Dr. Marshall Onofrio appointed dean of Westminster College of the Arts

Onofrio brings with him experience as a professional musician, teacher and administrator

Rider University announced today the appointment of Dr. Marshall Onofrio as dean of its Westminster College of the Arts (WCA). Onofrio has been serving as the associate dean for Administration at WCA since 2009 and associate dean of Westminster Choir College since 2006.

Having worked in higher education for 35 years, Onofrio brings with him experience as a professional musician, teacher and administrator.

“Marshall is a collaborative and proven leader who has provided valuable guidance and direction to the Westminster College of the Arts for many years," said Dr. DonnaJean Fredeen, provost and vice president of Academic Affairs at Rider. "This, combined with his deep passion and enthusiasm for mentoring students, assures me that he is the right person to lead Rider’s WCA.”

Prior to joining Rider, Onofrio was a professor of music and chairman of the Department of Music at Marshall University from 1998-2006. He previously taught and/or served as an administrator at Plattsburgh State University of New York, Ohio State University, Muskingum University and Midland University.

Onofrio's compositions and arrangements have been heard in several Midwestern and Northeastern states and in Canada. He has appeared as an evaluator, consultant, clinician, guest artist, conductor and composer-in-residence in 17 states, Canada and seven European countries. As a conductor and performer, he has worked with such internationally known figures as Frank Sinatra Jr., Gene Bertoncini, Joanne Brackeen, Randy Brecker, Ian Hobson and Gunther Schuller. As a conductor, he has led orchestral, jazz and brass ensembles and conducted musical theatre and mixed-media performances. As a professional trumpeter, he performed as a recitalist and in orchestras, jazz ensembles and brass quintets for almost 40 years.

Additionally, Onofrio is an external evaluator for collegiate music programs for the National Association of Schools of Music, and in that capacity has visited several institutions. Since 2013, at the NASM annual meeting, he presents a workshop on “Leading and Managing from the Middle” to new music executives.

Rider’s Westminster College of the Arts is comprised of the School of Fine and Performing Arts, Westminster Choir College, Westminster Conservatory and Westminster Office of Continuing Education.

“I am excited and humbled to be chosen as dean of Rider’s Westminster College of the Arts, a community of extraordinarily talented students, dedicated faculty and committed staff who make up our vibrant learning and performing environment," Onofrio said. "I look forward to this new role, and to continuing to help move Rider University forward during a time of change and challenge.”

Onofrio recently received the Frank N. Elliott for Distinguished Administrative Service in recognition of his contributions to the University. In selecting him for the award, the committee noted his dedication to the entire University, including his work in creating and developing the College of the Arts and his efforts to integrate the students, faculty and programs of Rider’s two campuses.

In October, Onofrio presented a poster session on Duke Ellington at the College Music Society (CMS) national conference. In early March, his Conversations for clarinet, alto saxophone and percussion was performed on a composers concert at the CMS Northeast Conference in Plattsburgh, N.Y. Conversations was commissioned by the Midwest-based ensemble Triptych and is included on their debut CD, released in June 2016. Also in March, Onofrio presented a paper on “Teaching the Songs and Suites of Duke Ellington” at the CMS Mid-Atlantic Conference in Towson, Md.

In January, Onofrio and Dr. Nathan Hurwitz led the annual Arts Abroad program with 25 students. They visited Vienna, Budapest and Prague, spending 12 days visiting museums, churches and local marketplaces, while also attending concerts and marionette shows. “A highlight was watching students who have never seen an opera or a piano recital or an original Klimt painting react,” Onofrio said. “There were so many responses — wonderful to see.”

About his appointment, Fredeen added, “I am excited to work with Marshall and am confident that his devotion to the arts and professional achievements will serve the entire University well as he assumes the deanship.”