Rider Mourns two losses in the Sciences

Dr. Bruce Burnham

Dr. Bruce Burnham passed away on April 2 at the age of 51. He was a professor of chemistry in the Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Physics since 1998.

According to Dr. Alexander Grushow, chair of the department, Burnham was involved in researching organic synthesis and medicinal chemistry, which many students worked on with him.


“Many of them have been reaching back to the department over the last several days as the news of his passing has spread through the alumni community,” Grushow said. “It has been quite a wonderful thing to hear from so many of them.”

Burnham’s family is looking to continue his name and presence at Rider.

“At the request of Dr. Burnham’s family we have contacted the Office of University Advancement and they will be accepting donations to create a scholarship fund in Dr. Burnham’s name,” Grushow said. “Anyone wishing to contribute to the fund can send their donation to the Office of University Advancement with a memo indicating the that it should go toward the Burnham scholarship fund.”

Burnham has two sons who survive him and attend college in North Carolina.  A campus memorial is being planned for May.

Colleen Dillon

Colleen Dillon, an administrative specialist in the Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Physics, passed away on April 3 at the age of 55 in Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton. She had been stricken by an aneurysm at her home in Roebling, N.J.

Dillion was born in Munich, Germany. She studied classical guitar and took voice lessons at Westminster Choir College. She began providing administrative, clerical and secretarial support in 2001 to all faculty in the Science and Technology Center, and later worked specifically with the department.


During her time at Rider, she served as a volunteer for outreach events, the lecture series and NCAA tournaments.

She was also a member of The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union and the National Poet’s Society. Dillon won the coveted “Best Dressed Poet Award” from Rider’s 2004 Annual Poetry Slam and Splat.  She is survived by her mother, Joan Weaver; her husband of 29 years, Patrick J. Dillion; and their children, Mary Kate and Sarah.

Dillion’s funeral service took place on April 8 at 11 a.m. at St. Vincent DePaul Church.


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