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A commitment to transparency

Rider is committed to transparency and community engagement as it continues to make progress on its plan to integrate Westminster Choir College into the University’s existing Lawrenceville campus beginning in September 2020.

This page is a continually updated collection of communication sent to the campus community, beginning with the most recent communication. For more information about Westminster Choir College, sign up to receive Symphonic, the College's newsletter for alumni and friends. Should you have any questions, please contact [email protected].

Feb. 21, 2020: Letter from Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Fredeen on recent accomplishments in the Westminster College of the Arts

Dear Rider Community,

Over the past several months, we have regularly communicated with you to keep you informed about the work taking place to ensure a strong and sustainable future for Westminster Choir College.

While that work has been moving forward, the students, faculty and staff of the Westminster College of the Arts have continued to pursue their academic and professional goals with persistence and purpose. The results of those efforts have been simply extraordinary.

Read more

Feb. 12, 2020: Letter from Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Fredeen on Prelude

Dear Rider Community,

On Friday, Feb. 7, Rider hosted Prelude, a half-day event for Westminster Choir College. The event was designed to introduce Westminster Choir College students to the vibrant living and learning community on the Lawrenceville campus ahead of the upcoming fall semester when the two campuses will be fully integrated.

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Feb. 5, 2020: Letter from Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Fredeen on the Fine Arts addition

Dear Rider Community,

I’m pleased to share with you the most recent conceptual renderings for the proposed three-story addition to the Fine Arts building.

The 23,000-square-foot addition will create new practice and rehearsal spaces, faculty offices, teaching spaces, dressing rooms and more. The Facilities Working Group has done an outstanding job in creating these plans to benefit all Rider students while paying particular attention to the needs of those coming from the Princeton campus.

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Jan. 31, 2020: Letter from Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Fredeen on plans for Moore and Talbott libraries

Dear Rider Community,

Earlier this month, I mentioned that the plan to transition the materials of Talbott Library to Moore Library was approved by the Facilities Monitoring Committee. Today, I’m excited to share with you more details about the plan, which will create dedicated spaces intended solely for Talbott materials while also making significant improvements to the overall functionality and efficiency of Moore Library.

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Jan. 27, 2020: Letter from Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Fredeen on Westminster Choir College housing plans

Dear Rider Community,

Planning for the start of the fall 2020 semester and the integration of students, faculty and staff from Westminster Choir College in Princeton has continued through the holiday break. Student Affairs and the Office of Residence Life have finalized the housing assignments for Westminster Choir College students based upon their consistently stated desire to live together as a community on the Lawrenceville campus.

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Jan. 14, 2020: 2020 brings continued progress on Westminster campus transition

Dear Rider Community,

Happy New Year! We hope you and your families had an enjoyable holiday season, with plenty of time to relax and celebrate the season. As 2020 begins, much work is already underway across our University related to the Westminster campus transition.

Read more

Dec. 12, 2019: Letter from Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Fredeen on holiday performances

Dear Rider Community,

As we prepare to conclude the fall semester and look ahead to a well-deserved holiday break, many of us have already been indulging in the holiday spirit.

Read more

Dec. 4, 2019: Additional details about Gill Chapel renovation plans

Dear Rider Community,

I'm excited to share additional details about the renovations plans for Gill Chapel. As announced last month, the renovations will create a new performing and rehearsal space for students, as well as 13 new large and small practice rooms, an expanded lobby and worship spaces.

The floor plans have been approved, and the University is on schedule with applications for permits and land use approvals that align with the renovation timeline. We anticipate having approvals for interior renovations so that we can begin work in February.

Read more

Nov. 22, 2019: Middle States Commission on Higher Education approves changes related to Westminster integration plan

Dear Rider Community,

We are pleased to announce that the Middle States Commission on Higher Education recently approved the University’s substantive change request to transition the Westminster Choir College programs to the Lawrenceville campus effective with the 2020-21 academic year.

This approval, required when member institutions undergo substantive changes, demonstrates the Commission’s confidence in our transition planning and work.

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Nov. 21, 2019: Statement from President Dell’Omo on Attorney General report

Dear Rider Community,

On Nov. 19, the Office of the Attorney General issued a supplemental report to the Superior Court of New Jersey stating its view that nothing requires Westminster Choir College to be located on the Princeton campus and that Rider University is permitted to move Westminster Choir College to Lawrenceville. The Attorney General confirmed that Westminster ceased to exist as a separate corporate entity as a result of the 1992 merger and is and has been a part of Rider University since that time.

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Nov. 13, 2019: Letter from Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Fredeen on practice rooms

Dear Rider Community

As we move forward in the facilities planning for the transition of the Westminster Choir College programs to the Lawrenceville campus, I want to share more details about our plans to ensure all Westminster College of the Arts students have practice rooms that will meet or exceed their expectations for a high-quality education

Following best practices supported by the National Association of Schools of Music, the Facilities Working Group is planning to have one practice room per every 10 students. Based on current enrollments, we are confident we will meet this standard.

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Nov. 11, 2019: Letter from Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Fredeen on Gill Chapel

Dear Rider Community,

I am pleased to announce that the Gill Chapel Facilities Working Group submitted a recommendation to the Facilities Monitoring Committee, which approved the plan for renovations in that building. The next step in the process is to meet with members of the Lawrence Township Planning Office to seek approval for the additions. Mr. Michael Reca, Vice President for Facilities and Operations, anticipates receiving approval and permits by the end of January 2020. The project will create a full performing and rehearsal space in the main chapel, as well as 13 new large and small practice rooms, an expanded lobby, and worship spaces.

Read more

Nov. 7, 2019

Dear Rider Community,

On Wednesday, Nov. 6, The Rider News published an article that included a quote from a student that attributed denigrating comments to Dr. Marshall Onofrio, dean of the Westminster College of the Arts.

The student reporter did not seek comment from Dean Onofrio to verify the student’s characterization of his words. Following publication, Dean Onofrio issued a statement denying this characterization.

The student reporter has acknowledged that the failure to follow-up with Dean Onofrio was a lapse in judgment. Although The Rider News subsequently added Dean Onofrio’s denial to the online version of the article, this unfortunate error has damaged the reputation of an individual who continues to serve as one of the strongest advocates for the preservation of Westminster Choir College.

As a student newspaper, The Rider News provides opportunities for students to learn the important craft and function of journalism. Because the newspaper is run by students and not professionals, we understand that situations will arise in which they fail to follow basic journalism protocol, such as substantiating claims prior to publication.

While we recognize this underlying fact, we were troubled that some prominent individuals, including some representing the AAUP and the Westminster Foundation, chose to amplify this unsubstantiated claim on social media without any opportunity for Dean Onofrio to provide clarification, further damaging his reputation. We want to commend those who exercised restraint and didn’t rush to judge Dean Onofrio. That kind of thoughtful, reflective behavior is encouraged in our campus culture and especially welcome in today’s media environment, where pernicious misinformation can instantaneously destroy an individual’s reputation. To that point, it’s important we continue to assume the best intentions of the students associated with this article. As Rider’s Statement of Community Values says, the "integrity of word and deed forms the foundation of all relationships."

We feel it is important to speak up in support of any individual in our community who finds him or herself caught in such an unfortunate situation. Anyone who has worked with Dean Onofrio knows that he is a person of integrity who always comports himself in the most professional manner possible. We stand with him, as well as with the students associated with this article, in support.

Sincerely, Gregory G. Dell’Omo, Ph.D.

DonnaJean Fredeen, Ph.D
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Nov. 1, 2019

The Campus Transition Working Groups have made exceptional progress in the past few weeks, and I want to share one important update with you from the Enrollment and Identity Working Group.

This group, composed of faculty, staff and students from both campuses, has been meeting for the past several months tackling a variety of issues related to enrollment and identity as it pertains to Westminster College of the Arts, School of Fine and Performing Arts, and Westminster Choir College.

The members of this group have wrestled particularly with the name of Westminster Choir College, and have collaboratively analyzed the pros and cons of keeping or changing the name. These conversations were rich and progressive, sometimes difficult, emotional, and always passionate. But more than anything, they were inclusive of many voices with different perspectives and ideas.

At this point in the journey, the working group has recommended to the Campus Transition Team that the name Westminster Choir College remain. The Transition Team has accepted this recommendation.

I think this is a powerful example of how the organic discussions of the working groups are informing the decision process and also are a clear illustration of how the voices of the participants of these groups are being heard.

The Campus Transition Team is excited to see how this process is working and bringing people together to help shape the future of this new integrated vision for Westminster College of the Arts and Rider University.


DonnaJean Fredeen, Ph.D.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Nov. 1, 2019

We are aware that certain individuals are asserting that Rider is in discussions with another educational institution to take over Westminster Choir College and operate it in Princeton. This is not true.  

I recently received an initial, private inquiry from a domestic institution, but that organization subsequently advised me that they are not interested in pursuing WCC. I want to dispel any false information that you may be hearing: we are not in discussions with any educational institution about taking over WCC and rumors of a possible deal are not true.

We are also aware of claims that Rider still might try to sell Westminster to Kaiwen Education. This is also not true.

Rider and Kaiwen did agree to seek ways to collaborate together to assist in the development of a choir for Kaiwen’s performing arts school in China, assist in recruiting students for Rider, create study tours, and provide opportunities for faculty exchanges. In fact, this collaboration is the subject of the work of one of the Campus Transition working groups.

So I just want to reiterate once again, that Rider is not planning to sell WCC to any other institution, including Kaiwen, and we are focused solely on creating a new and exciting Westminster College of the Arts (WCA) at Rider University for the benefit of all of Rider University.  

Dr. Fredeen will be providing further information regarding the progress of the Campus Transition Working Groups.


Gregory G. Dell’Omo, Ph.D.

Oct. 3, 2019

Our campus Transition Team and affiliated working groups are moving full steam ahead on planning a successful integration of Rider’s two campuses. Right now, more than 130 members of our University community are participating in this process, in addition to professional architects, engineers, sound consultants and theater consultants. I wish to thank everyone who continues to give of their time and talents to this critical work.

I’d like to inform you of our progress, but before that, I want to recognize the anxiety that this momentous change is causing. I want to assure you that our work to integrate the two campuses and create enriching learning experiences for all Rider students, including current and future Westminster Choir College students, is being conducted in a spirit of collaboration and great hope for the future of the Westminster College of the Arts and Rider University. Our goal is to continue operating in such a spirit — one that represents the best qualities of our faculty, staff, students and alumni. The work we are undertaking, and the stakes that it represents, are too important to indulge in disparaging rhetoric that divides instead of unites, distracts instead of informs and hurts instead of heals.

With that said, we know that one of the greatest subjects of interest right now is facilities. We recognize that the continuation of Westminster’s quality programs and instruction requires specialized spaces, which is why we are engaging with faculty and staff to inform the design of teaching and rehearsal spaces on the Lawrenceville campus. I want to again thank the individuals who have chosen to participate in this important process. We are very encouraged with the progress of our planning and are eager to share these plans with you as progress continues. These plans include renovations to Gill Chapel, Moore Library and the Fine Arts building.

The Fine Arts building will undergo significant renovations along with a three-story addition. The project includes new faculty offices, classrooms, labs, rehearsal and recital space, and upgrades to existing classrooms, common areas and more. Plans are taking shape to renovate Gill Chapel — a project that will include the creation of an additional 14 practice room spaces. Conversations regarding the location of faculty office spaces are ongoing.

This is an architect’s conceptual drawing of the Fine Arts addition, as well as Gill Chapel:

Fine Arts rendering

Gill Chapel rendering

During the 2020-21 academic year, faculty offices will be located temporarily in Omega House. With the input of Westminster Choir College faculty, the renovations to this building will provide office spaces that allow our faculty to continue to provide the quality of instruction that currently exists on the Princeton campus.

We are confident that new spaces comparable to the teaching spaces on the Princeton campus will be ready by September 1, 2020, with the addition to the Fine Arts building to follow and be completed by fall 2021. In the near future, I will share more details about facilities, including plans for Moore Library.

These investments represent a continuation of the faithful stewardship of Westminster Choir College that Rider has shown for more than 28 years. While that history has long benefitted Westminster and Rider, the Rider University Board of Trustees has recently faced complex decisions about Westminster’s future. Those decisions have been informed by the undeniable fact that the Trustees and President Dell’Omo have a fiduciary responsibility to Rider University, of which Westminster Choir College is an esteemed part. Operating under that responsibility, the status quo is not an option. For everyone who appreciates the role that the arts play in our lives and our society, we’re grateful that the Trustees have repeatedly pursued a way forward for Westminster and the continuation of Westminster’s 93-year history of excellence and Rider University’s 154-year history of excellence.

I want to close by noting that Westminster’s history includes moving its original campus from Dayton, Ohio, to Ithaca, N.Y., to Princeton, N.J. These moves prove that the quality of its programs and the education provided to Westminster students is not dependent upon their geographical location. Rather, it is an outcome of the dedication and quality of our faculty and the talent of our students.

Let’s continue to work together to ensure that our histories have a long and bright future.


DonnaJean Fredeen, Ph.D.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Sept. 16, 2019

The new academic year is off to a fantastic start at Rider University. It is so pleasing to see all of our community back for another exciting and transformative year.

Among all of the great things taking place at Rider right now, our Campus Transition Team has been meeting on a weekly basis, and our various Working Groups are beginning their essential work. I want to share some updates with you regarding our progress.

As the enrollment season kicks into high gear, recruiting the Class of 2024 is a top priority. Many individuals from departments on both campuses including Admissions, Academic Affairs, Marketing and Communications, External Affairs, and Westminster Choir College faculty and administrators, are working collaboratively to develop creative, extensive and focused recruitment efforts for Westminster Choir College. This year, it has been decided that all campus tours, open houses and undergraduate auditions for Westminster Choir College will take place on the Lawrenceville campus. This change has been undertaken with great care and detail, and I want to extend my appreciation to everyone who is working to make these events happen as seamlessly as possible. With everyone’s ongoing assistance and dedication, I am confident we will recruit a dynamic and talented class for fall 2020.

I’d also like to introduce the new Westminster College of the Arts faculty to all of you. These remarkable individuals have recently joined the Rider family and will be bringing their artistic talents to our University at a time when Westminster College of the Arts is about to enter a new era. Please join me in welcoming Jay Carter, assistant professor in the Department of Piano and Voice; Linda Lorence Critelli, assistant professor in the Department of Fine Arts; William ‘Wil’ Lindsay, assistant professor in the Department of Fine Arts; Eri Millrod, assistant professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance; and Yoshinori Tanokura, assistant professor I and scenic designer. You can read more about these individuals’ backgrounds, as well as all of our other new faculty from throughout the University, here.

We have several new Westminster staff as well. Earlier this summer, David Sullivan joined Rider as our new associate dean for the School of Fine and Performing Arts. Matthew Smith has joined the library staff as an instructor-librarian, and Julia Marsh is our new director of the University Art Gallery. We extend a warm welcome to all!

As you have heard us say before, the transition of Westminster Choir College is not just simply a change in geography, but rather with this transition we will enact a new vision for the College of the Arts — one that promises to build upon the successes of all the units of the College, establish a new synergy and support new collaborations.

I am excited for all the possibilities that are to come. Students, faculty and staff from the School of Fine and Performing Arts and Westminster Choir College will be able to further the collaborations and relationships that already exist without the hindrance of geographic separation. Capitalizing on new programs and continuing synergies with all colleges of the University, I look forward to fresh partnerships and ever-increasing prospects for our students.

Movement of the educational and artistic programs of Westminster Choir College to Lawrenceville will make it possible for all students to participate in programs, ensembles and productions. Among other possible new developments, I look forward to the participation of those Westminster students who also play instruments in our various School of Fine and Performing Arts instrumental groups; to collaboration among various a cappella student groups, and to relationships between our new programs in game design, dance science, and the many communications and music majors.

To accomplish this, the University has committed to extensive renovations and additions to our existing facilities, all of which will take place between now and fall 2021. As this year progresses, I commit to sharing detailed information on all of those construction projects with you.

While many of us are very excited at the prospects that integration into one campus provides, as happens with extraordinary change, there nonetheless are many other reactions from individuals both from within the University community and outside of Rider. Anxiety, frustration, concern and perhaps even confusion are all normal emotions to a change such as this. Change can be unsettling and reactions can differ for each of us. I am convinced that working together as a community we will be able to offer one another the strength and support as we move forward.

Rider is a great university that has excelled at providing high-quality education for more than 154 years, with world-class faculty, excellent programs, a beautiful and welcoming campus that is experiencing significant improvements, and dynamic student experiences and outcomes. As part of our Strategic Plan, Our Path Forward, we are pursuing excellence in all areas, and that includes the migration of WCC to Lawrenceville. It is my sincere hope that all of our colleagues and students know this, will see the long-term value of the new vision, and be part of the process to bring about this continued pursuit of Rider excellence.


DonnaJean Fredeen, Ph.D.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Aug. 29, 2019

Dear Colleagues,

On August 7, 2019, President Dell’Omo sent an email to the University community announcing the establishment of the Campus Transition Team to lead the move of the Westminster Choir College programs, faculty and students to the Lawrenceville campus. I am writing to provide an update on the work of the Campus Transition Team, and hope to provide such an update on a bi-weekly basis.

The Campus Transition Team has identified the need for nine working groups, assigned members of the Cabinet to chair the working groups, and has identified a charge for each working group. Additionally, each chair has extended invitations to faculty, administrators and staff to participate on these working groups.

The working groups and charges are as follows:

1) Facilities (Chair: Mike Reca, Marshall Onofrio, Rick Riccardi, Jim Hartman)

a) Gill Chapel CHARGE: Socialize the renovation with faith-based student organizations, affiliate ministers and other users of the facility. Identify alternate spaces for the many classes currently scheduled for spring 2020. Socialize assignment of faculty and staff to the lower level studios. Discuss plans for the renovation, including acoustical enhancements. Recommend approaches to accommodating various instructional needs. Assist in establishing timetables for movement of equipment and instruments from Princeton to Lawrenceville.

b) Library CHARGE: Working with library faculty and staff and academic faculty and staff, identify materials to move and spaces to house them. Socialize changes with users of the facility. Discuss plans for the renovation, including the location of various music-specific materials and equipment. Assist in establishing timetables for movement of equipment and instruments from Princeton to Lawrenceville.

c) Omega House CHARGE: Working with Student Affairs, identify renovations to be done in Summer 2020 and Summer 2021. Socialize assignment of faculty and staff to studios. Discuss plans for temporary acoustical enhancements. Establish timetable to ready the facility for receipt of equipment. Assist in establishing timetables for movement of equipment and instruments from Princeton to Lawrenceville. As appropriate, assist in establishing timetable for summer 2021 movement from Omega to Fine Arts addition.

d) Fine Arts CHARGE: Socialize the movement of Westminster Choir College faculty and staff to the Fine Arts building. Discuss plans for the addition and renovation. Recommend approaches to accommodating various instructional needs. Assist in establishing timetables for movement of equipment and instruments from Princeton to Lawrenceville.

e) Campus/Physical Operations (Chair: Mike Reca) CHARGE: Oversee identification of all equipment to be moved to Lawrenceville; arrange for move and placement at Lawrenceville; decide on disposition of equipment/instruments not to be moved at this time. Oversee closure or conversion of vendor contracts specific to Westminster Choir College.

2) Enrollment/Identity (Chair: Drew Aromando, Marshall Onofrio) CHARGE: Working with Institutional Culture and Traditions, establish identity/essence/mission, leading to consideration of names for Westminster College of the Arts (WCA) and its units. Examine how Recruiting, Audition, & Retention processes will be integrated within WCA. Finalize plans for FY20 Admissions activities. Work with Communications regarding WCA messaging. Working with Finance, begin preparing for integrated Business Processes for WCA.

3) Advancement (Chair: Karin Klim) CHARGE: Re-engage Westminster Choir College alumni and supporters who have a rich history and passion for the institution. Examine opportunities that will connect alumni and donors from two vibrant arts communities in meaningful ways. Explore naming possibilities for facilities improvements.

4) Student Affairs (Chair: Leanna Fenneberg) CHARGE: Support the out-of-class student transition of Westminster Choir College to the Lawrenceville campus in a way which respects and supports the experiences of students at Westminster while facilitating broader community among the combined Rider University student body. Topics of discussion will include, but not be limited to: envisioning a shared student culture, integrating student organizations and signature student events, determining housing arrangements, considering integration of orientations, and seamlessly supporting the needs of students during and after the transition.

5) Institutional Culture and Traditions (Chairs: Rob Stoto, Karin Klim, Marshall Onofrio) CHARGE: Solidify the sense of identity in the School of Fine and Performing Arts and Westminster Choir College; identify WCA and unit-based traditions and values. Recommend path to establish new University traditions that integrate extant and historical values. Work with Communications to send appropriate messaging as decisions are made.

6) Finance (Chair: Jim Hartman) CHARGE: Ensure a financially stable transition of the Princeton campus to the Lawrenceville campus, making sure all accounting and finance processes and policies are in place and that funding exists for capital projects and operating budgets. Included tasks are, but not limited to, changing accounting structures and other codes necessary for the recruitment process and federal DOE, along with simplifying the reporting structures within BANNER. In addition, identify the necessary funds and funding/borrowing source to pay for all facilities renovations and additions, as well as work with University Advancement to re-examine Westminster Choir College endowments and determine how the transition impacts the terms and conditions.

7) Continuing Education (Chairs: Boris Vilic, Scott Hoerl) CHARGE: Working with WCA dean, prepare recommendations for future disposition of all Continuing Education programs provided by WCA.

8) Communications (Chair: Kristine Brown) CHARGE: Inform the internal and external community of the progress related to campus transition. The working group members will be asked to serve as the “eyes and ears” around campus, keeping abreast of the key questions and concerns of faculty, staff, students, alumni and others, and sharing these with the working group leadership on an ongoing basis so communication strategy and deliverables can be developed and disseminated in a timely fashion. The working group will determine the most appropriate methods to reach each stakeholder group and the broader Rider community, and then provide input into messaging (content, delivery and timing). Deliverables will include a variety of communication materials including, but not limited to: e-news, press releases, media statements, articles, web content, letters, talking points, speeches/remarks, social media messaging, photos, video content, etc. The committee will also work to create positive news coverage whenever possible.

9) Kaiwen Collaboration (Chair: Mark Solomon) CHARGE: Evaluate next steps including exchange of faculty, creation choral program, recruiting, summer programs/camps, study tours.

This week, the Facilities working groups held kick-off meetings. A regular meeting schedule is being created for each of the four buildings. The Enrollment Management/Identity working group has met three times over the past several weeks and is engaged in excellent conversation regarding recruiting events as well as other pertinent discussions about the new vision for WCA and the artist of the 21st century. The group has begun evaluating several identity scenarios and among the many ideas has discussed establishing, as part of identity, a Westminster Center (or Institute) for Choral Studies. We anticipate that the remaining working groups will have an initial meeting in the next two weeks.

Our goal is to send bi-weekly progress reports regarding the discussions and suggestions generated by the working groups. The Campus Transition Team is committed to transparency and community engagement in this process and looks forward to the metamorphosis of WCA.

DonnaJean Fredeen, Ph.D.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Aug. 7, 2019: Update on Campus Transition

Dear Rider University Community,

I hope this message finds you well and enjoying the summer with friends and family. It has been a busy summer at Rider as we gear up for the new academic year, and I wanted to share some information with you related to our campus transition.

As you know, on July 1 the Rider University Board of Trustees announced a plan to integrate Westminster Choir College into the University’s existing Lawrenceville campus beginning in September 2020. Rider will continue to operate Westminster Choir College, the Westminster Conservatory and the Westminster Continuing Education programs in Princeton during the upcoming 2019-20 academic year.

Many steps have already been taken to prepare and plan for the historic move of Westminster Choir College to Lawrenceville. To lead this process, we have established a Campus Transition Team, chaired by Dr. DonnaJean Fredeen, provost and vice president of academic affairs. Dr. Fredeen and the Campus Transition Team have already met several times this summer to organize and prioritize their work related to the transition from Princeton to Lawrenceville.

To start, several Working Groups have been established within the Campus Transition Team, each chaired by a senior level administrator of the University. The Working Groups include: Facilities (with several sub-groups for each of the major construction projects related to the transition); Enrollment/Identity; Advancement; Student Affairs; Institutional Culture and Traditions; Finance; Conservatory/Continuing Education; Communications; and Kaiwen Collaboration.

Early next week, the chairs of each Working Group will be sending invitations to faculty, staff and students from both campuses to be members of these important teams. We have put much care and thought into the make-up of these groups to assure cross-campus collaboration and transparency. In total, almost 130 members of our community will be invited to serve on one or more Working Groups responsible for all facets of the transition. Soon we will post information related to the Campus Transition Team, the Working Groups, and chairpersons and members, as well as the defined charge of each team on Please continue to check the website for more information.

Moving forward, Dr. Fredeen will continually keep all of our University stakeholders apprised of the campus transition progress through various communication channels. Our goal is to ensure transparency and information every step of the way.

Among the many reasons the Board chose to ultimately transition Westminster Choir College to Lawrenceville, instead of other options that were considered, is the opportunity to establish a new vision for Rider University’s Westminster College of the Arts. This move from one campus to another is not just simply a logistical change in geography but rather a starting point for something new and very exciting.

With the launch of the Westminster College of the Arts in December 2007, Rider embarked on a plan to achieve the desired synergy between the two campuses through the arts. The hope was that the integration of students, faculty and programs would finally yield the increased collaboration, visibility and reputation envisioned back to the original merger in 1991. Efforts to bring this to reality included the creation of the School of Fine and Performing Arts, WCA faculty teaching on both campuses, and the initiation of an intercampus shuttle. While there have been several important successes, the simple truth is that the geographic and programmatic separation proved too strong to result in the desired connections. By moving Westminster Choir College programs to Lawrenceville, and a renewed focus on the branding and promotion of Westminster College of the Arts as a whole, we believe that the long-desired collaboration and outcomes finally will be achieved.

This fall we will be launching a new branding strategy for Rider, and much work is already underway to plan for the promotion and marketing of the Westminster College of the Arts as part of that new strategy. This is more than just an advertising campaign, but rather an entire new approach to the way in which we position and brand ourselves both internally and externally. I’m looking forward to sharing more information with you in the coming months.

We would be naïve to think this transition will be simple, or not without problems and challenges both big and small that we must overcome together. Blending two important components of our University will take patience, cooperation and a shared commitment to ultimate success. Together we can make Rider University stronger and positioned for long term success not just in the arts, but university-wide.

Rider University is transforming itself into a new institution both inside and out. Major construction projects are currently underway or in the planning stages to significantly enhance our campus facilities. New academic programs are helping to grow enrollment both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Successful substantial fundraising initiatives are being realized to benefit student scholarship and affordability. And our new brand will raise Rider’s profile in a way we have never seen in our 154-year history.

The Westminster campus transition is as important as these and many other countless initiatives and priorities underway at Rider. I hope you are excited to see what’s next for our University, as every one of us is an integral component to our ongoing success.

Enjoy the rest of your summer, and I look forward to seeing faculty, staff, students, alumni and others back on campus soon.


Gregory G. Dell’Omo, Ph.D.


July 1, 2019: Rider announces future plans for Westminster Choir College

Dear Rider University Community,

Today the Rider University Board of Trustees and Kaiwen Education announced that the two parties have mutually agreed not to extend the Purchase and Sale Agreement (PSA) for Westminster Choir College with Kaiwen Education and instead explore an alternate relationship between the two entities. This decision ends a lengthy and comprehensive process that sought a buyer to operate Westminster on its campus in Princeton.

The Rider Board also approved a plan to integrate Westminster Choir College into the University’s existing Lawrenceville campus beginning in September 2020. Rider will continue to operate Westminster Choir College, the Westminster Conservatory and the Westminster Continuing Education programs in Princeton during the upcoming 2019-20 academic year.

With this board decision, the notices that were issued to AAUP members last October as part of our obligation to provide an extended notice of the possibility of layoff are hereby rescinded.

Throughout this process, the Board has continually sought to preserve and enhance Westminster’s legacy as a world-class institution, and has made every effort to maintain the College in Princeton. Given the enormous complexity of the transaction, it became increasingly clear that partnering with an outside entity, even one as well-intentioned as Kaiwen, was not feasible on a viable timeline.

Although the PSA expired effective June 30, 2019, Rider has already begun conversations to develop ways in which we can continue our relationship with Kaiwen, albeit in a different way. The University has formalized an agreement with Kaiwen to work together over the next three years on academic and artistic initiatives.

Rider’s Board and administration appreciate the special connection that Westminster has to Princeton, which is why they went to extraordinary lengths to seek a future based in that community. Now that it is clear that transferring Westminster Choir College to an external partner is not possible, it is the University’s continuing responsibility to enact a plan that serves the best interests of the entire institution, as it is not financially feasible to allow Westminster to continue on its present course as a separate, fully operational campus seven miles apart from Rider’s Lawrenceville campus.

The new plan envisions a more fully integrated campus and robust Westminster College of the Arts that goes beyond the consolidation option proposed in 2016. The Westminster College of the Arts encompasses Westminster Choir College in Princeton and the School of Fine and Performing Arts in Lawrenceville, as well as the Westminster Conservatory, which will continue to operate in multiple locations. The plan also proposes that Rider/Westminster explore the possibility of retaining a footprint on the Princeton campus — dedicated in part to the activities of the Conservatory, with possible academic and artistic opportunities for students.

Implementation of a new vision for the Westminster College of the Arts has strong potential for producing robust enrollments, enhanced visibility and branding, and financial stability for Rider’s arts programs and the University as a whole. This plan will sustain Westminster Choir College’s historical legacy and reputation, and ensure the continuation and growth of the Westminster Conservatory. The integration of the Westminster Choir College brand with the growing reputation of the School of Fine and Performing Arts also will result in a vibrant arts community on the Lawrenceville campus as well as potential new synergies with many of Rider’s other academic programs.

We believe this plan will realize the goal of a strong and thriving Westminster College of the Arts that builds on both existing and proposed programs and facilities and most effectively serves 21st-century students. It is our hope that students, faculty, staff, and alumni will unite around this opportunity and participate in creating a new chapter in Westminster Choir College's storied history.

Rider has never wavered from its commitment to supporting and sustaining Westminster Choir College since the initial merger in 1992. The new plan to integrate the two campuses represents another investment in the future of the College intended to accelerate reinvestment in Rider and create a very strong, resilient and cohesive University.

In the coming weeks, administrators, faculty and staff will begin working on the specific tasks that will culminate in the movement of Westminster Choir College to the Lawrenceville campus for the fall 2020 semester.

We will provide additional updates to our community in the coming months.


Gregory G. Dell’Omo, Ph.D., President
Robert S. Schimek, Chairman, Board of Trustees

[email protected]