By Theresa Evans
Honoring the friendship of alumni Thomas Lynch, ’75, and Joseph Adler, ’75, ’90, the renaming of North Hall ceremony took place on Oct. 17 outside of the academic building.
After donating $5.5 million to Rider, Lynch named the building Lynch Adler Hall and presented it as a surprise to his “lifelong” friend Adler.
“I’m so deeply honored because, you know, Tom is my best friend,” said Adler. “We’ve done a lot to help each other over the years and my family also has a history here. It’s just thrilling.”
Karin Seidel-Klim, vice president for university advancement, began the ceremony by informing the audience that the 2017-2018 year was the university’s “most successful fundraising year.”
“This great success was due to the generosity of many individuals who care deeply about Rider,” said Seidel-Klim. “Among these individuals is a Board of Trustees member, Tom Lynch, who is here with us today.”
Seidel-Klim introduced Lynch and told the Rider community of his great successes.
Lynch is the former CEO of TE Connectivity, an engineering company, and is now the chairman of its board of directors. He sits on various other boards including the Franklin Institute and Conwell Egan Catholic High School, which had its 2018 senior graduation in Rider’s Student Recreation Center.
Lynch and his wife co-founded the Danaher Lynch Family Foundation that serves to “help unleash the potential of the people in our community,” according to Seidel-Klim.
Lynch spoke of his friendship with Adler and credited Adler for his own successes.
Adler became Lynch’s tutor when he moved to Philadelphia in 1967, which lead to a 52-year friendsip.
“Four years [after the frienship began,] another significant event happened in my life because Joe Adler asked me to go out on a double date with him,” said Lynch. “I didn’t have a girlfriend at the time. I was working at a place where I kind of had my eye on this girl, who is sitting in the front row here, Patty Danaher, and I ask her if she would like to go to the Phillies game with my buddy and his date and, 47 years later, we’re still together. So, you see why I like to hang around with Joe Adler.”
When it came time to choose a college, young Lynch had his mind made up.
“I’m going to go where Joe goes,” said Lynch. “And Joe is going to Rider.”
Like Adler, Lynch was an accounting major at Rider.
“So we went to Rider,” said Lynch. “It did really change my life because I was an average student in high school and I had no idea what I wanted to do. [Rider] gave me a spectacular education and it unleashed my potential.”
Lynch credited the education he received at Rider for his success.
“We wanted to make a significant commitment to Rider for all the reasons I just told you,” said Lynch.
Lynch was not initially fond of putting his name on a building until he had the idea to honor Adler.
Lynch asked Adler to join him in front of the audience for the revealing of the new name.
“There’s no way we would have been talking about putting my name on a building if Joe Adler wasn’t in my life for the last 52 years, so thank you, Joe,” said Lynch.
Olivia Battinelli, senior class president, spoke at the ceremony and presented Lynch and Adler with framed photos of the Student Government Association outside of Lynch Adler Hall holding up signs that spelled out “Thank you.”
Similarly to Lynch, Battinelli was influenced to attend Rider by her friend Marissa Galletti ’17.
“When I learned about Mr. Lynch’s planned naming for North Hall and his desire to recognize his friend Mr. Adler, I was deeply moved — not only by his philanthropic gift to Rider but because of the love and friendship he is showing to his friend,” said Battinelli. “It’s that strong sense of respect and community that binds so many of us at Rider. I hope that, one day, I can name a building for Marissa and me.”
President Gregory Dell’Omo spoke at the ceremony and commemorated both Lynch and Battinelli’s stories of friendship.
“With Tom’s gift to Rider, in the naming of Lynch Adler hall, it feels in many ways that we have come full circle,” said Dell’Omo. “Rider is the university that it is because of the cumulative talent and success of the students, faculty, staff, alumni and the community. I have heard time and time again from alumni across the country that Rider provided them with a transformative experience. As we celebrate today’s dedication, I would like to thank Tom and Patty for their wonderful, transformative contribution that will help us achieve Rider’s strategic goals.”
Lynch told The Rider News that he has never been able to surprise Adler throughout their friendship, so, succeeding at the surprise was enjoyable.
“It’s really a great feeling [to honor our friendship] because he’s meant so much to me my whole life,” said Lynch. “I followed him basically my whole life. Some of the major decisions I’ve made were based on what he suggested or what he did, so it was the least I could do.”