At the 1841 Awards ceremony, employees with at least 20 years of service are honored with medals and lauded in decorative citations for their effort and dedication.
But they only tell half the story.
Anecdotes imparted at the event reveal selflessness and dedication in the awardees’ personal lives as well.
For instance, Jose Benitez of Accounts Payable visits his 94-year-old mother every day after work and stays with her until she falls asleep.
Frederica Roberts from the Office of the Controller is a cancer survivor known for her sunny disposition. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Fordham while working full time and raising a daughter, who is now a junior at the University, and a son.
Nickola Kinaj, better known as “Nicky Doughnuts,” began his career in Custodial Services as a young man who wore a baseball cap with a “long bang of curly hair flowing from it.” He is admired by his colleagues for his humor and easygoing personality.
The 28th annual ceremony was held on Dec. 15 at Duane Library on the Rose Hill campus. There, Fordham honored 15 employees with a collective 300 years of service. The event was followed by a reception full of laughter, tears of joy and buckets of pride. The gathering included family members, former 1841 Award recipients, coworkers and children.
“This is what Fordham is all about,” said Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of the University. “Fordham is a community bound together by love and able to move forward precisely because it is bound by love. It is our great fortune to have you—the ministers the Lord has sent to us to give life to this community. You minister to us with enthusiasm, humor, great devotion and extraordinary professionalism, generosity beyond measure, and with great love.
“On behalf of all here at Fordham, I thank you for all that you have done. I praise you for the life that you have given to the community and I beg you to stay at least 20 more years,” Father McShane said.
The 1841 Award was established in 1982 by former president James C. Finlay, S.J., in honor of the year Fordham was founded by Archbishop John Hughes.
Honored at this year’s 1841 Awards ceremony were:
Maria Assaro, Custodial Services
Jose Benitez, Controller’s Office
Marlo Coates, Graduate School of Business Administration
Pamela Cook, Law Library
Georgia Edwards, Custodial Services
Mary Lou Elias Pena, University Press
Nickola Kinaj, Custodial Services
Ulises Negron, Facilities Operations
Lynette Osborne, Graduate School of Social Service
Maria Pignataro, Controller’s Office
Antonietta Pomilla, Custodial Services
Michael Raucci, Facilities Operations
Fredrica Roberts, Controller’s Office
Anna Romain, Facilities Operations
Michael Smith, Facilities Operations