I confess that it is extremely difficult for me to write this final letter to you. As I think about my retirement this July, I have been reflecting on my academic journey — from my undergraduate years at McGill, through the many teaching and administrative roles at a variety of universities across the country, to my decade at the helm of the University of Guelph, and culminating in my appointment in 2003 as the sixth president of Rider University. As I contemplate the past 12 years at Rider, it’s impossible for me not to reflect on the relationships I have enjoyed making with alumni, faculty, staff and, of course, our students. Truly, my time at Rider represents the high point of my professional career.
I am delighted to say that, notwithstanding the challenges that face higher education today, Rider is thriving. With distinctive programs and world class educational opportunities for our students, our University continues to shine. Two campuses, 65 undergraduate programs and 26 graduate programs and five innovative schools and colleges, Rider and Westminster alumni should be as proud of their alma mater as I am.
But even with the pride I feel for our collective accomplishments, I owe much to those who came before me. My immediate predecessors, Frank Elliott and Bart Luedeke (both of whom I have enjoyed getting to know) built a platform of strength upon which we were able to grow. And I have every confidence that the University will continue to prosper under the strong leadership of my successor, Dr. Gregory Dell’Omo. Even as I prepare to pass the baton to Greg, I intend to continue cheering the Broncs to victory, wearing the school colors, attending special events and taking great “Rider Pride,” as the University climbs to even greater prominence in the years to come.
It is not possible in this limited space to acknowledge all of the people I have worked with during my time here — the students, parents, faculty, staff, administrators and alumni. But I can say thank you. Thank you for allowing me to lead you and to be led by you. Many of our best ideas, as well as the means to achieve them, have come from members of our University. I want to especially thank members of my senior team as well as all of the volunteers who have given their time, their talent and their treasures to help advance the University. The volunteer group I have worked most closely with over the years is our dedicated Board of Trustees. You’ve probably heard me say “There can be no great university without great alumni.” That certainly holds true for great trustees. And I have been extraordinarily fortunate to work with some of the best — men and women, the vast majority of whom are graduates of Rider and Westminster — who have only the finest long-term interests of the University in mind.
While I prepare to close this wonderfully satisfying chapter in my life and in the history of the University, I echo the sentiment of our namesake, Andrew J. Rider, that we have celebrated during our sesquicentennial year: With your encouragement, engagement, and support, we are truly “fulfilling the promise.” And there is more to come.