Former CLAES dean had a passion for adventure

By Gianluca D’Elia

Joseph Edward Nadeau, dean emeritus of the College of Liberal Arts, Education and Sciences, passed away on June 26 at the age of 72.

Nadeau began his career at Rider in 1971 as an assistant professor of geology, and went on to become a dean in 1988. He supervised 25 programs teaching geology, geochemistry and oceanography. Nadeau served as a role model and mentor for his staff, and focused strongly on their development as a team.

“Joe was a good mentor and a really great dean,” said Dr. Jim Riggs, a professor of biology and immunology who worked closely with Nadeau. “He played a large part in helping sciences grow in importance at Rider.”

Nadeau was also known among his friends and staff for his sense for adventure, and his constant world travelling earned him the nickname of “Safari Joe.” His geological interests led him to Honduras, Bermuda, and the Czech Republic, where he guest-taught in the 1970s. He also explored Mexico, Peru, Tahiti, and several other locations.

“He was always going somewhere,” Riggs said. “We white water rafted down the Colorado River together twice. What was particularly fun about going with Joe is that he was a geologist, so he could tell you about all the rock structures.”

Nadeau earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in geology. He authored and co-authored over 100 publications in geochemistry research while also working his way up to becoming a dean at Rider. He also served as a member of the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and the evaluation panel for Excellence in Education, which awards scholarships to students seeking careers in science, mathematics and engineering.

Students, faculty and staff members knew him for his passion for the subjects he taught as well as his accessibility and friendliness.

“Joe was the kind of guy who always had an open-door policy,” Riggs said.

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