WCC transition and comencement focus of SGA town hall with Dell’Omo

By Lauren Minore

The Student Government Association hosted a town hall featuring President Gregory Dell’Omo and other administrators to inform members of the campus community about updates related to the transition of Westminster Choir College (WCC) onto the Lawrenceville campus, among other things, on Feb. 11 in the Student Recreation Center Seminar Room.

“This was a decision that the Board of Trustees, the administration and others, were actively involved in for the last three years in studying the issue,” Dell’Omo said in his opening statements. “In fact, this has been a discussion at Rider University for a number of years, ever since Rider took over Westminster back in 1991, 1992. Always this idea, how do you really consolidate these two entities and make it work economically, academically, profile-wise.”

Dell’Omo acknowledged that there were economic reasons behind the decision to consolidate the two campuses.

“It’s not like WCC was purely an off-site location, it is a fully-operational campus,” Dell’Omo said.

“With, as you know, library, residence hall, student life, academic buildings, and so forth, and it’s only six miles away from the Lawrenceville campus. Economically, that just does not make sense, in terms of running two fully-operational campuses six or seven miles apart.”

Dell’Omo went on to further discuss Westminster College of the Arts, established in 2007, which serves as an umbrella that majors on both campuses fall under, including WCC majors and School of Fine and Performing Arts majors, and the college’s impact on Rider’s profile.

“When you think about the profile of Rider University and the rise of our academic programs, and you know the strengths we have at this university going back to our heritage business school, and getting involved over the years in education, the sciences, liberal arts, and more recently, performing arts,” Dell’Omo said. “There is a very vibrant performing arts program on this campus.”

Vice President for Student Affairs Leanna Fenneberg also provided updates about the Inclusive Excellence Plan, which was launched in fall 2019, followed by Vice President for Facilities and University Operations Michael Reca.

Reca discussed major building renovations to aid in the transition of WCC from the Princeton campus, detailing changes to Moore Library, Gill Chapel and the Fine Arts building, among others.

Another major topic discussed at the event, once the format opened up the floor to student questions, was the undergraduate, graduate and doctorate commencement ceremonies, which will be combined into one single ceremony this year. Senior Class President and senior political science major Charles Palmer opened up the topic during the discussion.

“Speaking with a lot of my peers, a lot of them have asked about commencement,” Palmer said.

“Recently, they’ve combined like the undergraduate and graduate ceremony. A lot of students weren’t like aware of it, even though an email did go out, so can we just touch upon the reasoning behind it.” Dell’Omo said, “We want to make sure we do it in a way that allows us to celebrate the sort of uniqueness of each area, undergraduate, continuing… and graduate.”

Dell’Omo said this was the first year Rider was graduating doctorate students and that “the numbers allowed us this year to be able to combine” the ceremonies.

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