Torrential rain soaked the Rose Hill campus on May 16, the eve of Fordham’s 2014 Commencement, but spirits were high in Bepler Commons, where graduating students gathered with family members to celebrate their shared Fordham heritage.
The Legacy Reception, held every year before commencement, honors members of the graduating class whose parents, siblings, or other family members are Fordham alumni.
Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of the University, toasted the Class of 2014 and thanked the parents gathered for the example they set each day, often without words.
“You have a special place in the heart of everyone at Fordham, especially in my heart, because you represent multigenerational loyalty to and love for Fordham,” said Father McShane, whose father and brothers are Fordham alumni, and whose nephew graduated from Fordham College at Rose Hill the next day.
For the Maiers, the reception marked a moment to celebrate the fifth and youngest member of the family to graduate from Fordham.
Thomas Maier, FCRH ’78, and his wife, Joyce McGurrin, FCRH ’78, GBA ’80, met as Fordham undergraduates and were married at the University Church. Their son Reade received his degree from the Gabelli School of Business this year, joining his brothers, Andrew, GSB ’09, and Taylor, GSB ’11, as part of the Fordham alumni community.
“Though ‘commencement’ is the word of the day, this does mark the end of an era,” Thomas Maier said.
“It’s really brought great joy to my heart to see the place I went to college, met my wife, and got married do so well, and to see my boys reap the benefits.”
Though Fordham has long been part of his family, eldest son Andrew Maier said he was able to make his own way at Fordham.
“I always felt it was like it was my own experience,” he said. “I never felt like I was following in my parents’ footsteps.”
For Stephanie Pascal, FCRH ’14, and her parents, Christian, GBA ’89, and Lorraine, the reception was a night to celebrate new beginnings. Stephanie will move to Thailand in the fall to teach English to schoolchildren.
Twenty-five years ago, when Christian Pascal earned an M.B.A. at Fordham, he was unable to attend his own graduation ceremony because he was working full time. He said joining his daughter on stage as she received her diploma would be a proud moment.
For Stephanie, having her father participate in the ceremony was a wonderful way to recognize all her parents have done for her.
“I’m thankful for so much,” she said. “They’ve helped me in so many ways, and if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be here.”
The Dahlgren family had a busy few days ahead, celebrating the graduation of siblings Caroline, GSB ’11, and Michael, FCRH ’14.
On May 17, Michael received a bachelor’s degree from Fordham College at Rose Hill, and on May 19, Caroline received an M.B.A. at the Graduate School of Business Administration (GBA) diploma ceremony.
GBA allows alumni who are siblings of graduates to co-present present diplomas at commencement, so Michael took part in a great Fordham tradition just two days after becoming an alumnus himself. He said he was proud of his big sister and grateful for her guidance.
“She helped me have a great jumping-off point [at Fordham],” he said. “I was always three steps ahead because she helped me learn the ropes.”
by Jennifer Spencer