Statue of Rider University’s namesake unveiled on campus

Andrew J. Rider, instrumental in steering the early institution to success, now has a permanent presence at the University
Adam Grybowski

Andrew Jackson Rider, the namesake of Rider University, will now have a permanent presence on the University’s campus in the form of a bronze statue that bears his likeness.

Installed in front of the Bart Luedeke Center, the statue shows Rider sitting on a bench, with his arm draped atop it, welcoming visitors to take a seat next to him and, perhaps, take a selfie. The statue was designed and manufactured by All Classics and funded by the Student Government Association.

“I believe this statue will help students identify with the history of Rider," says Olivia Barone, the president of the Student Government Association who is majoring in environmental studies. "Andrew J. has been connected to many of our school traditions and now a physical statue will continue to connect Rider students with the history of our namesake.”

Andrew J. Rider was born in Genoa, Mich. He graduated from Michigan’s Howell Seminary in 1861, Hillsdale College in 1864 and the Bryant & Stratton Business College in Chicago in 1865. The following year he began his teaching career at the Bryant, Stratton and Whitney Business College of Newark, N.J.

He first became involved with a forerunner to the University, the Trenton Business College, in 1866, and held various roles within the institution, including teacher, administrator and principal/president. He became the sole owner of the school in April 1880 and helped steer the fledgling business school through a period of significant growth. He initiated typewriting and shorthand programs and oversaw the development of the College into one of the leading business schools in the tristate region. Rider, who retired in 1900, also established the first endowment and scholarship for the College in 1922.

Though the Andrew J. Rider statue has only been on campus for a few weeks, it has already garnered the attention of the campus community and visitors.

"I was so excited to see that during the last Admitted Students Day, a lot of current and prospective students were taking pictures on the bench," Barone says. "I’m hoping graduating students also use the statue to commemorate their time at Rider. The statue is also a great conversation starter as families begin to wonder about Rider’s history."

In addition to his duties operating the College, Rider owned more than 500 acres of cranberry bogs in the 19th century near Hammonton, N.J. He was considered a leading force in the state’s cranberry industry and earned acclaim as the “Cranberry King of New Jersey” when he visited England in an effort to promote the cranberry.

Today, the University’s colors — cranberry and white — pay homage to this history, which is also the source of several University traditions, such as the annual Cranberry Fest held each fall. In 2014, the University earned a Guinness World Record by creating the world’s "Longest Line of Fruits" when faculty, staff, students and alumni strung together 10,036 cranberries in a row on the Campus Mall, well within view of where Rider’s statue is now affixed.