On Feb. 1, Rider President Gregory Dell’Omo sent an university-wide email discrediting an article in The Rider News reporting his plans to retire from Rider after his contract ends in 2025. The Rider News stands by the story’s reporting and headline, which Dell’Omo’s email described as “inaccurate.”
Among other comments from a Jan. 27 interview with Dell’Omo that he plans to depart the university in 2025, he said: “I’m hoping as I go out, my last two and a half years, I guess that I have left, trying to get the university to a position where whoever follows me as president, hopefully can have a little bit easier time doing it.”
He further stated: “I really just felt that if I did not extend retirement [from] the 24th, July of ’24 being my last year, that, this is going to be a critical time for the university to change leadership at this time…”
In the interest of full transparency with the university’s students, faculty and staff, The Rider News is releasing the unedited 15 minutes of the interview discussing the topic of retirement with Dell’Omo from Jan. 27, along with a written transcript and audio excerpts that led to the article and headline.
By Amethyst Martinez
After the Board of Trustees announced Rider President Gregory Dell’Omo’s one-year tenure extension, making him president of the university until 2025, he revealed in an interview with The Rider News that he plans on this being his final extension before retiring after a full decade at the university.
Before his presidency at Rider, Dell’Omo spent a decade at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh, from 2005 to 2015.
“An older president who I was very fond of as sort of a mentor today, once told me … ‘Greg, max out at 10 years,’” said Dell’Omo. “That’s because 10 years [is] like a magic number, because after that, you’re not really adding much value.”
Dell’Omo, 67, who has served as Rider’s president since 2015, said that his main goal until 2025 is to increase student recruitment numbers and make the university financially viable.
The announcement of the president’s contract extension was made via email to the Rider community on Jan. 17, stating that the board voted unanimously to extend Dell’Omo’s previous appointment from July 31, 2024, to July 31, 2025.
The email read, “In making this decision, the board took into account many of President Dell’Omo’s accomplishments realized during his tenure, including his current ambitious and comprehensive plan to transform Rider University into a financially viable institution able to withstand the many challenges facing higher education today.”
Dell’Omo’s contract extension does not include a raise, according to Kristine Brown, associate vice president for university marketing and communications. “President Dell’Omo is continuing his 15% salary reduction he voluntarily implemented in the beginning of this fiscal year,” said Brown. “This extends his previous salary reduction that dates back to the beginning of the pandemic.”
The email also stated that the Board of Trustees are confident in the president’s ability to lead Rider through a time of change and renewal.
Dell’Omo’s presidency has been filled with fierce opposition from Rider’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), whose members passed a no-confidence motion against Dell’Omo twice during his tenure, most recently in 2022.
AAUP President David Dewberry said, “While the board is unwavering in its support of the president’s leadership, it’s clear faculty and staff are not.” Dewberry also said that the union is planning on taking action against the Board of Trustees, though it has not been specified what that could entail. He had no idea of Dell’Omo’s plans to retire from Rider in 2025, and said he would wait for an official announcement before speaking fully on the topic.
This is the third time Dell’Omo’s appointment has been prolonged by the Board of Trustees, which has stood behind the president since his inauguration despite criticisms: the first was in 2018, when his contract was renewed for another four-year term, and the second in 2020 when his tenure was extended two years until 2024.
Dell’Omo said that he believes that retiring in 2024 would have been difficult in what he described as “a critical time for the university to change leadership.”
Dell’Omo said, “Even though people out there don’t agree with what I do and how I handle the job, there is a lot to be said for stability.”
Originally printed in the 2/1/23 issue.