Rider holds virtual dedication for Thomas ‘70 and Tina Mulhare patio

By Tatyanna Carman and Sean Cavanaugh

A virtual dedication was live-streamed on YouTube for the Thomas and Tina Mulhare Patio, outside of Sweigart Hall, on Nov. 12 at 11:30 a.m. 

Along with naming the patio, Thomas Mulhare ‘70 became an annual giver to the university and created the Thomas and Tina Mulhare endowed scholarship, which will “support students with financial needs studying any major,” according to Rider President Gregory Dell’Omo. 

Thomas and Tina Mulhare gave a $600,000 contribution to the university. According to a university press release, of the $600,000 donation, $185,000 will “offset costs associated with the construction of the patio,” $100,000 will go to the endowed scholarship and $215,000 will go to the annual fund.

Dell’Omo said that the Mulhares’ donation came in handy during COVID-19. He said that the annual fund “helps underwrite our COVID safety equipment, as well as university-funded scholarships for students.” The couple gave their gift last year and the university planned to celebrate this past spring, however, could not as a result of the pandemic.

Junior marketing major Lily Blair spoke on the importance of the endowed scholarship for students and her gratitude toward their generosity. She explained that she would not be at Rider if it were not for her receiving scholarships.

“The same goes for most of the students that you see on campus,” Blair said. “Of course, money doesn’t grow on trees. So these scholarships have to come from somewhere, and many of them are a result of the generosity of people like the Mulhares. I am extremely confident that the new scholarship the Mulhares have created will positively change the lives of several students for years to come.”

Blair also said that in a time where people cannot gather indoors, having amenities like the patio is “more important than ever before.” Tina Mulhare shared that an important part of the college experience is engaging with people and that they hope the patio “fosters that experience, whether people come together to work on a project, problem, solve, brainstorm, or just even have a conversation about situations that are happening in their lives.”

Lily Blair, a junior marketing major, unveiled the plaque with the new name of the patio.

Thomas Mulhare said that the thank you notes both he and his wife received from the scholarship recipients changed them forever.

“This recipient told us of their struggle to get to Rider, to stay at Rider and how our gift allowed them to complete their education at Rider,” he said. “That’s when we realized how impactful and rewarding a gift could be. So when the Capital Campaign came up, we really wanted to make sure we did something that was impactful.”

When asked about the details of the Capital Campaign, Denise Pinney, associate vice president of campaign operations and director of corporate and foundation relations, said that Rider is beginning the fourth year of “the quiet phase” of a multi-year comprehensive campaign called Transforming Students-Transforming Lives, which has a goal of $80 million.

“The quiet phase precedes the public phase and provides an opportunity to seek some 60-80% of the Campaign goal from among its most generous donors before inviting everyone to participate by making contributions,” Pinney said. “Campaign priorities include building our endowment, primarily through endowed scholarships; investing in our facilities; supporting the Annual Fund; and investing in Rider’s future through planned gifts.” 

Thomas Mulhare is also a member of the Rider board of trustees. Former board of trustee member and chairman Michael Kennedy ‘72, ‘75 said that he got to know him best when they served together on the board for several years. 

“For me, Tommy epitomizes the successful Rider alumnus. He’s not only smart in a professional success, he’s a well-rounded individual, with a lovely family, many interests, and a great sense of humor. Even more so, he’s one of those people who has the respect of everyone around him,” Kennedy said. “I noticed from the beginning when I first met him that people listen to Tom. They seek his counsel because he’s articulate, level-headed, and thoughtful.”

The dedication began and ended with two songs featuring vocalist James Harris, a current senior and pianist Tyler Weakland ‘16. They sang “On the Street Where You Live” from “My Fair Lady.” Dell’Omo indicated in his remarks that they chose to include a performance in the dedication ceremony because the Mulhares’ supported the Westminster College of the Arts.

Thomas ‘70 and Tina Mulhare speak on the patio that was named after the couple after they donated $600,000 to the university on Nov. 12.

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