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Rider announces 2019 honorary degree recipients, Commencement speakers

Entrepreneur Barry Bierenbaum ’76, Olympic athlete Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian ’07 and Grammy award winner Donald Nally '87 to address Class of 2019
05/07/2019

Entrepreneur Barry Bierenbaum ’76 and two-time Olympic athlete Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian ’07 will be honored at Rider University's Commencement exercises at the CURE Insurance Arena in Trenton, N.J., on Saturday, May 18, 2019.

Bierenbaum will receive an honorary Doctor of Business degree and address the undergraduate class of 2019. Fenlator-Victorian will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree and deliver remarks at the graduate/College of Continuing Studies ceremony.

In addition, Donald Nally '87 will receive an honorary Doctor of Music degree and address the Westminster Choir College class of 2019 at the Commencement ceremony on Friday, May 17, 2019, at the Princeton University Chapel.

Barry Bierenbaum ’76
Honorary Doctor of Business recipient, Undergraduate Commencement speaker
CURE Insurance Arena, Trenton, N.J.
Saturday, May 18, 2019, 10 a.m.

Bierenbaum and his wife, Gail, are the founders of Mountain Express Oil, a corporation based in Acworth, Ga., involved in the wholesale distribution of gasoline, diesel fuels, racing fuels, renewable fuels, oils and lubricants, in addition to real estate, food service and convenience stores operating in the Southeast. The Bierenbaums established Mountain Express Oil in 1999 with their own location aptly called “Beer Barn.” This beginning of Mountain Express Oil was based on the principles to provide its many customers with unparalleled access, service and support. The company has long-standing relationships with stores it owns as well as third-party locations — soon to number more than 400 stores in seven states.

Previously to founding Mountain Express Oil with Gail, Bierenbaum spent 16 years in senior management with Mobil, which provided him with valuable experience in real estate, operations, marketing, management and merchandising that he used to grow his and Gail’s fuel distribution company.

The Bierenbaums credit their success, in part, to their core philosophy — to provide the support and resources needed to create a best-in-market store for all of its supply partners. By providing this attention to detail, their corporation offers everyone affiliated with Mountain Express the ability to maximize their value and profitability.

Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian ’07
Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters recipient, Graduate and College of Continuing Studies Commencement speaker
CURE Insurance Arena, Trenton, N.J.
Saturday, May 18, 2019, 4 p.m.

Fenlator-Victorian is a two-time Olympic athlete and former Rider University track and field standout. She made her Olympic debut at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, competing as a pilot for Team USA in bobsled. In the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, she became a member of the first all-women’s Jamaican bobsled team, just 30 years after the men’s team made its first appearance. Fenlator-Victorian, who is a dual citizen of both the United States and Jamaica, switched her affiliation to Jamaica in an effort to increase diversity in the sport and create representation of multiple cultures.

Fenlator-Victorian’s bobsled career began after the encouragement to try the sport in 2007 from former Rider coach Robert Pasquariello. During her collegiate career at Rider, she earned All-East honors eight times in the shot put, weight throw and the discus, setting Rider records in all three events along with the hammer. Fenlator-Victorian was named one of the top 25 athletes in the first 25-year history of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. She is Rider’s first-ever Olympian and the University's first NCAA Track & Field Regional automatic qualifier. Fenlator-Victorian was named Rider Women’s Athlete of the Year twice and was elected to the Rider Athletics Hall of Fame in 2015, her first year of eligibility. She was also honored as a notable alumna in celebration of Rider's 150th anniversary and received the Sesquicentennial Medal of Excellence.

Fenlator-Victorian earned a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism with a minor in advertising from Rider, a Master of Science with a focus in Performance Enhancement and Injury Prevention from California University of Pennsylvania, and a Master of Business Administration from DeVry University with a concentration in marketing. She and her husband, Surf, an Olympic hopeful skeleton athlete, have recently launched the start-up company, GoalDen Theory, which specializes in remote fitness tracking, athlete elite development and nutrition consulting.

Donald Nally '87
Honorary Doctor of Music recipient, Westminster Choir College Commencement speaker
Princeton University Chapel, Princeton, N.J.
Friday, May 17, 2019, 4 p.m.

Donald Nally '87 is responsible for imagining, programming, commissioning and conducting The Crossing, a professional chamber choir dedicated to new music. Under Nally's leadership, The Crossing won two consecutive Grammy Awards for the Best Choral Performance in 2017 and 2018.

Nally is also the director of choral organizations at Northwestern University where he holds the John W. Beattie Chair of Music. His previous positions include serving as chorus master at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Welsh National Opera, Opera Philadelphia and, for many seasons, at the Spoleto Festival in Italy. He has also served as music director of Cincinnati's Vocal Arts Ensemble, chorus master at The Chicago Bach Project and guest conductor throughout Europe and the United States, most notably with the Grant Park Symphony Chorus, the Philharmonia Chorus in London, the Santa Fe Desert Chorale and the Latvian State Choir.

His collaborations have included the New York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Lincoln Center, Mostly Mozart, the Cleveland Museum of Art, Carnegie Hall, National Sawdust, the Barnes Foundation, Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), the American Composers Orchestra and The Big Sky Conservatory in Montana where The Crossing holds an annual residency.

Nally earned a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, a Master of Music in Choral Conducting from Westminster Choir College and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting from the University of Illinois.