Alumna of 1944 secretarial science program donates $750k to Rider

The estate gifts of Lois Newkirk DeConca '44 will aid immediate University priorities
Adam Grybowski

The Estate of Lois Newkirk DeConca '44, who was a longtime and faithful supporter of her alma mater, committed planned gifts amounting to $750,000 to Rider University. The unrestricted gifts can be used immediately to aid University priorities such as student scholarships and facility improvements.

DeConca received a diploma for completing Rider's program in secretarial science in 1944 when the institution was still based in Trenton. Before passing away in 2017, the Freehold, N.J., resident enjoyed a long career as an executive secretary at Exxon Corporation in New York City for 30 years. She retired in 1975.

Thoughtful, savvy, professional and forward-looking, DeConca made Rider a priority in her charitable giving because she recognized it helped give her the tools to succeed, according to those who knew her.

"Lois was somebody who really enjoyed her life and kept active until the very end," says David Coates of Turp, Coates, Driggers & White, her longtime estate attorney. "She had a happy marriage and was able to travel to all corners of the earth. I think she felt that Rider had given her a good foundation for a good life."

DeConca was born in Orange, N.J., in 1925. She graduated from Belvidere High School before enrolling at Rider, where she was a member of Zeta Mu Epsilon and the glee club and earned a spot on the Dean's List. After graduating in 1944, she soon found work in New York City in the engineering division of the oil company that later became Exxon. After her retirement, she volunteered at the Princeton Medical Center, the American Red Cross Blood Services and Central Jersey Blood Center for more than 20 years. She was predeceased by her husband, Frank P. DeConca.

During her lifetime, DeConca was a loyal supporter of Rider’s annual fund, which supports student scholarships, study abroad programs, student-faculty research projects, multicultural programming, career services initiatives, campus improvements and much more.

Upon her passing, DeConca's gifts came in the form of a Charitable Remainder Trust and a bequest in her will. Such planned gifts are an effective way for individuals to make a difference that lasts and can ensure students have access to scholarship support. Rider awards more than $86 million annually in scholarships and financial aid, with 99 percent of students receiving Rider-funded scholarships and gift aid.

"As an institution, we are very grateful to benefit from Lois's generosity, which will affect the lives of students as they pursue their goals through a Rider education," says Karin Klim, vice president for University Advancement. "She has ensured a legacy that will truly make a difference at the institution that helped her gain an advantage in her life and career."