According to a College of Continuing Studies (CCS) brochure, “When Rider opened its doors 144 years ago, Civil War veterans comprised most of the inaugural class.”
According to Michael Rosati, a CCS student and veteran of seven years of active duty with the U.S. Coast Guard, “Today, one in 12 Americans is a veteran and, given the increasing use of the Yellow Ribbon Program to support the education of those who have served since 9/11, the number of veterans joining the Rider community will continue to increase. Most of the Rider community is related to or knows a veteran — a parent, sibling, relative, neighbor or classmate.”
Rider University is an active participant in the Yellow Ribbon Program, which offers men and women returning to civilian life from service in America’s current wars cost-free attendance through enhanced tuition benefits and supplemental scholarships and grants provided by participating colleges and universities.
With approximately 50 Rider students attending this university on veteran’s benefits, and an anticipated increase in ex-military matriculants, a group of some 20 Rider faculty, staff and students have formed the Rider University Veterans Association (RUVA). With its application for recognition currently pending with the Student Government Association, RUVA intends to be open to all members of the university community who share an interest in veterans’ issues, whether or not they served in one of the five armed services. RUVA’s faculty advisers are Dr. Gary Brosvic, Dr. Jim Castagnera and Dr. Shawn Kildea. Administrator/adviser Greg Hanf and assistant CCS Dean Karen Crowell are also among the organization’s founders.
According to the organization’s first president, senior Keyon Bonner, “Our mission is to assist student-veterans in their transition to student life in every way we legitimately can. RUVA’s activities will be a combination of socializing and networking opportunities, as well as helping vets connect with available support services that they might not locate so easily on their own. We also plan to sponsor events that spotlight the contributions service men and women are making.”
RUVA’s first such event will be a brief noontime ceremony in the main lobby of the Student Recreation Center, honoring Rider sophomore Andre Thomas, who is a cadet in the Princeton/TCNJ/Rider Reserve Officer Training Corps, headquartered on the Princeton University campus. The Nov. 11 Rider event will include brief remarks by Lt. Col. John R. Stark, Ph.D., commanding officer of the ROTC unit, and Provost Donald Steven. The Rider community is invited to attend the half-hour ceremony and light refreshments will be served.
– Jim Castagnera, Associate Provost, Academic Affairs
and Gary Brosvic, Professor of Psychology