Students from Fordham College at Rose Hill, Fordham College at Lincoln Center, the Gabelli School of Business, and the School of Professional and Continuing Studies shared their thoughts, hopes, and memories on Commencement Day.
Jesuit Educated: Caring for the Whole Person
For Fordham College at Rose Hill friends Dylan Hakim and Laura Rose Kelly, Fordham was a transformative experience.
“We have lived so many lives and undergone so much change over the past four years,” said Kelly, a digital technologies and emerging media major and Italian minor from Western Springs, Illinois. “I feel very grateful to be here and to have a normal graduation after so much change and so many moments when we were unsure.”
Hakim, who earned a degree in mathematics with a double minor in philosophy and computer science, said that he feels like he’s become a more well-rounded person.
“People told me when I was going to college, I was gonna learn how to be a person. And I did not believe it because I thought I was already one,” he said.
But Hakim said that the Fordham ideals of cura personalis, or care of the whole person, and eloquentia perfecta, or clear expression for the common good, helped him on his way to becoming “complete.”
Hakim will be teaching math in the Bronx through the NYC Teaching Fellows program, and Kelly will be a marketing coordinator at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.
Enhancing Asian American Culture
Finding a community at Fordham was essential to Fordham College at Rose Hill graduates Maleiya Lorenzo and Arthur Ze An Liu. The two met through their work with multiple Asian clubs and organizations on campus; Lorenzo was vice president of FUPAC (Fordham University Philippine-American Club) and Liu led the Asian Cultural Exchange Club.
“I think for me, the sense of community, and being connected to my culture has been a really big part of college for me,” said Lorenzo, who majored in communications with a concentration in film and TV and a minor in biology. “My favorite club event ever is called Simbang Gabi, which is a Christmas event.”
Liu, who is from Hong Kong, said that he found a second home in New York.
“The culture shock was the toughest part, and that’s a legit phenomenon that people experience,” said Liu, who double majored in economics and political science and double minored in accounting and philosophy. “But what I love about New York City, in particular, is the diversity. And I think that you always find someone of your national origin, if you look hard enough.”
Both said that they appreciated the support of their families along the way.
“I’m happy that we’re finally here, and I get to celebrate with my family. They’re coming from out of state,” said Lorenzo, who is from Charlotte, North Carolina.
Professional and Continuing Studies: Flexibility and Fun
When the COVID-19 pandemic sent students home to take classes remotely, Alicia Wilcox used that as an opportunity to switch schools for more flexibility.
“I always wanted to live in New York, and I started out at [Fordham College at] Lincoln Center, but then I switched to PCS because it was easier with my job,” said Wilcox, who was graduating from the School of Professional and Continuing Studies with a degree in psychology. “I do freelance writing, so I liked PCS because it had night classes.”
Although she took most of her classes at Lincoln Center, Wilcox said some of her favorite memories came from trips to Rose Hill.
“I always love coming to Rose Hill for the games and the events, like Homecoming—that was so fun,” she said.
Finding Friends and Community
Izzy Budetti, who majored in new media and digital design, at Fordham College at Lincoln Center, said she also changed colleges during the pandemic, transferring from Rose Hill to Lincoln Center, which she said helped her find her place.
“I met my best friends here,” she said, adding that they met over Instagram, went to each other’s birthdays, and then participated in the same clubs, such as Splinter Group, Lincoln Center’s musical theater group. That reinforced some of her friendships, including with Lucy Murray, who served as the co-president of the group for more than three semesters.
Drawn to New York City
Murray, who graduated from Fordham College at Lincoln Center as a double major in music and psychology, said that she will miss the activities she was involved in.
“I feel really lucky because all my people are staying in the city, and we all live pretty close together, so I’m excited to just continue living life,” she said. “But I am going to miss the clubs I was involved in a lot.”
She said she was drawn to Fordham because of its location in New York City.
“I grew up in Raleigh [North Carolina]. I lived in the same house my whole life … I knew I liked that city feel, but I wanted bigger, more to explore. I really decided New York was for me and then Fordham was just what I was drawn to,” Murray said.
Murray said that her favorite class was Race and Gender in Latin American Pop Music with Professor Angelina Tallaj-GarcÍa, assistant professor of music.
“She’s just so fabulous. I took that class over Zoom during Covid and it felt like an actual class [happening]in person,” she said. “Everybody was really talkative—we hung out in the chat, we all had a really nice community.””
Murray said she will be returning to New York City after traveling and visiting with family for a while, with a plan to work in music therapy.
Julia Rinaldi, who came to Fordham from Bergen County, New Jersey, also said she was drawn to Fordham for its location.
“I applied to Fordham Rose Hill,” she said. “And then I started touring the campuses and thought, ‘I didn’t even know Lincoln Center existed, and this is perfect for me.’ I wanted to be in Manhattan.”
Rinaldi, a psychology major, said she’s starting a doctoral program in clinical psychology at Felician College in New Jersey next.
A Supportive Business School Community
Shaquille Kampta said that the Gabelli School of Business at Lincoln Center community helped him get through the last four years, despite pandemic-related challenges.
“I’m happy that we were able to persevere, especially with Gabelli, that camaraderie, and that group sense was very strong with our class, and as a group we were able to push through even though the pandemic was holding us back,” said Kampta, who majored in global business with a concentration in business economics and finance.
Kampta said that he will be working in wealth management in M&T Bank but plans to eventually go to law school.
Catherine Sperl entered Fordham as a transfer student and also said she appreciated the community she found at the Gabelli School.
“For Gabelli students, we’re all driven by the need to succeed and by academic markers that are visible and tangible,” Sperl said. “I think there’s something intrinsic to Fordham students, the spirit of Fordham is very collaborative and community-based.”
Sperl was a global business with a concentration in marketing and consumer insights along with her friend Melanie Sztulman, who had the same major. Sztulman said some of her favorite memories came from the University’s orientation program.
“I had a wonderful orientation experience, and at Lincoln Center, I worked as an orientation coordinator last year,” Sztulman said. “So it was a full circle moment for me to start off having such a positive experience in orientation and meeting so many wonderful people, and then helping new students.”
Sztulman is going off to Boston College Law School in the fall, while Sperl will be working in corporate communications at BlackRock.
Additional reporting by Patrick Verel