By Alexis Schulz
A medallion has been cast, volunteers have been picked and the people are signing up as Rider’s seventh president awaits his inaugural celebration on April 8 in Alumni Gym.
The inauguration ceremony, according to Beverly Braddock, special events and projects manager, will culminate a week full of Rider excellence.
“We’ve had seven presidents in 150 years,” she said. “Those numbers are amazing. We’ll get good press coverage with this, so it’s a great way to show off Rider to the external community. It’s really a nice moment to position and brand the university more.”
About 400 students, staff and community members are already signed up for the celebration that will include an installation ceremony taking place at 2:30 p.m. According to Braddock, the ceremony itself will be held in Alumni Gym and the Student Recreation Center will be used for lining up the procession.
“We’ll use the Alumni Gym — it has a stage and we’re using seating on the floor for this,” she said. “The procession will come in from the back and go up to the front. There is an admitted-student day the next day; they expect 1,200 people and we are sharing the space set up with them. We’ve been working closely with what’s going to be taking place on Friday [April 8] with what’s taking place on Saturday [April 9], as far as production and the AV and chairs.”
Braddock said everyone should be seated by 2:15 p.m. for the ceremony to start promptly. The event will be 90 minutes in length with a reception to follow in the SRC.
“So on the SRC courts while that’s all going on, there will be some flipping going on to make sure it is all set up for the reception,” she said. “We’re working with Aramark and they are sponsoring the costs of the reception. It will be some good food, appetizers and desserts. We will be enhancing the Westminster shuttle schedule. [Westminster staff and students] can take the shuttle back and forth, and it will be running the entire day, including into the evening.”
After the reception, the evening is more student-focused, according to Braddock. There will be a Bronc bonfire with live music and food trucks on the campus green.
“The installation ceremony is just part of the inauguration,” Braddock said. “The inauguration is really the celebration of the whole thing, we’ve planned this weeklong celebration schedule because it’s a celebration of Rider excellence. The installation ceremony is the formal, public announcement of a new university president, but that’s just part of what an inauguration really is.
“So the whole thing is really focusing on Rider. A little nod to the history of where we’ve been, all the great things that are going on now, that’s what we really designed the week to showcase. Rider excellence, whether it’s academic or athletic or the performing arts, the schedule has a good mix of all of that. We looked at what goes on annually anyway and then worked ahead to schedule it so we built that excellence program into the one week. All of these things are open to the public and an inauguration is a big deal.”
Attendees of the event include faculty and chairpersons, external guests, business partners, local politicians, alumni and students. An interesting aspect of the celebration, according to Braddock, is the inclusion of other colleges and universities being represented by delegates or Rider staff members supporting their alma maters.
“We have over 50 delegates coming, either presidents from other universities or, if they cannot attend, they ask a representative to come,” she said. “It might be their provost or one of their vice presidents, or sometimes they look to the head of their alumni association. If it’s from out of the area, like we have Yale being represented, they’ll ask someone locally to come. We’re very excited that we’ve got 50 so far.
“If an institution has replied that they cannot send a delegate, because of scheduling conflicts or whatever, we ask staff if they would like to represent their alma mater. Once the institution declines, if we have a staff member that went to that institution, they can represent them. That’s something interesting that we also did at President Rozanski’s inauguration as well. We have about a dozen staff people who are representing their alma mater.”
As for the procession, it will consist of board of trustees members, cabinet members, alumni representation, student representation and Andrew J. Rider scholars representing each college.
“We’ve reached out to students to be greeters, ushers and volunteers so we know that group too will be there to watch the ceremony,” said Braddock. “It’s an important academic ceremony so there is a lot of pomp and circumstance, protocol and tradition during the inauguration ceremony. You have a whole procession party of people robed in their academic regalia.”
President Gregory Dell’Omo addressed inauguration concerns in an email to faculty and staff on March 29 stating that the costs of the installation ceremony are about $25,000. Other activity costs for the week were also lined out in the email, including the Rider Rock Fest which will cost $25,000.
The president encouraged the community to attend the ceremony and the weeklong events.
“I believe by celebrating the very best of Rider at this historic time, and inviting others to celebrate with us, we will enhance the public perception of our instiution and set the stage for the next chapter of our bright future,” he said. “It is also my hope that we all will be able to participate in this exciting week of activities, including the inauguration ceremony itself.”