This year’s Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) reunion proved to be more than receptions, reminiscences and revisits with old classmates.
Some 500 FCLC alumni filled Robert Moses Plaza on June 10 to help the college launch its $16 million portion of Fordham’s $500 million capital campaign, Excelsior | Ever Upward | The Campaign for Fordham. The comprehensive fundraising effort promises to deepen FCLC’s presence in New York City.
With just under $12 million already raised for the college, Robert Grimes, S.J., dean of FCLC, urged all alumni and friends of Fordham to get involved in the campaign, which calls for six new buildings and 1.5 million square feet of space to be built on the Lincoln Center campus.
The first phase of the build-out began in April when work started on a new building for the Fordham School of Law.
“It’s a tremendously exciting moment in the history of FCLC, and I can’t wait to see it,” said Father Grimes, speaking under the Reunion Tent. “The campaign promises to expand the college into a campus.”
Dan Rolon, FCLC ’08, a mathematics major, said he hoped that an expansion of the Lincoln Center campus would offer more variety to students, particularly more club space for student activities and more event space, which, in turn, would create more of a campus feel.
“I am sure that new buildings will give FCLC more prestige over other Manhattan colleges,” said Rolon, who studied in the honors program.
Even with its current space shortages (FCLC has barely 100 gross square feet per student), the college has managed to produce some of the nation’s best and brightest, Father Grimes said. FCLC’s alumni include:
• Joseph Vignone, FCLC ’11, who won the University’s first Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics last year;
• John Benjamin Hickey, FCLC ’85, who won a 2011 Tony Award for his performance in The Normal Heart;
• Jane McGonigal, Ph.D., FCLC ’99, a member of O magazine’s 2010 List of the 25 most powerful women changing America; and
• Annie Parisse, FCLC ’97, an actress appearing this summer in Shakespeare in the Park.
Father Grimes joined Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham, to accept a gift of $7,641 from the Class of 2011, and a combined gift of $2,716,534, from the classes of 1971 through 2010.
“You have been a large part of the University’s most successful fundraising year,” Father McShane said. “Be proud of Fordham, and be our ambassadors to the world.”
Alumni enjoyed an evening that began with lectures by FCLC faculty inside the Lowenstein Center, followed by a buffet on Robert Moses Plaza and music and dancing under the tent.
Members of the Class of 2001 said that 10 years had gone by in a blink.
“It doesn’t feel nearly as long as it sounds,” said Osman Mariano, FCLC ’01, raising a toast with fellow 2001 graduates. “In 1997, when we were freshmen, the music was so different, and there was no Facebook.”
“How about the Internet connection in our dorm room?” said Paul Kim, FCLC ’01. “We were all psyched in our sophomore year because we had dial-up in our dorm room—and it was so bad!”
Even though it seemed superfluous at the time to study a core curriculum, Mariano said that, 10 years out, he appreciates his FCLC education more than ever.
“At the time, I thought, ‘Who cares who Kierkegaard is?’” the psychology major said. “But now I get it. It has opened doors for me, and definitely helped me in graduate school.”
The reunion was a family affair for Sally Steg-Williams, FCLC ’79, her husband, Philip Williams FCRH ’72, GSAS ’74, and their son, Philip Williams, FCLC ’10, who commuted from Queens.
“Back in the ’70s FCLC was more of a commuter school, and we hung out with people in our departments,” Steg-Williams said. “But it was still a wonderful experience. I was thrilled when my son wanted to go here.”
The FCLC reunion also welcomed Fordham students who had attended the Undergraduate School of Education (UGE), which existed at 302 Broadway in Manhattan before the Lincoln Center campus opened in the 1960s. Beatrice Maher, UGE ’45, recalled having to get an undergraduate degree during World War II in just three yearson a campus that had no male students.
Dorothy Turchinsky, UGE ’58, said that in the days before FCLC, the UGE was thought of as Fordham’s “Manhattan campus.”
“We had the coolest campus of all,” she said, “because now it is Tribeca.”