More than 200 Fordham University student-athletes were honored for compiling a 3.0 cumulative GPA or higher at the Fourth Annual Breakfast for Champions held on Jan. 28 in the McGinley Center Ballroom. The event was sponsored by the Fordham Athletic Department with assistance from the Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) and the Office of Academic Advising.
Rick Mina, CBA ’79, president and CEO of Foot Locker, was the keynote speaker. A former football Ram, Mina spoke of how being a Fordham University student-athlete made a difference in his life and on the importance of teamwork, whether on the playing fields or in the boardroom.
“Student-athletes at Fordham have two things that make them special,” Mina told the students. “You have the knowledge and understanding of teamwork and with that you can meet adversity head-on and not give up.”
He highlighted his message with personal anecdotes, explaining how he was asked to take over as the president and CEO of Champs Sports, a division of Foot Locker, in 1999, after sales had dropped. He quickly assembled a team of trusted associates who helped turn the company into the second largest mall-based specialty athletic retail concept in the United States, behind Foot Locker.
Kevin Meyer, a junior in the College of Business Administration and member of SAAC, spoke of the different community service projects that SAAC has worked on over the year, including a 3-on-3 basketball tournament to raise funds for AIDS awareness and the relationship between Fordham student-athletes and St. Barnabas Hospital.
Leah Jerome, a Fordham College at Rose Hill senior and SAAC member, presented Prescott Loveland, president of Student Global AIDS Campaign with a check for $1,000 for the Mtongwe Community Initiative, which provides funding, support groups and peer education to those in Mtongwe affected by AIDS. Mtongwe is a community in Kenya affected by one of the highest AIDS rates in the world.
Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham University, wrapped up the brunch by thanking Mina for his contributions to the University and praising the student-athletes for their success. “You are the pride and joy of the university,” Father McShane said. “We are so grateful and proud that you represent Fordham so well and we hope that you will continue to do so.”
Because the Rams were celebrating the fourth annual Breakfast for Champions, 19 student-athletes were recognized as four-year Breakfast attendees. They are:
Jonathan Almy, Water Polo
Chris Baracewicz, Swimming
Ben Burge, Swimming
Brenna DeJoy, Cheerleading
Candice Drinkwater, Track & Field
Ben Ehrman, Tennis/Squash
Peter Jannen, Football
Michael Holtz, Swimming
Michael Kirwan, Track & Field
Leah Jerome, Women’s Soccer
Benjamin Marzolf, Swimming
Jeanette McDonald, Rowing
Megan Murphy, Cheerleading
Michael Rosado, Tennis
Jennifer Roussil, Rowing
Doina Sandor, Tennis
Winslow Tandler, Swimming
Leigh Waterbury, Track & Field
Peter Zipf, Tennis/Squash
The 209 student-athletes honored represented 44 percent of the entire student-athlete population at Fordham.
By Joe DiBari