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Fordham @ Work: Joe DiBari


“Good Morning, Ladies and Gentlemen”

Director of Sports Media Relations and today’s commencement announcer.


WHAT HE DOES: On any normal workday, DiBari can be found filing sports copy in his office at the Lombardi Center or on the road with the Fordham athletics teams. He and his staff announce more than 150 athletics events per year and report on even more at Vocal versatility comes in handy for announcing everything from football, volleyball, water polo, men’s and women’s soccer, basketball, swimming, indoor track, softball, and baseball.

HOW HE CAME TO ANNOUNCE COMMENCEMENT:“Somewhat like an understudy. One day Fordham’s public affairs office contacted me and said that the person who had been announcing for years had left, and they were in need of someone to do it. I was already announcing sports events, and before Fordham, I had worked in the minor leagues as a public relations director—in which I was the scoreboard operator, the official scorekeeper, the p.a. announcer, the music person, and if it started to rain I had to run down to the field and cover it with a tarp. I was ready to try commencement.”

HIS FIRST: “They say you always remember your first, but I can’t recall [Editor’s note: it was 2004 speaker Tim Russert.] All I remember is the public affairs people made me say the honorees’ names 100 times to make sure I got it right. Practicing was kind of odd at first, because to me sports announcing is more energetic. I was under the impression they’d want a monotone, but their directions to me were ‘inflect? Give special meaning. Do it like an athletic event. If a special name comes up, give energy to the name and the crowd.’”

DAY OF, BEHIND THE SCENES: “I get the script on Friday, look it over a few times, and practice it at home. On Saturday morning I work on pronunciations. The marketing and communications department does a really good job at spelling names out phonetically. It’s a 40–50 minute script, and I will announce each school as it processes. We announce the banner bearers and mace bearers, describe the different color hoods for graduates, and eventually identify the president’s party, Board of Trustees, and honorary recipients.”

DID YOU SAY “BANNAH?” “I was born and raised in Rhode Island and I still have a bit of a New England accent—like ‘idear’ for ‘idea’ or mispronouncing ‘banner.’ So I will go through the script, and any word that ends in an ‘r’ I’ll purposefully highlight. Luckily, over the years there haven’t been any names that are too difficult.”

REWARDS OF THE DAY: “I love being up there on the terrace, especially when it’s a beautiful day. It’s graduation day. In the sports information office, we have student workers who come through, and I love seeing them graduate. I enjoy doing it. And at least with this event—unlike a sports event—you know the outcome.”

THE LIST: Among others, DiBari has announced Fordham commencement ceremonies with keynote addresses by Vin Scully (FCRH ‘49), Bill Cosby, Ted Koppel, New York University President John Sexton (FCRH ’63), Chris Matthews, Willie Randolph, former president of Ireland Mary McAleese Robinson, and Tom Brokaw.

AND A SHOUTOUT: DiBari would like to give a shoutout to “the lovely and talented” Edith Kealey, who is receiving her doctorate today from the Graduate School of Social Service. Kealey is his wife (and mother of their sons Patrick and Nicholas, a Fordham College at Rose Hill sophomore.)


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