For Immediate Release

Westminster Faculty Galvanize Efforts to Secure the College’s Future

April 3, 2017

Princeton, NJ — The March 28 announcement by President Gregory Dell’Omo that Rider University would seek a buyer for world-renowned Westminster Choir College [LINK: Rider University to sell nearly century-old Westminster Choir College

http://www.nj.com/mercer/index.ssf/2017/03/rider_university_to_sell_relocate_westminster_choi.html ] produced an unusual reaction by the College’s faculty. Today they met to affirm their values and express their confidence in the future of Westminster. Following the brief ceremony every participant placed a contribution in an envelope addressed to “Secure the Future of Westminster Choir College.” Faculty who were away to concertize or present at national conferences sent donations with their colleagues.

In a statement of faculty unity Joel Phillips spoke of the “fierce loyalty” of Westminster students, alumni, families, and friends [LINK: Group opposed to Westminster Choir College move ups efforts as decision nears http://www.nj.com/mercer/index.ssf/2017/03/group_opposed_to_westminster_choir_college_move_ra.html ] and the strong position Westminster finds itself in today with regards to its finances, enrollment, and prestige, despite Rider’s difficulties. Phillips said the faculty’s affirmation would show potential partners “the indomitable spirit of this place and these people.” Laura Brooks Rice, professor of voice, added, “Westminster Choir College is unique in the world. Our alums share their musical gifts with millions of people every day. Who wouldn’t want to be associated with such excellence?”

The Rider University Board of Trustees have retained consulting firm PWC to help it screen potential partners during the coming months. The faculty statement contained an insistence Westminster deans be involved in all such discussions regarding the future of the College.

Media Contacts

Joel Phillips, Professor of Composition and Music Theory


mobile (6 0 9) 8 5 1 – 3 6 2 7

Laura Brooks Rice, Professor of Voice and Faculty Press Secretary


mobile: (6 0 9) 203-0618

Attachment: Event Transcript

Westminster Faculty Galvanize Efforts to Secure the College’s Future

Event Transcript

Joel Phillips, speaking on behalf of the faculty: Westminster Choir College has been plunged into a sea of negativity not of its own making. There is a mistaken perception Westminster is somehow responsible for Rider University’s current difficulties. It is not.

Today we the faculty of Westminster Choir College reject this negativity and turn instead to the positive, for that is our nature. Westminster has never been on a more solid financial footing. We meet or exceed our enrollment expectations and our 92% retention rate would be the envy of any college. The loyalty of Westminster’s students, alumni, families, and friends is fierce. That is because Westminster welcomes these people as members of a musical family—our family—for life.

These are among the many reasons Westminster deserves the international acclaim it receives. These are among the many reasons thoughtful leaders in Rider’s past had the bold vision to improve the University with the addition of this world-class institution. These are among the many reasons bold, visionary leaders should look to Westminster as their partner today.

To the bold and visionary, we the faculty of Westminster Choir College wish to make clear those in whom we have confidence. Our affirmations demonstrate the essence of who we are and what we value.

First, we are confident in and grateful for our campus leaders, Deans who know the heart of this great College and understand the primacy of its mission, which is to serve the needs of Westminster’s students. Because of this, we insist our Deans be directly involved in all conversations regarding potential partners. Westminster isn’t simply an asset, it is a living thing that comprises people and their aspirations to change the world with their gift of music.

Second, we are confident in and grateful for the leadership of present and former Westminster Board-of-Trustee and Leadership-Council members, donors, families, and friends—people whose countless contributions have helped make Westminster outstanding. Moreover, we are deeply grateful for those individuals who are no longer with us, but whose presence is still felt in our hearts.

Third, we are confident in and grateful for the leadership of the AAUP, University-wide faculty colleagues whose support has enabled the success of Westminster’s mission as well as that of the University at-large.

Fourth, we are confident in and grateful for our present and former students, people who represent the best of what humanity is capable of achieving. Westminster’s excellence is theirs because it is the product of their dedication and labor.

Fifth and finally, we are confident in and grateful for each other—the people of Westminster Choir College—faculty and staff who have given their lives to serving students in what we know to be the best program of its kind in the world.

These things said, who here say they have confidence in the people of Westminster Choir College?

Faculty: We do!

JP: In a world starved for Beauty, Westminster Choir College is a banquet, a veritable feast. Today we offer the remarkable bounty of our gifts to that world. Let it wake up hungry with the desire to fill itself with the indomitable spirit of this place and these people.

Who here say, “We are the people of Westminster Choir College!”?


Faculty: We do!

JP: Who here say, “We will arise!” [ref. Micah 7:8]

Faculty: We do!

JP: Who here believe the truth of our College’s motto, “Let us be judged by our deeds!”?

Faculty: We do!

JP: As the first of many deeds that demonstrate our absolute confidence in the very bright future of Westminster Choir College, who here pledge their support of its students and its mission?

Faculty: We do!

JP: Then in this envelope, let us place these tokens of our commitment to Westminster Choir College before returning to serve our students—the world’s next generation of musical leaders, people who deserve the very best our generation has to offer.

[Faculty place donations in an envelope addressed as follows.

From: 100% of WCC Faculty

To: Secure the Future of Westminster Choir College]


Conclusion of meeting