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Television and Pharmaceutical Pioneers To Be Honored at Founder’s Award Dinner

Robert E. Campbell, CBA '55, (left) and Herbert A. Granath, FCRH '54, GSAS '55 Photos by Jon Roemer

Robert E. Campbell, CBA ’55, (left) and Herbert A. Granath, FCRH ’54, GSAS ’55
Photos by Jon Roemer

Robert E. Campbell, CBA ’55, and Herbert A. Granath, FCRH, ’54, GSAS ’55, two alumni who helped their respective companies rise to new heights, will be honored at the Seventh Annual Fordham Founder’s Award Dinner.

The black tie gala will bring 1,000 guests to the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf=Astoria on March 31, and is expected to raise more than $2 million for the Fordham Founder’s Presidential Scholarship Fund. The scholarship is awarded to young men and women whose curiosity of mind and strength of spirit have enabled them to exceed the boundaries of expectation.

Campbell, a retired vice chairman of Johnson & Johnson who in a 40-year career oversaw developments such as Acuvue disposable contact lenses, the life-saving cardiovascular stent and minimally invasive endoscopic surgery, continued to seek ways to keep people healthy even after he retired. He was chairman of the board of trustees of the Robert Wood Johnson health care foundation from 1999 to 2005, where he guided initiatives that supported smoking cessation, healthy communities and access to quality health care.

He also chaired Fordham’s trustee board from 1992 to 1998, and last December, he and his wife, Joan, made a $10 million gift to Fordham, one of the largest gifts in the University’s history.

“It all comes down to giving something back,” Campbell said. “You look back on the influences that prepared you for the challenges you face—your parents first and foremost, and the institutions you were involved in during those formative years. All that coalesces in what you’re able to do in the future. So when you’re asked to serve, I think it’s your responsibility to do that.”

Anyone who slides into an easy chair at the end of a hard day’s work to watch highlights on SportsCenter, meanwhile, has Herbert A. Granath to thank.

Although he studied physics at Rose Hill in the 1950s, Granath began his career as a page at NBC. He worked his way up the company ladder before jumping to rival ABC. When the network acquired ESPN in 1984, Granath took the helm as chairman, and today the channel is ABC/Disney’s largest profit center. He went on to launch A&E and the History Channel, and earned a reputation as a corporate entrepreneur.

A trustee emeritus of Fordham, Granath has won two Lifetime Achievement Emmy Awards (for his work in international television and sports television) and a Tony Award for producing the Broadway musicalPassion. Chairman of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, he is quick to attribute his work ethic to the lessons he absorbed at Fordham.

“One of the reasons I enjoyed physics was looking into the essence of things,” he said, adding that a logic course at Rose Hill was among the most influential he ever took.

“It is amazing to me in American business how little a role logic plays. It has been a hallmark of the way I approach business.”

The Fordham Founder’s Award recognizes individuals whose personal and professional lives reflect the highest aspirations of the University’s defining traditions, as an institution dedicated to wisdom and learning in the service of others.


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