A celebration in the Campbell Atrium of the William D. Walsh Family Library marked the dedication and official opening of the Fordham Museum of Greek, Etruscan and Roman Art Thursday evening on the Rose Hill Campus.
On hand to preside over the ribbon-cutting ceremony was alumnus William D. Walsh (FCRH ’51) who, along with his wife Jane Walsh, donated the 260-plus ancient artifacts that comprise the new collection. In addition to this latest gift of rare antiquities, it was Walsh’s gift of $10 million more than a decade ago that helped build the library that bears his name.
“Today we gather in this magnificent library, the center of university life, to celebrate yet another gift that Bill and Jane Walsh give to us,” Joseph M. McShane, president of Fordham, told a gathering that included University trustees, representatives from the city’s cultural and political institutions, faculty, staff, students and members of the Walsh family. “I want them to know that whenever a student comes into the Walsh Family Library and the Museum, their lives will be enriched beyond measure by art that touches our hearts, engages our minds and consoles our spirits—all because of the generosity and great love that that Bill and Jane Walsh have for Fordham.”
Walsh, a longtime benefactor of the University and the founder and general partner of Sequoia Associates, began collecting ancient art based on a lifelong interest in the classics that took root during his youth when he studied both Greek and Latin. He said that he wanted to leave the collection to Fordham to be used as a teaching tool for students and to be available for public display.
“Here we honor a collection of art done by people long since gone but who tried to express themselves in their painting not on walls, but on vases on jars and in statuaries,” Walsh said. “I hope it will be very inspirational and energizing.
“If you are a classics major or minor, as I was, you can’t get a feel for classics in books alone,” Walsh said. “Seeing [the objects]gives people a feel for it.”
Following a ceremonial ribbon cutting, Father McShane welcomed those in attendance into the 4000-square-foot space, the Library’s former periodical reading room. Objects in the collection range from 10th century B.C. to 3rd century A.D., and include ancient Greek vases, coins, Etruscan pottery, and a selection of Roman sculpture, among others.
John N. Tognino, chair of the Fordham University Board of Trustees, and Jennifer Udell, curator of University art, also spoke at the dedication.