Over the past month, as Rider’s new president, I have had the good fortune of hearing the phrase “Welcome to Rider” from countless students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends. In fact, everyone I have met has offered me a genuinely warm and kind reception. I am particularly grateful for the welcome I have received from The Rider News staff, which has generously allowed me this space to extend my own heartfelt greetings to you.
The start of a new semester is always an exciting time. Whether you are new to Rider, a returning undergraduate, continuing studies or graduate student, you may feel a mix of emotions right now — exhilaration, anticipation, eagerness and maybe even a little anxiety. As someone who is now beginning his 42nd year facing a brand new semester, I can tell you that those feelings are normal, and as the new president, I confess I am also experiencing excitement tinged with nervous energy as I face my own new beginning at Rider.
While you unpack your boxes, get settled in the residence hall, set up your desk and try to figure out where your first class will be held, rest assured I am engaged in similar activities. My wife, Polly, and I moved into our new home just a few weeks ago, and we are still unpacking and getting organized. I took extensive tours of both campuses during my first week here, so I would know where to find everything, and to see where we have opportunities to improve all of our living and learning environments.
At the same time, coming to Rider is a lot like coming home. Both Polly and I were born and raised in New Jersey, and still have many friends and family throughout the Garden State. So, when I was offered the opportunity to lead Rider, I was eager to return and build on all that has been achieved here, while helping to steer the university toward its next level of excellence.
Over the next few months, with your insights and that of others, a new vision for Rider will unfold, including a strategic plan that will chart our university’s course for the future.
To start, I want us to focus on developing a vibrant living and learning community that encompasses a holistic approach to the university experience. Along with the highest academic standards provided by committed faculty, I am looking for ways to enhance your daily experiences and to create opportunities for an engaged and dynamic campus environment that will stay with you for the rest of your lives.
I want to make sure all students have access to the best opportunities for internships, co-ops, unique in-class experiences, social activities, community service, arts and entertainment, study abroad, and athletics. And I want you to take advantage of all the options that stretch out before you. These so-called “extras” are truly essential for each and every one of you to get the most out of your educational experience.
In short, I want to help build a strong sense of community at Rider, and I want all of you to help join with me to make this our university.
When you see me on campus, please stop and say hello, and I will do the same. Until then, best wishes for a successful, enlightening and enjoyable semester.
–Gregory G. Dell’Omo
Printed in the 09/09/15 issue