Rider University renames building to thank alumnus for $5.5 million gift

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A $5.5 million gift, one of the largest individual gifts in Rider University’s history, has resulted in the renaming of North Hall, which is one of the newest classroom buildings on the school’s campus in Lawrenceville.

North Hall has been renamed Lynch Adler Hall in honor of donor Thomas J. Lynch and his lifelong friend, Joseph Adler. Both men graduated from Rider in 1975.

The renaming was announced in a ceremony held outside North Hall on Oct. 17. Lynch and Adler were on hand for the renaming ceremony, which came as a surprise to Adler, according to university officials.

Lynch, who retired as the chief executive officer at TE Connectivity, earned a bachelor’s degree in commerce from Rider. He is the executive chairman of the board of directors of TE Connectivity, which is a Fortune 500 company. He was the chief executive officer from 2006-17.

Adler also earned a bachelor’s degree in commerce and returned to Rider to earn a master’s degree in business administration. He recently retired as vice president and controller at Pinnacle Foods, which makes products that include Birds Eye frozen vegetables and Duncan Hines baking mixes.

The decision to include Adler in the renaming of the building was an easy one, Lynch said.

“There are so many moments in my life that I attribute to Joe Adler,” Lynch said. “It seemed natural that if I was going to do something like this, he had to be a part of it. None of this would have happened without him.”

Lynch said that as a high school student, he did not know where he wanted to go to college, but when Adler said he was going to enroll at Rider, he decided to go there, too. It sounded good to him when he learned his best friend would be attending Rider.

Lynch said he would not have been as successful if he had not attended Rider. He did not realize the potential he possessed until he attended the school, which brought out all of his potential, he said.

“I never would have predicted that 30 years later I would be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. There is no question about it. The education I got at Rider was integral (to my success),” he said.

That is one reason why Lynch donated money to the university. He said he wanted to make sure students such as himself and Adler could receive the same opportunities they did and develop their potential.

“I want to make the opportunity to come to Rider as available as possible. That’s simply how I look at it,” Lynch said.

North Hall, now known as Lynch Adler Hall, is a 21,000-square-foot academic building that was built in 2011. It has nine classrooms, 16 faculty and departmental offices, and a multipurpose conference center.

Lynch’s $5.5 million gift is unrestricted. It will be used for Rider’s greatest fundraising priorities that include building up the school’s endowment, endowed scholarships and capital improvements.

In addition to Lynch’s gift, Rider has received several large donations in recent years. These donations include $3.9 million from Norman Davis, who was a  friend of the university, in 1988. The money was allocated for an endowed faculty chair.

Marion Buckelew Cullen, another friend of the university, gave $5.2 million to the school in 2005. She left an additional $1 million upon her death. The funds were unrestricted and were used in part to build the Marion Buckelew Cullen Center at Westminster Choir College, as well as for scholarships for Westminster students.

In 2008, Franklin B. Moore II, the son of former university President Franklin B. Moore and a 1954 graduate of the school, left $5.4 million to Rider as a bequest. It was used for the university’s greatest fundraising needs at the time.

Earlier this year, the university received $3.2 million from the estate of Jane G. Keller, whose husband, Raymond Keller, graduated from Rider in 1948. The money was designated for unrestricted purposes and for scholarship support.