The motto “New York is My Campus, Fordham is My School” has taken on new significance as the Office of Alumni Relations revamps this spring’s Explore NYC program to be a bit more Fordham-centric.
As in the past, the office will offer University alumni and friends some programming that includes tours of a few august institutions, like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well as trips to eateries, like Mario Batali’s Eataly.
The twist is that, this year, Fordham experts will lead the expeditions.
“We want alumni to know that Fordham is not just a stop for four years,” said Michael Griffin, assistant vice president for alumni relations. “We want to provide a measure of lifelong learning, and what a great place to do it, here in New York City.”
While anyone can take a guided tour through the Met’s Greek and Roman galleries, only the Fordham community can get a tour from Jennifer Udell, Ph.D., curator of University art and a noted specialist in Greco-Roman art.
Complimenting Udell’s April 3 tour will be the tour of the museum’s Italian Renaissance galleries to be given on May 9 by Gregory Waldrop, S.J., assistant professor of art history and music, who specializes in that particular period.
“Fordham students learn to be curious and that’s something that stays with them,” said Father Waldrop. “So it’s always a pleasure to have a chance to reconnect alumni with that tradition.”
Both historians hold an intimate knowledge of the museum’s holdings and the historical context from which they sprung. For his part, Father Waldrop spends a lot of time at the Met for his own research and teaching.
“New York City museums have some of the best collections in the world,” said Father Waldrop. “The Met certainly has the best collection of Italian works outside of Italy. It’s easily in the same league as London’s National Gallery and the Louvre.”
Elsewhere on the docket are: an April 11 backstage tour of WFUV by station manager Chuck Singleton; a demonstration of the new University organ, with Robert Minotti, director of Fordham University Choirs, on May 6; and a tour of the Upper West Side on May 21 with James Fisher, Ph.D., professor of theology and author of On the Irish Waterfront: The Crusader, the Movie, and the Soul of the Port of New York (Cornell University Press, 2009).
Associate Professor of History David Hamlin, Ph.D., will give a tour of the New-York Historical Society’s World War II exhibit on May 14. Hamlin said it’s rare that faculty get the chance to reconnect with the alumni in a learning environment.
“I’m very much looking forward to this. Once we shoo students out the door we don’t see them very often, so it’ll be great to see and meet our handiwork,” said Hamlin. “One way to see if we’re doing our job is to meet students 20 years after they leave Fordham, and see how they’re engaged. We’re trying to construct citizens here—people who are curious about the world [and]maintain a lifelong interest in learning.”
Griffin said that Explore NYC has siblings in other alumni programming initiatives, such as the Fordham at the Forefront events. That traveling lecture series takes Fordham experts out of town, providing a platform from which they can weigh in on current events.