By Jane Rosenbaum
In November 2022, Rider President Gregory Dell’Omo emailed the Rider community a list of his accomplishments. He was far too modest as there are numbers of other achievements that render his tenure extraordinary—so outstanding in fact that the Board of Trustees has seen fit to extend his contract through the 2024-25 academic year. Those achievements are worth a closer look!
First and foremost, he has all but destroyed Rider’s crown jewel, Westminster Choir College, the Juilliard of choral music, by eliminating key departments, reducing enrollment by at least 400 students and ended its time being the house choir of both the Philadelphia Symphony and the New York Philharmonic.
Second, he is in the processing of revamping the curriculum of a business-forward school by making it impossible to major in economics. He has ended the appeal of what had been a decades-long emphasis on the liberal arts by eliminating art, the ability to major in philosophy (the course of study that often leads to law school) and made a mockery of our claim to offer students a global perspective by making it impossible for them to develop fluency in German, Russian, Italian and even French.
We no longer have an art gallery that attracts important exhibits and exhibitors. Faculty, young and old, who love to teach, along with staff that wanted to be part of a thriving academic community, are leaving in droves because the once vibrant collegial atmosphere that attracted them to campus is no more. It changed in 2015 and has become so depressing and distressing that approximately 15% of an already diminished faculty have opted to call it quits by the end of the 2023-24 academic year.
Not content to be merely fiscally imprudent, he has opted to be financially reckless, spending millions in the hopes of gaining a pittance with the sale of the Princeton campus that does not belong to us and, that will, in the end, be ceded to Princeton Theological Seminary as Sophia Strong Taylor’s bequest demands and as the New Jersey attorney general has agreed must happen.
The $77 million he touts as having been raised during his presidency is far less than the $94 million in inflation-adjusted dollars raised by Bart Luedeke in the 1990s. Is it therefore any wonder that in the 44 years that I have worked at Rider, there have only been two years with cash deficits—both, not surprisingly, occurring during the past seven years of the failed Dell’Omo presidency.
Oh, and before I forget, he has apparently approved the billboards along local highways that make us look like a diploma mill.
President Dell’Omo has certainly enjoyed a tenure filled with extraordinary achievement. He and his Board of Trustee enablers must be so very, very proud.