On January 9 in midtown Manhattan, more than 200 alumni from across the University gathered to meet and mingle with members of the new Fordham University Alumni Association (FUAA) Advisory Board.
The FUAA, which officially launched in 2017, was created to foster a lifelong connection among alumni, their alma mater, and the global Fordham community. It’s a group that Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham, said the University community had “been without for all too long.” Alumni in attendance agreed.
Margaret Basalone, FCLC ’86, said she would like to meet alumni from all of Fordham’s schools. “You get to know more people, and it’s a good networking system,” she said.
Darcy Katris, a 1986 Fordham Law School grad who met up with Basalone at the event, echoed the feeling. “If this were only for [alumni of]the undergraduate schools,” she said, “I wouldn’t be included.”
The FUAA Board
The FUAA Advisory Board is made up of 24 alumni from across schools and generations. Though the board has met several times and previously made an appearance at Homecoming 2017, where they helped collect supplies for the victims of Hurricane Maria, this was the first opportunity many alumni had to meet their representatives.
The board’s chair, John Pettenatti, FCRH ’81, encouraged guests at the event to let him and his fellow board members “know the issues that are important to you and the ways that we can work on your behalf to make the alumni experience that much richer.”
The board has already created three task forces to support both Fordham and alumni—one focused on Fordham’s reputation, one working to create more lifelong learning opportunities for alumni, and one supporting networking and engagement.
The task forces were a particular draw for Michelle Xin, GABELLI ’16. “I already know Fordham is a very diverse community with a great culture,” said Xin, who came to New York for her M.B.A. from her native China. She also interned at Deloitte in London during her time at the Gabelli School of Business before joining financial services firm BDO. “I want to make more connections but also make my own contributions as well.”
One way that Father McShane encouraged alumni to contribute is to maintain their enthusiasm for the University. “I want the alumni body, every member of the alumni body, to feel the same infectious enthusiasm that you have for Fordham,” he said. “The easiest thing is to be and continue to be your best selves. You are our greatest ambassadors.”
Spreading the Word
That is certainly the case for Joseph Remia, GSAS ’10, who brought along his friend Patrick M. Prout, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and Harvard. “He told me if I wanted to see the alumni association of a really great school, I should come with him this evening,” Prout said.
Remia, a regulatory compliance analyst, said he has “a profound love” for Fordham, where he completed the graduate program in International Political Economy and Development (IPED) eight years ago.
“I came for my second master’s degree when I was in my 50s,” he said, “and fast forward—I learned at Fordham who I was. Fordham helped me discover my capabilities and reinforced my belief that you should never stop.”