At $2.35M, Rider receives largest gift in College of Education and Human Services history

Rider University on Friday announced it received a $2.35 million gift through a trust established by James H. McGordy and Elsie Varga McGordy of the Class of 1939. The gift will endow a scholarship benefiting commuter students within the College of Education and Human Services. It will also partially fund a $2,000 annual scholarship for eligible incoming first-year and transfer undergraduate education majors, beginning in fall 2023.

Rider said the couple’s gift is the largest one the College of Education and Human Services has ever received. It also marks the 19th gift of $1 million or more that the university has received since it began its comprehensive fundraising campaign, Transforming Students — Transforming Lives, in July 2017.

“The College of Education and Human Services is very grateful for the generosity of James and Elsie McGordy,” Jason Barr, CEHS dean, said. “Their gift will help encourage those who are committed to pursuing teaching as a profession and will serve to offer a further incentive to enter this rewarding field.”

The McGordys were loyal supporters of the University, consistently contributing to the Annual Fund. Elsie Varga McGordy died in October 2005, followed by her husband in August 2020. Their only child, Elza England, died in August of last year, leaving the remainder of the trust to be split between Rider and Rutgers University.

Elsie McGordy received a Bachelor of Science in education from Rider before earning a master’s in education from Rutgers in 1944. She last worked for Ramapo Indian Hills Regional High School.

James McGordy received a Bachelor of Accounts at Rider before enrolling at Rutgers, where he received a Bachelor of Science in education in 1951 and a master’s degree from its Graduate School of Management in 1957. He is a former chief financial officer for Ingredient Technology Corp., and was one of the original partners of Ernst & Young, spending the majority of his career there before forming McGordy Associates. In 1988, he served on the Joint Insurance Fund.

The $80 million Transforming Students — Transforming Lives campaign, which began quietly five years ago, was publicly launched during the university’s Homecoming Weekend on Oct. 29. The campaign’s priorities are to invest in facilities, to increase scholarship support and build the university’s endowment, and to fuel student success through gifts to the Annual Fund.