For John Gualtiere (GSB ’91), the fact that Homecoming fell on a perfect fall day meant only one thing—it was time for a family outing.
“We wanted the kids to see a good game of football and have some fun,” said Gualtiere, who brought his wife, a 1992 Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH) alumna; sister-in-law, a FCRH alumna from 1988; and 12 children to the Rose Hill campus.
“It’s a great day for Fordham. Why not bring half a football team with us?” Gualtiere quipped as he tossed a football to his sons and nephews. “Hopefully they’ll be Fordham Rams someday.”
Members of the Gualtiere clan were among thousands of Fordham friends and alumni who attended Homecoming on Sept. 25. While the Rams’ football efforts fell short—with a 30-24 loss to Assumption College—spirits were high, and the sunny, 80-degree weather provided the perfect backdrop for a fun-filled day.
Children enjoyed face painting and the “Little Ram Fun Park,” which included an inflatable rock-climbing wall and moon bounce.
Alumni and their families enjoyed catching up with friends—old and new—in a large tent set up on Edwards Parade.
Joanne Conrad and husband, Andrew (FCRH ’66), said they attend Homecoming every year. This year, they celebrated in a tent at the top of the Keating Hall steps. Set up by the Class of 1966, the tent was adorned with photos from their days at Fordham as well as mood rings, 1960s-style sunglasses and Fordham paraphernalia.
“It’s been great. We wanted to continue the tradition by bringing our neighbors and their daughter, who graduated Fordham College at Rose Hill in 2009,” Joanne Conrad said. “We met people that my husband didn’t know when he came here and had some wonderful conversations with them.”
Conrad, a Yonkers resident, said her husband is a retired high school teacher who enjoys actively participating at Fordham events.
“He comes back to the Rose Hill and Lincoln Center campuses for lectures all the time,” she said. “He still considers himself part of the Fordham spirit because he makes sure he takes advantage of what Fordham has to offer both students and alumni.”
There is little doubt that Homecoming makes for a memorable weekend at Rose Hill. Undergraduates begin celebrating the night before the game at the annual President’s Ball, which this year was held in the Lombardi Field House and drew nearly 3,000 students.
On Saturday, pre-game festivities included food and drinks inside the tents, a halftime dedication for football alumni and Mass at the University Church after the game.
Tradition is what brings many alumni back to campus. Gerard Pelisson (UGE ’65, GSAS ’67) attended Homecoming to “pay tribute to Fordham.”
“It’s a beautiful campus. There’s great spirit here,” Pelisson said. “I like to be part of something bigger than me.”
Pelisson graduated from Fordham with alumnus Mario Gabelli, who recently gave $25 million to the College of Business Administration (CBA).
CBA, now named the Gabelli School of Business (GSB), held a celebratory brunch in a tent next to Hughes Hall, where the school officially kicked off its $60 million fundraising effort that is part of the University’s $500 million campaign.
“I think it’s great,” Pelisson said of Fordham’s growth. “Fordham is wonderful and it deserves great credit for staying in the Bronx.”
Robert Quinn (FCRH ’66) agreed.
“It has grown tremendously even from when my daughter graduated from here in 1995,” he said. “The culture of the campus is alive 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“It’s why my daughter came [to Fordham], and her son will come here. He’s only 11, but he knows where he’s going.”