Standing on a path between Edwards Parade and Dealy Hall at Jubilee 2009, David Ross (FCRH ’69) told one of his favorite Fordham stories:
“To play a prank on the faculty, some upperclassmen invented an Italian poet named Enrico Pavoni,” Ross recalled.
The students created a body of work by Pavoni, as well as a body of critical literature, and spread the buzz that he was coming to New York.
“They actually managed to persuade the department chair for French and Italian to invite Enrico Pavoni onto WFUV for an interview,” Ross continued. “They had to confess that he didn’t exist, but a good laugh was had by all.”
The story was a small highlight on a weekend that was filled with milestones, both personal and institutional.
It was a record-breaking weekend for alumni giving, as the Golden Rams and classes celebrating their Jubilee years gave more than $22.6 million to the University. It was the largest Jubilee giving total in Fordham’s history.
“It is especially noteworthy this year, that these Fordham men and women gave from the heart, and gave with great generosity,” said Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham.
According to preliminary estimates, the annual reunion weekend, held from June 5-7, drew more than 1,600 people.
“Going into the weekend, we had 1,418 registered attendees, compared to 1,256 last year,” said Mary Nolin (FCRH ’06), alumni relations officer and reunion coordinator. “We also had more than 200 walk-ins.”
Once on campus, they found plenty to do, from barbecues and academic lectures to campus tours and a tax-planning session that offered strategies on navigating the recession.
In his welcome address, Father McShane summarized the University’s achievements of the past year and gave updates on admissions, athletics, prestigious awards and rankings. Fordham has jumped 23 places in U.S. News and World Report’s annual college rankings—from 84 in 2002 to 61 this past year.
Jubilee 2009 also saw the induction of six alumni into Fordham’s Hall of Honor, an installation in the administration building that celebrates Fordham’s most noteworthy faculty, graduates and supporters. This year’s class includes:
• Anne Anastasi, Ph.D., Fordham psychology professor and author of Psychological Testing, the definitive book in the field of quantitative psychology.
• Mary Higgins Clark (FCLC ’79), bestselling author known as the “queen of suspense.”
• Mary Rose McGeady (GSAS ’61), president and chief executive officer of Covenant House.
• Robert P. Mulligan (FCRH ’48), award-winning director and producer whose greatest triumph was To Kill a Mockingbird.
• Joseph A. O’Hare, S.J. (GSAS ’68), the 31st president of Fordham, who transformed the University from a strong regional commuter school into a national research institution.
• William D. Walsh (FCRH ’51), founder and chairman of Sequoia Associates, who has graced the University with the William D. Walsh Family Library, among other generous gifts.
“These are individuals who built the foundation of our great University and dedicated themselves to its ideals,” said John Tognino (FCLS ’75), chair of the University’s Board of Trustees, who spoke Saturday night at the President’s Cocktail Reception.
Father McShane also spoke at the event, thanking the guests for supporting Excelsior | Ever Upward | The Campaign for Fordham, and its goal of raising $500 million for University priorities.
“So far, we have raised $272 million with no gift greater than $10 million,” Father McShane said. “That speaks volumes about the base of generosity of the Fordham alumni.
“Excelsior—the word befits a Jesuit university, and carries with it the notion of the magis, the more, to strive continually for greatness in the service of God and mankind,” he said.
“Everyone who has gone to Fordham in the last 168 years has benefited from and nurtured the dream of Archbishop John Hughes. Fordham has transformed all of you. Now, it is your opportunity to return the favor.”