For Matthew Prochilo, S.J. (FCRH ’06), the Rose Hill campus is a place unlike any other.
“There’s something unique about the Fordham experience, and that is immediately obvious to me when I come back to campus,” Prochilo said. “When I meet current students and other alumni, I feel the connection.”
More than 1,500 alumni and friends felt the same connection at Jubilee 2011 from Friday, June 3 to Sunday, June 5. The weekend was filled with events for graduates and guests of all ages—from campus tours and academic lectures to resume-review sessions and dancing under the tent.
Members of the Class of 1961 celebrated their 50-year reunion and were admitted into the Golden Rams. Peter Paolucci (FCRH ’61) was on hand to mark the occasion. Of all the Jubilee attendees that Paolucci saw that weekend, one in particular made an unexpected impression.
That guest, a live ram named Buster, took to the lawn in front of Campbell, Salice and Conley Halls shortly after noon on Saturday, much to the delight of the crowd.
Paolucci, who served as a Ram Keeper for Rameses XVIII and Rameses XIX when Fordham housed live mascots on campus, was quick to offer stories about handling the independent-minded animals.
“We were driving down the Northern State Parkway, and there was the ram, sticking his head out of the window and bleating at people—Baaaa! Baaaa! I thought they were going to drive off the road,” he recalled.
Buster was accompanied by handlers from the Dawn Animal Agency of Westtown, N.Y. The ram visited Rose Hill for the first time last December to entertain students and promote a business lecture by Mario Gabelli (GSB ’65).
Saturday marked the inaugural appearance of a live ram at Jubilee.
Traveling with Buster was a friend of the ovine variety—a six-month-old ram named Eli. The young ram, which had yet to show its horns, spent the afternoon nibbling the Rose Hill lawn, seemingly unaware of the commotion and picture-takers surrounding it.
“We thought the ram was part of the fabric of Fordham,” Paolucci said. “I like this evidence of it coming back.”
In his welcome address to Jubilee attendees, Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham, reaffirmed the University’s Jesuit identity and extolled its recent accomplishments.
“Fordham is more intentionally Jesuit than it has ever been,” Father McShane said. “With 37 Jesuits on campus, we have to work at it; we work hard at it every day.”
He pointed to the University’s steady rise in U.S. News & World Report rankings and increasing success in winning prestigious awards as partial evidence that it is going through a renaissance.
“Fordham is now recognized as one of the top Fulbright-producing institutions in the United States,” he said. “That not only transforms the life of the student who wins the Fulbright, it burnishes the reputation of Fordham as a place for serious study.”
The incoming freshman class was the most selective in Fordham history, with a 40 percent acceptance rate, Father McShane said. The average SAT score of its members was 1265—an increase of 145 points over the scores of the incoming class 20 years ago.
The University’s reputation also is enhanced by the success of its graduates, Father McShane said. To that end, five outstanding alumni were inducted on Saturday evening into the Fordham Hall of Honor. This year’s class includes:
• Rose Marie Bravo, CBE (TMC ’71), chief executive officer of Burberry and icon of the fashion industry;
• Robert E. Campbell (GSB ’55), former vice chairman of Johnson & Johnson and notable philanthropist;
• Thomas W. “Tom” Courtney (FCRH ’55), gold medalist in track and field at the 1956 Summer Olympics;
• Geraldine Ferraro (LAW ’60), the first woman nominated by a national party for vice president of the United States and congresswoman from 1979 to 1985; and
• Vincent E. “Vin” Scully (FCRH ’49), National Baseball Hall of Fame Ford C. Frick Award winner and voice of the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers.
Though it was a great weekend for the Maroon, it also was notable for the Blue and White of Marymount College. Alumnae of the institution, which closed in 2007, gathered to celebrate the legacy of their educational home and honor some of its most distinguished graduates.
Mary Murphy (MC ’66), an on-air correspondent for CBS’ Entertainment Tonight/The Insider, received the Alumna of Achievement Award for outstanding professional or volunteer achievement. She recalled how 100 members of her family were at the train station in St. Louis when she left to attend Marymount.
“My family gave me love and encouragement, but the sisters instilled me with discipline, compassion and a sense of redemption,” said Murphy, who advises students at the University of Southern California. “What I learned from you is what I give back to them.”
Other Marymount honorees were:
• Dr. Helene Tanous (MC ’61), who won the Golden Dome Award for continuous service in the advancement of Marymount College;
• Rita O’Shaughnessy Arno (MC ’91), who received the Gloria Gaines Memorial Award for service to church, community and college; and
• Eileen Burchell, a Marymount professor for 30 years, who was inducted as an honorary alumna.
“It’s good to be here. It’s always good to come home,” said Burchell, who now works in the provost’s office at Fordham. “To all of you who are here today, and all the graduates of Marymount, you represent the highest ideals of a Marymount education—the spirit of social responsibility, leadership and change.”
– Joseph McLaughlin