Listening to Fordham’s choir sing “Silent Night,” Joseph M. McShane, SJ, president of Fordham, said that the hymn conjures memories of a particular time and place.
“The song brings about remembrances of Christmases past,” he said, “the most wonderful tastes, smell, and memories you’ve ever had. It’s the national anthem of the season.”
Father McShane made the remarks at the annual President’s Club Christmas Reception, held at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater on Nov. 30.
He joined with alumni and friends to ring in the holiday season and to celebrate an extraordinary couple of years of growth and change at Fordham, much of it happening just behind the Koch Theater at the school’s Lincoln Center campus. This year marked the new Law School’s first full year or operation, and a new wave of construction has begun on the expanding Gabelli School of Business, to open its new space in 2016.
“I always wondered why a Gabelli School wasn’t in Manhattan,” said Patrick L. Tighe III, FCLC ’10, GABELLI ’11, adding that it is still “important that the Fordham College at Lincoln Center continues its tradition of being a liberal arts college,” offering classes in the arts, such as theatre and dance programs that are two of its hallmarks.
The annual President’s Club event draws approximately 1,000 alumni and friends from all campuses, past and present, to celebrate the University’s mission—although for some, the celebration of things past can no longer be pegged to a place.
Jane M. Shaw, UGE ’52, said she loved “going downtown to campus”—302 Broadway—where Fordham once held classes in an office building. She said she’s been coming to the President’s Reception for 20 years.
Nearby, a group of Marymount alumnae shared a laugh and reminisced about their former Tarrytown campus. Kristine L. Welker, MC ’88, said that the spirit lives on at Fordham through the alumnae legacy scholarship that goes to female students with a relative who is a Marymount alumnae.
“I’m a huge believer in the power of the female network and I think that the men here at Fordham are supporting women as much as women are,” said Welker.
Stanley J. Pruszynski, FCRH ’73, said that while Rose Hill remains for him an oasis in the city, the emphasis on service is something that “translates across all campuses.”
Robert F. Wetjen, GABELLI ’59, took the idea a step further calling Fordham spirit something that happens by “transference or osmosis.” But, still, Fordham memories for him are tied to a particular place, namely “those nooks and crannies” at Duane Library where students could cloister themselves and study.
John J. McCombe, GABELLI ’82, said that while the new buildings on both campuses are welcome and important, a University is much more than a place.
“It’s so beautiful around Lincoln Center and we’ve already got that going for us,” he said. “But it’s about the teaching, the feel, and the culture you create with the student body, which is worth much more than the physical plant.”