Though Margaret Noonan officially began working at Fordham in 1977 as a stack attendant in Duane Library, she said she was introduced to the community before she even learned to talk.
“This was the first place my parents took me after I was born,” said Noonan, whose mother, father, and aunt worked at the Rose Hill campus. “I remember running down the halls as a kid when my parents worked in the building that is now Cunniffe House. I grew up on this campus.”
As the years passed, Noonan began to build new memories—this time at Fordham University Press, where she served as a receptionist in 1978 before being promoted to business manager of the publishing house.
“The press has grown so much, and I’ve enjoyed working for every single member of its leadership,” she said.
Similar stories of pride were expressed at the 35th anniversary celebration of the 1841 Awards. The Nov. 28 ceremony honored Noonan and 16 other longtime support staff on their 20th or 40th anniversary of service at Fordham.
“These are our brothers and sisters who support us and make it possible to do the work of the University every day,” said Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham, who described the recipients as humble, hardworking, and selfless “heroes and saints.” He continued, “We look up to them because they inspire us.”
It’s a message that was also echoed by Fordham College at Rose Hill junior Erick Almachi, whose father Milton Domenech, a driver for grounds and transportation, was awarded a 20-year medal for his service.
“He always thinks about other people rather than thinking of himself, and that’s something that shows even in his work at Fordham,” he said.
Domenech, who brought his wife and two other sons along for the celebration, said his love of the Fordham community goes beyond his groundskeeping work. For the past 7 years, he has organized a fishing trip to Cape Cod during Memorial Day weekend with his friends, family, and other staff members across the University.
“We’re all family,” he said.
While showing appreciation to some of the University’s hardest workers, the 1841 Awards also reminded support staff of some of the University’s charms.
Joseph Manganello, who began working at Fordham as a switchboard operator 42 years ago, recalled working the graveyard shift in Cunniffe House, formerly the Administration Building. During those late nights, he’d hear ghostlike sounds coming from the dark walkways.
“I’d call security and they’d say, no one is here, Joe. You’re the only one in the building!” recalled Manganello, who has served during the tenure of three presidents—Father Finlay, Father O’Hare, and Father McShane.
Forty-two years later, Manganello, who now works in the University Post Office, is still not entirely convinced, but counts these quirks as one of the many reasons why Fordham remains a special place to him and many others.
“I can’t believe how fast the years went by,” he said.
Recipients of the 1841 Awards include:
Twenty year medalists
Carlos N. Cintron— Custodial Services
Darrell DeSilva—Facilities Operations
Milton Domenech—Grounds and Transportation
Maura E. Fitton—University Libraries
Linda I. Garcia—Custodial Services
Michael F. Gialanella—Facilities Operations
Ursula Gregory—Enrollment Services
Emelinda Gregory—School of Law
Eleazar Irizarry Jr.— Grounds and Transportation
Francesca Manzo—University Libraries
Paulina Paulino—Custodial Services
Nancy Perri—Controller’s Office
Rosa Pugliese—Enrollment Services
Santos Reyes— Custodial Services
Jose M. Soto—Lombardi Memorial Center
Forty year medalists
Joseph Manganello—Post Office (42 years)
Margaret Noonan—University Press