Past and present members of the Kiwanis/Circle K International service organizations gathered on Nov. 6 at Rose Hill to celebrate their decades of success at Fordham.
Members of Circle K, which established itself on campus in 1970, and Kiwanis, which was chartered at the University in 1989, attended the reception in Duane Library, where newspaper clippings, collages, photos and thank you letters decorated the walls.
Rosemary A. DeJulio, Ph.D., (GSAS’90, GSE ’00) assistant to the president, and 1990-1991 president of Fordham Kiwanis; welcomed the guests, including New York State Assemblyman George Latimer (FCRH ’74), 1973 Circle K International president; and Susan Conley Salice (FCRH ’82) 1981-1982 Fordham Circle K president.
Latimer reflected on how far he has come since growing up in a low-income section of Mount Vernon, N.Y.
“My dad was head of maintenance at a beach and tennis club; my mom worked in a factory. They did everything they could do—and I worked as well—so that I could go to Fordham,” he said.
“If I had not had the opportunity, through Kiwanis, to serve in district and international office, I wouldn’t have seen the things that I did and I would not have learned the things that I did,” Latimer said. “You don’t think about it when you’re going through it, but later on you look back and say, ‘My God, I was so lucky to have gone to Fordham. I was so lucky to have met the Kiwanians.’”
He also insisted that Circle K’s founding should be credited to Fordham’s general counsel Thomas DeJulio (FCRH ’73, LAW ’77) who organized the group’s first service project—a blood drive in November 1970.
“I can’t underestimate the praise Tom deserves for that, and also, what it taught me about the power of one motivated individual,” Latimer said.
Thomas DeJulio, who was given a New York Yankees jersey and hat for the occasion, noted that when Mother Teresa was asked why she was still tending to the poor of Calcutta after many years, she replied that people must bloom where they are planted.
“Forty years ago, when I was planted here at Rose Hill, I could not have imagined that I might still be blooming here,” he said, “but like George, I owe much to Fordham and Circle K.”
He also told the group what he said were three little known facts about Circle K and Kiwanis at Fordham:
Circle K members played an integral role in getting the Ram Van program off the ground. Kiwanis members led the Fordham choir to include the national anthem in its repertory; and perhaps just as significantly, helping others can be a catalyst for romance.
“There is a story in Inside Fordham that said Thomas P. Salice (CBA ’82) and Susan Conley Salice met on the A train as Fordham undergraduates, chaperoning a group of Bronx schoolchildren to a baseball game,” Thomas DeJulio said. “What the story doesn’t tell you is Sue was in Circle K, and invited her future husband to be part of the program.
“The mission of Fordham University and the mission of Circle K and Kiwanis are joined in one common objective: transforming lives every single day.”