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Triumphing Over Difficulties, Student Receives Dean’s List Honors


For Gabrielle D’Amato, a Fordham College at Rose Hill senior, the Oct. 23 Dean’s List Celebration on Family Weekend signified her success in triumphing over difficulties.

“When I heard the news [that I’d made the list], I couldn’t believe it,” said D’Amato, whose parents were on hand to see her receive the award. “I was so happy.”


Gabrielle D’Amato and her parents
Photos by Dana Maxson

D’Amato was at the top of her class in high school and expected to do extremely well in college. However, an intensive Italian class during her freshman year proved a challenge. D’Amato, who is deaf in one ear, said she was “struggling to stay afloat in all the semester’s classes.”

“I didn’t realize how difficult learning a new language would be,” she said, “I couldn’t hear what was being said, and I struggled to keep up.”

The exhaustion from exerting herself in Italian affected her other classes, said D’Amato. At the end of her first semester, her GPA was nothing like it was in high school. Her parents threatened to stop paying tuition if she continued to “slide by.”

But after a conversation with Robert Parmach, Ph.D., assistant dean for freshmen, her perspective on college changed dramatically.

“He told me not to treat school as a job, but to treat it as something I wanted to do,” said D’Amato. “He wanted me to be engaged in my own education. It gave me a new mindset and helped me choose my major in philosophy. I learned to love what I did.”

D’Amato continued to work hard throughout the next three years. When she found out that she had made the Dean’s List, D’Amato said words couldn’t describe how motivating it was to see her own success. Now that she is applying to law schools, she said it is the boost she needed to keep working hard on her applications.

“I think my struggles in my freshman year are what made me love Fordham so much,” she said. “I learned how to work hard in difficult circumstances. I’m better off now than I would be if I hadn’t struggled.”

Dean Parmach congratulating the senior class

Dean Parmach congratulating the senior class

D’Amato and 255 of her Rose Hill senior classmates received their honors at a ceremony in the University Church during Family Weekend. Sophomores and juniors also received their awards at separate venues, and similar awards were presented to students at the Lincoln Center campus. Students who earned GPAs of 3.6 or above were given the honor.

“These students are here because they use their intellectual gifts wisely,” said Parmach, presider of the seniors’ ceremony. “This honor reflects the love, guidance, and support of friends and family, of everyone gathered here today.”

Before the ceremonies, Dean of Fordham College at Rose Hill Maura Mast, Ph.D., took the opportunity to tell the honors recipients of their responsibility to use their intelligence for the greater good.

“When I look out across the church at all of you, I feel hope for the world,” she said. “We live in a difficult time, but you have been educated to bring hope and light to the world. I look forward to seeing you do so.”

The Dean’s List ceremonies were only one of the many festivities that comprised Fordham’s Family Weekend celebration, celebrated on both campuses.

–Mary Awad

Visit our Facebook slideshow of Family Weekend.


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