In the mid-19th century, Trenton, NJ, was quickly becoming a major industrial capital. Henry B. Bryant and Henry D. Stratton, investors in numerous U.S. business schools, saw the need for a business-oriented university in this boom town. In 1865, they partnered with Andrew Jackson Rider to establish Rider University. A year later, Rider became one of the first higher-education institutions in the nation to enroll women in its business program.
In 1964, Rider moved to its current location in Lawrenceville, NJ. Since then, the small, private university has expanded to four academic colleges and offers more than 60 areas of study for undergraduates.
Today, Rider’s main Lawrenceville campus is still most famous for its business program, especially the College of Business Administration. In an effort to expand beyond its renowned business reputation, Rider merged with the prestigious music school, Westminster Choir College, in 1992.
Rider has a traditional campus, with residence halls and academic buildings in close proximity to each other along the oblong-shaped main quad. Everything is easily accessible in a five-minute walk, with the exception of the athletic fields, which are located at the edge of the campus farthest from the main entrance.
Concrete walkways run through the green lawns, spanning the entire 280-acre campus. The library, student center, and dining halls are located in the middle and are a short walk from a small campus lake that is surrounded by Greek houses.
Though Rider is a fairly small school, the grounds lack the ornate architecture and abundant vegetation of some other private Northeastern colleges. A handful of trees surround most of the buildings, and some students complain they don’t provide enough shady spots for relaxing or studying. The red-brick buildings have no-frills flat roofs and large double-pane windows. On the plus side, there is a pub on campus, which is a welcome retreat for students who don’t feel like driving around Lawrenceville. There is also a movie theater at the student center, where free movies play on Friday and Saturday nights.
The Princeton campus, which houses the Westminster Choir College, is 20 minutes away from the main Lawrenceville location and measures just 23 acres.
Lawrenceville is a small town with a few restaurants, cafes and shops, but it’s not exactly a college town. There are few bars and clubs that cater to the Rider students, who often make the five-minute drive to Princeton, NJ, for the off-campus party experience. Most students agree that a car is necessary in Lawrenceville, especially for grocery shopping or going out, since public transportation is scarce at night.
Rider doesn’t have off-campus apartments, so most parties happen in Greek houses. If students get tired of going out in nearby Trenton and Princeton, they often make the short trip to Philadelphia or New York City, both of which are about an hour away and easily accessible via public transport. Rider’s “suitcase school” reputation is largely due to the fact that most students hail from New York and New Jersey and head home on the weekends.
Rider doesn’t have many unofficial traditions, but sports-related events bring the whole college community together. Every year, at the beginning of Rider’s basketball season, hundreds of students come together for Midnight MAACness. This is a full day of activities geared to introduce students to team players and the coach, followed by a party where everyone wears the Rider school colors, cranberry and white.
John Bundy (1975) is a famous American magician.
James Urban "Jim" Hoey (1903) is a former Baltimore Orioles relief pitcher.
Edward von Kloberg III (1965) is a former lobbyist for many dictators, including Saddam Hussein.
Jeff Kunkel (1997) is a former Texas Rangers and Chicago Cubs shortstop.
Mark S. Schweiker (1983) is a former governor of Pennsylvania.
Basketball is the most popular sport at Rider, and games attract many student fans, regardless of their clique. The Rider Broncs compete in the Division I category. Rider is the only non-Catholic university with teams competing in the DI Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
There are ten women’s and ten men’s competitive teams. Besides basketball, the teams considered the best at Rider are men’s swimming, softball and wrestling, as well as women’s track and field hockey. There is a brand-new indoor track field in the recently constructed Recreation Center, which is staffed with personal trainers.
Intramural and club sports are popular with students who actually stay on campus during the weekends. There is a dance major at Rider, and the dance team is among the most popular club sport. Equestrian, hockey, ultimate Frisbee and golf are among the dozen club and intramural teams.
ESPN sportscaster Digger Phelps is a Rider alum. He played basketball for the university from ’59-‘63.
Students aren’t allowed to walk around with plastic cups in Rider’s halls.
Under the new president, Rider housing went from being guaranteed for all four years to only being guaranteed to freshmen and sophomores.
Housing is only guaranteed for freshmen and sophomores. The university has recently built a few apartment and suite-style residence halls, which everyone hopes to draw into during the lottery process. Most of the dorms lack air conditioning, but students are allowed to bring their own AC units. Between 55 and 60 percent of students live on campus; others rent from local landlords. The university does not own or operate any off-campus housing.
Lawrenceville campus – There are twelve residence halls and six fraternity and sorority houses, most on the North side of campus. Ridge, University House, and Poyda dorms surround the lake, as do the Greek houses. Students can choose from single-sex or coed dorms. Although most students aren’t thrilled about the size and quality of their dorm room, they can choose to live in specially-allocated quiet floors or wellness floors, as well as floors designated for freshmen, science majors, or undeclared majors. Students usually hang out in their hall’s TV lounge or recreation room. There is also free laundry in the basement of each hall.
Princeton campus – Unlike the Lawrenceville campus administration, the Westminster Choir College requires freshmen and sophomores to live on campus. With the recent overcrowding, freshmen are often tripled in dorms, but they are given a 15 percent-per-week housing rebate to compensate for being “tripled.” There are no single rooms available. Students can choose from co-ed or single-sex housing options. Fitting for a music school, each residence hall has its own practice rooms. There are three residence halls on the Princeton campus: Seabrook, Dayton and Ithaca halls.
Seabrook is the largest hall and has traditional dorm rooms with shared floor bathrooms. The first and third floors are for women only, and men live on the second floor. Only the first floor has a common lounge/practice area.
Dayton and Ithaca are co-ed suites. They are connected to Princeton Hall, which houses the Westminster Conservatory. All suites have three rooms, and two suites share a bathroom. All floors have a common lounge/practice area.