By Ryan Connelly
After over 30 years of hard work for the Education Opportunity Program (EOP), an academic support program that helps students with financial assistance, former EOP Director Rubin Joyner retired on Jan. 23.
“This is a home away from home, my home is right down the street,” said Joyner. “I was born and raised in Lawrence, I went to school here.”
Joyner began working as the director of EOP in 1989, and was responsible for all aspects of the program. He handled the budget, program creation and lobbying the government to ensure the program received ongoing and proper funding.
“It was a pleasure to work with Rubin,” said Ira Mayo, associate dean of student affairs. “Like most of us, he was juggling a plethora of tasks, but he was always thinking about ways to make things better for students.”
Many of his colleagues have nothing but positive things to say about him.
“It was a pleasure, [knowing Joyner,]” said Evelyn Thomas, current director of EOP. “We both had the best interests of the students in mind, so we had a real meeting of the minds when it came to our work together.”
Joyner had many accomplishments during his time at Rider. One that stood out was the retention rate of the EOP student population. He also brought a lot of additional funding for the students in the program from its state agency. These funds helped students enroll in J-term and summer sessions. Additionally, he brought in funding to support the EOP mentoring program.
“Rubin loved to play basketball, he and I were part of a regular staff game here for over 30 years,” said Mayo.
In the summer, Joyner liked to spend his lunch break working on his jump shot.
“It was actually quite lethal,” said Mayo.
When asked about his jump shot, Joyner jokingly said, “You don’t want none of this. I can’t ball like I could when I was 17, but you don’t want none of this.”
Not only was he a pleasant co-worker, but he was also a great person, according to colleagues.
“The best kind of person. He is genuine, he likes people and likes to get to know people,” said Thomas. “He’s also really funny.”
Rubin attended Rider as an undergraduate in the early 70s. While he was a student, he was part of the Rider Men’s basketball team. During this time, he met a girl named Phyllis, who later on became his wife and the mother of his two daughters.
“My favorite memory at Rider was in 1970, when I met my wife Phyllis,” said Joyner. “She looked like the Queen of Egypt.”
Joyner showed care for the students on the Lawrenceville campus, but he also made sure he showed support for the Westminster Choir College campus (WCC) as well.
“I always appreciated the regard that Rubin held for the students he met at Westminster,” said Thomas. “He has always been in awe of their talent and would support them in any way he could. He made a special point of attending the WCC commencement every year to congratulate the graduates.”
Joyner impacted the students, the faculty and the Rider community as well.
“Over his 30 year career, Rubin impacted thousands of students’ lives and many of them, when they heard about his retirement, reached out to him to tell him how much he and the program meant to them,” said Mayo. “He will be greatly missed for his dedication to the EOP and its students and to Rider as a whole.”