Walter A. Brower '48, Rider historian and dean emeritus, passes away

Brower made an indelible mark on the University as a professor, dean and alumnus

Dean Emeritus Walter A. Brower '48, a chronicler of Rider University history who made an indelible mark on the institution he cherished as a student, professor and dean, passed away on Saturday, Feb. 3. He was 91.

Brower’s association with Rider lasted more than 60 years. He earned a reputation as a historian of the University, the result of two books that told the story of Rider from its founding through 1994. Rider College: The First One Hundred Years grew out of Brower’s doctoral dissertation. Full of Promise: The Story of Rider College 1865 to 1994 was published in 1997. 

The University presented Brower with a Sesquicentennial Medal of Excellence on Sept. 16, 2014. The medals were established on the occasion of Rider’s 150th anniversary to recognize the exemplary achievements of individuals who have brought honor to the University.

“Walt was one of the University’s closest friends, and his compassion, wisdom and dedication to his alma mater benefited Rider for decades,” said President Gregory G. Dell’Omo, Ph.D. “It has often been said that Walt was the epitome of Rider. That legacy will live on through his work and in the fond memories of all who knew him.”

Brower was a member of Rider’s faculty for 45 years and dean of the College of Education and Human Services for 21 of those years. Under his leadership, the College of Education received national accreditation. Among many other positions, he also served as acting vice president for Academic Affairs and Provost and secretary of the Deans' Council. After retirement, he continued as an adjunct professor and for many years was also an influential member of the Rider University Alumni Association Board of Directors.

Brower was the recipient of several awards and distinction. He was honored with the Professional Certificate of Merit for Distinguished Service Award from the faculty of the College of Education, the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Award in 1965 for Distinguished Teaching at Rider University and Rider’s Gordon E. Prichard Award for Volunteer Service in 1995.

After graduating from Rider in 1948 with a bachelor’s in business education, Brower went on to earn a master’s and a doctorate, both in education from Temple University, and become highly respected in the field of education. He was honored with the Distinguished Educator Award from the New Jersey Council of Education, an organization dedicated to enhancing the state’s public schools by bringing together professionals from schools, colleges and government. He was also a past president of the National Business Education Association. 

In 1950, Brower was granted a military leave of absence from Rider's faculty to serve in the United States Air Force for three years during the Korean War, serving in Texas and Tokyo, Japan, and achieving the rank of captain. 

Brower is survived by his wife of 60 years, Shirley Virginia (Musson) Brower; son Douglas W. Brower '85, '90 and his wife, Daphne; daughter Barbara Brower '99 and her partner, Denise Sharpe; grandchildren Kyle Brower, Nicholas Brower, Cameron Brower and Daphne Brianna (Brower) Sipes and her husband, Hunter; sister-in-law Sally Udy and her husband, Ronald; and several nieces and nephews.

Burial will be private. A celebration of Dr. Walter A. Brower’s life will take place on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018, at 11 a.m. at the Presbyterian Church of Lawrenceville, 2688 Main Street (Route 206), Lawrenceville, NJ 08648.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to the Walter A. Brower '48 Memorial Scholarship Fund. Donations may be sent to University Advancement, Library-137, Rider University, 2083 Lawrenceville Road, Lawrenceville, NJ 08648-3099.