the Institute is a dynamic and creative learning resource where students can network, study and gain practical experience in New Jersey politics. In 2008, Ben Dworkin was named the new director of the Institute for New Jersey Politics, which was renamed the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics that September.

2002: Rider enters education partnership with Sanda University
The College of Business Administration at Rider University and Sanda University in Shanghai, China entered an educational partnership in May 2002 that gave Chinese students enrolled at Sanda University the opportunity to enroll at Rider to complete their undergraduate degrees in global business. Through this partnership, Rider stepped confidently into the realm of international education while helping to educate a new generation of Chinese students to become business leaders schooled in advanced Western business theory and processes.

August 1, 2003: Mordechai Rozanski named Rider’s sixth president
Mordechai Rozanski, president of the University of Guelph, in Ontario, Canada, became Rider University’s sixth president on August 1, 2003. Guided by a comprehensive strategic plan, President Rozanski has undertaken a successful program of institutional renewal that is leading the University to the next level of excellence.

2004: Center for the Development of Leadership Skills established
The Center for the Development of Leadership Skills (CDLS), launched in the fall of 2004, strives to develop the leadership capacities of the Rider community

2005: Student Recreation Center opens
As part of the facilities renewal in the campus-wide strategic plan that charts the University’s future, the 55,000-square-foot, state-of-the art Student Recreation Center is opened and becomes operative on October 20, 2005. New Hall, a newly constructed residence hall, is also opened.

2007: Rider establishes Westminster College of the Arts
Following the 1992 merger with Westminster Choir College, Rider secured Westminster’s world-renowned music programs and provided a catalyst for expanding and developing the University’s focus on the arts. The establishment of the Westminster College of the Arts in 2007 began to successfully integrate Rider’s commitment to the fine and performing arts on its Lawrenceville and Princeton campuses through the Westminster Choir College in Princeton and the School of Fine and Performing Arts in Lawrenceville.

2008: Jason Thompson ’08 selected in first round of NBA Draft
Jason Thompson ’08 was selected 12th overall by the Sacramento Kings in the 2008 National Basketball Association Draft in June. The talented, 6-foot-11 Thompson became the first Rider player to play in the NBA. His selection was televised nationally on ESPN.

2009: LEED-certified West Village residence halls open
When President Mordechai Rozanski joined the American College Presidents Climate Commitment Initiative, he pledged the University’s support in the crusade against climate change. The completion of the West Village residence halls in September 2009 embody that commitment, having been built to comply with the U.S. Green Building Council’s standards for sustainable construction. West Village earned LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certification from the nation’s preeminent program for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings.