On a frigid and snowy afternoon, Fordham honored 32 of its most loyal employees on March 1 with awards for their longstanding dedication and service to the University community.
At a ceremony held in the new Fordham Law School, 22 members of the faculty received the Bene Merenti award for 20 or 40 years of teaching service. The Archbishop Hughes award went to eight administrators and staff for 20 or 40 years of service.
Three employees received the Sursum Corda award, which recognizes employees for outstanding contributions to the life and mission of the University.
Altogether, the assembled winners represented more than 750 years of service to the University.
Joseph M. McShane, SJ, president of Fordham, thanked the medalists and called them the University’s “joy, light and dear friends.”
Father McShane thanked faculty members for their work of helping their students develop habits that will encourage them to “transform the world.” He described staff members as “the quiet strength of the University who care for, nurture, and protect others from harm, heat and cold.” And just as important, he noted, are the award winners’ families.
“I know that they would agree with me when I say that their service to the University and its students would not be possible without the support and encouragement of their families,” he said asking the spouses to stand and be recognized.
The honorees represented a wide cross-section of the University community. Francis P. Taylor III, academic advisor for student athletes and a recipient of the 20-year Archbishop Hughes award, recalled how he was hired right out of military service to help the transition from the Patriot League into the Atlantic Ten.
His son, who was 5 years old at the start of his Fordham career, recently graduated from the Gabelli School of Business in 2013 and will graduate from Fordham Law School this May.
“The one thing that doesn’t change at Fordham is the idea of educating young men to be women for others, cura personalis, to be searching for their magis, and to take a challenge and be willing to fail,” he said. “Hopefully they succeed many more times than they fall short.”
Linda LoSchiavo, director of University Libraries and a 40-year Archbishop Hughes medalist, marveled at how, in spite of all the changes she’s seen in the cataloguing of information at the University, some things haven’t changed a bit. A 1968 graduate of Thomas More College, LoSchiavo returned to Fordham when she took a job in the Keating Library Annex; she figured it would last five years, tops.
“When I came here, I had a very deep love for Fordham, and that hasn’t changed. I forged friendships 40 years ago at Fordham that still exist to this day,” she said.
“When I got my 20th Archbishop Hughes award, I remember saying at the time, ‘You know, its mathematically possible for me to be here for my 40th,’ but at the time, I thought ‘Yeah, sure.’ But then the years go on, and when I hit 30, I thought, ‘Well you know, this might happen.’ When you get to 35, 36, you can sort of see it out there, and then all the sudden, there it is.”
Rosemary Biddle one of the three Sursum Corda awardees, said she really appreciated Father McShane’s nod to family; Jim Biddle, her husband of 39 years and a cancer and stroke survivor, was in attendance. As office manager, budget director and employee relations officer for the Department of Development and University Relations, she said she was deeply moved and humbled to be singled out—given how many others do “illustrious jobs” at the University.
“I felt honored to be there and to see the backdrop of all the college banners there,” she said. “It was something I didn’t think I’d ever experience in my lifetime at Fordham.”
“When I looked out and saw Jim looking back at me and beaming at me, it was indescribable,” she said.
The full list of winners is below.
Bene Merenti Medal | (20 years)
Norman Berle, Eric C. Chen, Elizabeth B. Cooper, Thomas Daniels, Jeanne M. Flavin, Gautam Goswami, Mark R. Patterson, Gerard Perna, Craig W. Pilant, Chaya Piotrkowski, Howard T. Robinson, Edwin C. Selby, J. Elisabeth Sheehey, Helen Solomon, Michael Tueth, SJ, Benjamin Zipursky
Bene Merenti Medal | (40 years)
Dominic Balestra, William P. Baumgarth, Rita Brause, Barry Goldberg, William Hastings, James A. F. Stoner
Archbishop Hughes Medal | (20 years)
Angela Cioffi, Marjorie Coyne, Linda Rose Farrugia, Michael G. Klein, Monica T. Parra, Shabana Pathan, Francis P. Taylor III
Archbishop Hughes Medal | (40 years)
Sursum Corda Award
Santiago Bautista, Rosemary Biddle, Margaret Cuskley