Donna Rapaccioli, Ph.D., has been appointed the dean of Fordham’s unified undergraduate and graduate business programs, renamed the Gabelli School of Business. The school will be housed across two campuses: in Hughes Hall on the Rose Hill campus, and at Lincoln Center, in the former Law School building and at 45 Columbus Avenue, one of which will be named Joseph A. Martino Hall, after Fordham’s longtime vice president, member of the Lay Board of Trustees and executive council, and honorary degree recipient.
“It would be hard to overemphasize the importance of the business schools’ unification,” said Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham. “Having a single school led by the very capable Dean Rapaccioli will mean a better education for both graduate and undergraduate students, and putting both schools under the Gabelli name makes Fordham business more recognizable, nationally and internationally. In this we are grateful to Mario Gabelli not just for his great generosity, but for his vision and dedication to Fordham.”
Rapaccioli has been interim dean of the graduate business school since July 2014, dean of the undergraduate business school since 2007, and dean of the business faculty since 2010. She worked with faculty, staff, alumni volunteers, and donors during the unification process, not just on administrative and curricular issues, but on raising the funds needed to elevate the school’s profile. The latter effort was led by Mario J. Gabelli, GSB ’65, who in 2010 gave his name and the largest gift in Fordham’s history to the undergraduate business college. He has also funded the Gabelli Ph.D. Program, which will establish a doctoral-level business program at Fordham’s Gabelli School of Business.
“One school. One dean. One name,” said Stephen Freedman, Ph.D., provost of the University. “Dean Rapaccioli has done an excellent job of joining the two schools in a way that ensures we maximize our resources and give our stellar business faculty the support they need in and out of the classroom. The unification puts Fordham in a position to lead the way in business education in the 21st century.”
The unified school will emphasize innovation in faculty research and teaching, academic excellence, and preparing students to make a difference in the business world. Rapaccioli led the implementation of a distinctive hands-on core curriculum at the undergraduate business school; redefined the full-time MBA curriculum to feature the intersection of business, history, and culture in New York City; and is laying the groundwork for a Ph.D. program that will help to attract world-class faculty and promising future scholars. The unification will also allow greater academic collaboration and alumni interaction between business and other Fordham schools, adding greater depth to teaching and research.
“It’s an exciting time to be part of the business program at Fordham,” Rapaccioli said. “Whether you’re a student or faculty member, there will be new opportunities for research, teaching and learning, and for activities that complement the business curriculum. I’m very proud to work with such accomplished faculty, students, alumni—and of course Mario Gabelli himself—on making concrete our vision for a new way to educate business leaders at Fordham.”
The Gabelli School’s new home in the former Law building and at 45 Columbus Avenue will make business education much more visible at the Lincoln Center campus, with instructional, office, and multi-use space. The old Law School building will house both the graduate business school and the new Bachelor of Science in Global Business program, whose first class of 81 students started in August 2014.
“The foundations of our country include the rule of law, the free market system and meritocracy,” Mario Gabelli said. “Education generates the underpinning for meritocracy. My focus on education is my way of giving back to our society and way of life.”