Dear alumni and friends,
During my professional career, I have faced many challenges, but the scale of the public health crisis precipitated by the coronavirus dwarfs anything that I can recall.
It has upset so many of the simple things we previously had the luxury of taking for granted, such as traveling to see loved ones, going to the movies and buying groceries. And it has fundamentally disrupted the normal operations of Rider University. With only a few weeks left in the spring semester, Rider’s campus looks in some ways the same as you would expect. The tulips are blooming and the Campus Mall is verdant and welcoming. Yet, the residence halls are vacant, classrooms are empty and stages are idle.
As the coronavirus has extended its grip on our society, we have had to pivot toward solutions that are impossible to imagine in almost any other context. While those solutions are playing a meaningful role in helping to slow the spread of the virus, they are also going to have serious and sobering repercussions for the University.
These conditions demand that we call upon our reserves of strength and wisdom so that we can endure this trial and, when it is safe to do so, advance once again into a brighter future. I have faith that we will get there — collectively and individually — because I have faith in Rider and its people. Since becoming president, I have benefitted from seeing and listening to so many of your own stories of perseverance and triumph. Those stories are represented as always in your alumni magazine. Even though it was conceived and assembled before the coronavirus outbreak, the stories repeatedly show how adept we are at solving problems and overcoming challenges.
Look to the way Sam Brukhman ’15 has persevered through early struggles to receive a first-class education and create a vocal ensemble in Dallas, Texas. Verdigris is cultivating new audiences for choral music — an art form as old as recorded history itself. Sam has drawn rave reviews for the inspired way he has fused choral music with imagery and video and text and brought his ensemble to perform in unusual spaces, like planetariums.
Look to the way Sharon Sherman has adapted and persevered. She rose from her humble beginnings in the Bronx to become a nationally recognized innovator in STEM teacher education. Under her leadership, Rider’s College of Education and Human Services earned multiple accreditations, became home to the University’s first doctoral program and excelled in the delivery of online education.
At Rider, I’m proud to see this style of leadership on display all the time. We will emerge from this crisis through that kind of leadership.
Gregory G. Dell’Omo, Ph.D.
President, Rider University