Tony Whalen, Rider ’97, was known among his family and friends as someone who always went out of his way to give a word of encouragement or lend a hand to a person in need. During college, Whalen became a founding father of SigEp’s New Jersey Zeta chapter at Rider University and also served as president of the Student Government Association.
He later served as the chapter’s alumni and volunteer corporation president (AVC) and received the Volunteer of the Year Award at the Carlson Leadership Academy in 2017 and 2018. From hosting AVC meetings to working with SigEp Headquarters staff to create a database of his home chapter’s members, Whalen enthusiastically threw himself into the role. He was also active in his local community of Bridgewater, New Jersey, serving as a den leader for his sons’ Cub Scout pack and in other roles.
Longtime friend Steve Sutow, ’00, recalls sharing many good times with Whalen, both as undergraduate members and alumni. “Tony was one of the first people I met in college,” he said. “He became my SigEp big brother, my mentor, one of my best friends in life for over 24 years. What he was to me, he was to so many people. Throughout his life, Tony gave so much of himself to others. To those of us lucky to know Tony, his passing was like the ripping of a hole in the universe that cannot ever be filled.”
After earning his bachelor’s degree in political science and Spanish, Whalen went on to earn a master’s in business administration technology and worked for over 17 years for Sanofi, the pharmaceutical company.
Brother and coworker Levi Wilson III, ’99, shared how his friendship with Whalen has affected his life. “Tony was the full embodiment of the lifetime responsibility of brotherhood, always willing to lend a hand and share his knowledge and resourcefulness with anyone willing to listen. From founding our undergraduate chapter, to our sharing in Freemasonry, being coworkers and on the AVC, I am blessed to have called him one of my best friends, my brother, my coworker and my mentor. My life will never be the same without him.”