Rider alumni speak out in support of President Dell’Omo
By Alex Solomon and Alexis Bailey
Leadership is rarely easy. The larger and more impactful the scope of the operation that one leads, the harder the task of leading becomes. Leading a university, one with over 150 years of history, is far from easy. The president of a university, its leader, is responsible to a number of people. At Rider, President Dell’Omo is duty-bound to Rider’s 4,630 students, hundreds of faculty and hundreds more staff members. This is no small task, nor is it an easy one. President Dell’Omo has faced both expected and unprecedented challenges in his tenure, and Rider has survived these challenges not in spite of his leadership, but because of it.
Leading means making difficult decisions. President Dell’Omo’s six and a half years at Rider have been chock-full of those. Making tough, unpopular choices for the good of Rider University is something that he has excelled at. No one wanted to see 13 majors cut in 2015 or 20 employees laid-off, but President Dell’Omo was willing to do what needed to be done to address the budget deficit that he inherited when he came to Lawrenceville. No one wanted to see Westminster Choir College move its home, but it made sense, and we are hopeful it will continue to make more and more sense in the future. At the current moment in time, no one wants to see voluntary, or involuntary, separations – or “right-sizing” – but it is what must be done for the good of Rider above any one group.
Under President Dell’Omo, Rider welcomed its most diverse class of students ever and launched an inclusive excellence plan. On a fiscal note, during the 2017-2018 school year, Rider set a new fundraising record. The next year, the university surpassed that record. Under President Dell’Omo, Rider has also received multiple individual gifts that were record-setting. President Dell’Omo has also led Rider through campus renovations that have modernized the university while adding new areas of study to make Rider more competitive in today’s environment. During the Dell’Omo administration, Rider also launched a job or grad school guarantee for all graduates.
Rider University is in danger. The changes that are going on right now are not first choices, they are last (or near-last) resorts. Has President Dell’Omo, or Rider under his leadership, been perfect? No, they have not, but we firmly believe that if Rider did not have someone like Gregory Dell’Omo at the helm, the conversations being had right now would be far worse, and the consequences for Rider far more drastic. The problems that his administration was working to solve were exacerbated by a pandemic that hit independent institutions of higher education as hard, or harder, than almost any other sector, yet his administration continues to work to right the ship.
When the going gets tough, the tough get going, and Rider is lucky that President Dell’Omo is tough, smart and responsible to the university. It is readily apparent that, while President Dell’Omo is not outwardly confrontational, he doesn’t make decisions for the university based on their popularity, but rather based on what must be done for the good of Rider and every member of our community. If the faculty decides that they have lost their confidence in President Dell’Omo so be it, but these two Broncs remain on his side, and we urge Rider’s Board of Directors to do the same.
Alex Solomon ’19 and Alexis Bailey ’19
Alex Solomon graduated Rider in 2019 and was the treasurer of his graduating class, along with receiving Rider’s Leadership Legacy Award. Alexis Bailey graduated Rider in the winter of 2019 and was a Trustee Scholar and a graduate of the Baccalaureate Honors Program. Both are members of Rider’s Broncs of the Last Decade (BOLD) Alumni Council.
Originally printed in the 2/09/22 issue