Letter to the Editor: Not-so-new building deserves name

The housing collapse currently crushing the United States doesn’t seem to be affecting the housing market on the Lawrenceville campus. Buildings seem to be springing up from the ground and older residence halls are getting flashy makeovers.

The newest building is getting pieced together brick by brick and will be a welcome addition to the “green” atmosphere Rider is trying to create on both campuses. With an expected completion date of May 2009, West Village, as Rider has been calling it, will consist of two buildings that will house 152 residents. Not even completed yet, this residence hall already has a name.

It’s a different story across campus. Already in its fourth year, New Building isn’t so new anymore. It’s time for Rider to get its act together and finally give the building a respectable name.

The university has three options in naming the building: find a donor to donate millions of dollars toward naming it, name the building after a former professor or employee, or hold a naming contest that the entire Rider community can take part in.

Rider has been trying for some time to court potential donors. It has secured big money in the past for construction and other projects. Three years later, however, it doesn’t seem as if anyone is interested in enshrining their name into eternity.

According to the Rider Web site, of all the named buildings on campus, only three are named after benefactors: P.J. Ciambelli Hall (Office of Admissions), Kroner Hall and the Vona Academic Annex.

The rest of the buildings are named after important people in Rider’s history. The Bart Luedeke Student Center is named after a former president, while Daly’s is named after Peter F. Daly, the manager of dormitories and the cafeteria when Rider was still located in Trenton and during the early years after the move to the Lawrenceville campus.

As far as residence halls go, they were named for Rider dignitaries. Gee Hall was named for Bernice A. Gee, the first treasurer of the college; Olson Hall was dedicated to Leonard A. Olson, Rider’s first provost; and Poyda Hall was named for Alexander R. Poyda, a former member of the faculty and dean of the evening school.

The naming contest may be the best option. It gives a fresh prospective to the school and will be a democratic way of changing the university in a positive way. Rider can even invite alumni to vote in this process.

Who knows who may be picked? It may be a former professor who has touched the lives of many in a profound way. It may be a former student who has gone on to do great things.

Maybe an alum will pony up the money, but then again, maybe he or she won’t. But the fact is, New Building isn’t so new anymore. It needs a new name.

— Jeff Frankel
Class of 2008

Editor’s note: The writer accurately notes that only three benefactors are listed on the university’s Web site listing of buildings on the Lawrenceville campus (www.rider.edu/139_8774.htm). The list is out of date, not mentioning the three-year-old New Building, the three-year-old SRC or a fourth building named for a benefactor, Sweigart Hall.

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