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Longtime Employees Feted at University Convocation

Casimira Stricker, a 40-year employee, is congratulated by Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham. Photo by Bruce Gilbert

Casimira Stricker, a 40-year employee, is congratulated by Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham.
Photo by Bruce Gilbert

Fordham honored 43 of its most loyal employees on March 7 with awards for their longstanding dedication and service to the University community.

Twenty-two members of the faculty received theBene Merenti award for 20 or 40 years of teaching service. The Archbishop Hughes Medal went to 18 administrators and staff for 20 or 40 years of service.

Fordham’s newest award, the Sursum Corda award, recognized three employees for outstanding contributions to the life and mission of the University. They are: Stephen Bordas, associate vice president of the Enrollment Group; Lydia Ocasio, senior executive secretary for the Office of Academic Programs; and Victor Birone, foreman of the University’s carpentry shop in Facilities Management.

“These awardees have spent their careers teasing greatness out of our students,” said Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham, who thanked each recipient personally. “They have imparted to each student they help a set of beliefs that have animated Fordham for over a century—that life is worth living, that each human is worthy of respect, that they are called to use all of their talents to advocate for a just world.”

More than a few of the awardees, however, had much to say about what Fordham had given to them as well.

“It’s a two-word summary—academic freedom,” said Warren W. Tryon, Ph.D., professor of psychology. Tryon, who is among nine faculty members who have worked at Fordham since 1970—his entire academic career—said that the University has always supported his research on hyperactivity disorders and other topics.

“If you are able to pursue your interest as you see it and be supported in that, why would you want to be anywhere else?” Tryon said.

For 40-year awardees Kristin O. Lauer, Ph.D., associate professor of English, and John P. Entelis, Ph.D., professor of political science and director of the Middle East studies program, the rewards have come in the form of watching their students flourish in their own careers over many years. “I’ve taught my philosophy here at Fordham, which is to ‘pass it on,’” Lauer said. “And that’s what I have watched my students do.”

Mark Naison, Ph.D., professor of history and African-American studies, recipient of a 40-year Bene Merenti, said the University has given him “a community where my beliefs about social justice are welcomed and respected.”

Archbishop Hughes awardee Casimira M. Stricker, manager of Fordham’s IT business office, said that, in the course of 40 years at Fordham, she has been able to raise her family, move up in her career from clerk to manager, and to earn a degree by attending night classes.

“I consider Fordham as my second home,” she said, pointing proudly to daughter Katherine Egan, executive director of the Strategic Program Office. Egan was honored in the same ceremony for her 20 years of service to Fordham.

Sursum Corda awardee Victor Birone, who recently worked on restoring the University Church’s wooden doors to their original grandeur, said that being hired by Fordham some 20 years ago led to a multitude of personal rewards—from having a chance to apply his artistic and carpentry skills to his job, to “feeling appreciated in everything I do.”

“I didn’t think I would stay here this long,” Birone said. “But now I don’t think I’ll ever leave. I feel part of something.”

The Office of the President sponsored the event. Stephen Freedman, Ph.D., senior vice president/chief academic officer, acted as master of ceremonies.


Archbishop Hughes Medal (40-Year Award)

Maria V. Luis, Administrator, Information Technology Business
Casimira M. Stricker, Manager, Information Technology Business Office

Archbishop Hughes Medal (20-Year Award)

Sylvia L. Anderson, Director, Laboratory for Familial Dysautonomia Research
Myra Casiano, Office Manager, Faculty Center, Graduate School of Business Administration
Brian P. Daly, Manager, Duplicating and ID Services, Lincoln Center
Petra E. Del Valle, Administrative Assistant/Business Manager, The Louis J. Calder Center
Alexander P. Demoleas, Director, Software and Information Services
Katherine S. Egan, Executive Director, Strategic Program Office
Stephen J. Flynn, Director, Fordham Information Technology User Support Services
Edward V. Lecce, Senior Systems Coordinator/Financial Analyst, Office of the Vice President for Finance
Loomis Mayer, Production Manager, Fordham University Press
James P. McCabe, University Librarian
Christina McGrath, Senior Associate Director, Enrollment Services
Robert Minotti, Director, Liturgical Music and University Choirs
Daniel J. O’Brien, S.J., Assistant Dean, Fordham College at Rose Hill
Ana M. Torres, Assistant Director of Enrollment Operations
Elena Vranich, Director, Higher Education Opportunity Program
Barbara Wakie, Campus Director of Student Financial Services, Lincoln Center

Bene Merenti Medal (40-Year Award)

John P. Entelis, Director, Middle East Studies Program, Professor of Political Science
Frederick J. Harris, Professor of French and Comparative Literature
Paul Kantor, Professor of Political Science
C. Howard Krukofsky
, Adjunct Associate Professor of History

Kristin O. Lauer, Associate Professor of English
Mark D. Naison, Professor of African American Studies and History
Bernice Glatzner Rosenthal, Professor of History
Dominick Salvatore, Distinguished Professor of Economics
Warren W. Tryon, Professor of Psychology

Bene Merenti Medal (20-Year Award)

Paul P. Baard, Clinical Associate Professor of Business Administration
Dorothy Raffel Klotz, Professor of Management Systems
James R. Lothian, Distinguished Professor of Finance
Yusif Simaan, Associate Professor of Finance
John Z. Yang, Associate Professor of Management, International Dean of the BiMBA Program in Beijing
Russell G. Pearce, Edward and Marilyn Bellet Professor of Legal Ethics, Morality and Religion
Joel R. Reidenberg, Professor of Law and Founding Director of the Center on Law and Information Policy
James A. Ciaccio, Professor of Chemistry, Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies and Director of General Science Program
Ann Higgins-D’Alessandro, Associate Professor of Psychology
Ron L. Jacobson, Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs, Associate Professor of Communication and Media Studies
Richard Kalina, Professor of Art
Joseph T. Lienhard, S.J., Professor of Theology
William D. Myers, Associate Professor of History
Cris Poor, Professor of Mathematics

Sursum Corda Award

Stephen Bordas, Associate Vice President, Enrollment Group
Lydia Ocasio, Senior Executive Secretary, Office of Academic Programs and Support, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
Victor Birone, Foreman of the Carpentry Shop, Facilities Management


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