Saturday, Nov 27, 2021
Devoted Rider alumnus, former Trustee dies at 61
Michael J. Hennessy ’82, a devoted Rider alumnus and former Trustee, died on Nov. 21. He was 61.
“We are incredibly saddened by Mike's untimely passing,” said Rider President Gregory G. Dell’Omo, Ph.D. “Mike was a passionate member of the Rider community, continuously giving back to his alma mater and supporting our students’ growth in countless ways. Our hearts are with the entire Hennessy family during this difficult time.”
Hennessy, who earned a bachelor’s in political science from Rider, was the founder and chairman of the largest privately held independent, full-service medical media company in North America, MJH Life Sciences. He served as a Rider Trustee for nine years, completing his third three-year term in 2017.
Hennessy was a passionate alumnus and consistent champion of Rider, supporting the Annual Fund and the Rider Arena Project and establishing the Hennessy Fund for the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics. In recognition of his long-standing interest in the success of Rider and its students, the University awarded him with the Gordon E. Prichard Award for Volunteer Service in 2017.
In dedication to his late wife Patrice “Patti” Shelmet Hennessy ’82, Hennessy provided the largest gift Rider has ever received for the sciences in 2020. His $4 million leadership gift is currently funding the expansion of the Science and Technology Center, which will be renamed the Mike and Patti Hennessy Science and Technology Center once the project is complete in 2022.
“Mike’s contribution in support of the Science and Technology Center was his way of honoring his late wife; they met at Rider,” Dell’Omo said. “Myself along with many members of the Rider community were looking forward to working with Mike to plan the dedication of the building and celebrate the Henessys this spring. We will still find a way to honor Mike and Patti’s remarkable gift.”
Hennessy is survived by his children, Shannon Hennessy Pulaski, Ashley Hennessy Talamo ’08, Michael Hennessy Jr. and Christopher Hennessy ’11, and his grandchildren.
Visitation will be on Monday, Nov. 29, 2021, from 4 to 8 p.m. at the M. David DeMarco Funeral Home, Inc., 205 Rhode Hall Rd., Monroe Township, NJ 08831. A funeral liturgy will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021, at St. Anthony of Padua RC Church, 51 Franklin St., Hightstown, NJ 08520.
A complete obituary can be found here.