With golden leaves serving as backdrop beyond the gothic windows of Duane Library, family, friends, colleagues of the late Marvin Reznikoff, Ph.D. celebrated his memory on Sunday, Nov. 3.
Reznikoff, who died on June 20, began his tenure in Fordham in 1968 and was chair of the psychology department from 1981 to 1985. He was appointed professor emeritus in 1994.
In his nearly four decades as professor, Reznikoff sponsored more than 80 doctoral candidates. Several were on hand to recall a man who loved the New York Giants, bawdy jokes, and—above all—Fordham University, which he often referred to as a “fortress of higher learning.”
“Marvin was indeed a mensch,” said David S. Glenwick, Ph.D., professor of psychology.
Mary Byrne Rogan, Ph.D., TMC ’72, GSAS ’78, ’83, said she knew early on that, in Reznikoff, she had received the “platinum card in dissertation” supervision. He not only oversaw Byrne Rogan’s dissertation, but he became a family friend who eventually walked her down the aisle when she got married.
When the priest was feared late, Byrne Rogan’s Irish Catholic mother didn’t hesitate to ask Reznikoff if he might be able to preach at the ceremony as well—never mind that he was neither ordained nor Catholic.
It was an example of what Reznikoff’s granddaughter Margaret J. Reznikoff, a Fordham College at Rose Hill junior, described as the “blurred line” between his Fordham family and the Reznikoff family.
Reznikoff protégé Mary E. Procidano, Ph.D., FCRH ’76, said that, even though he wasn’t Catholic, he passionately believed in the Jesuit’s mission of cura personalis.
“He exemplified Fordham’s spirit of care of the whole person,” said Procidano, an associate professor of psychology.
She also recalled Reznikoff’s love of precise verbal expression, wagering that “unequivocal” was probably his all-time favorite word. His enjoyment of subtle euphemism led to a description of one mediocre first draft of a dissertation as “more than adequate in every way,” she said.
It fell to David R. Chabot, Ph.D., FCRH ‘62, associate professor and former head of the Department of Psychology, to map out Reznikoff’s impressive professional and administrative career of more than 14 grants, seven books, and the aforementioned 80 mentorships.
Chabot said that Reznikoff championed the Boulder Model of training for psychologists, which placed equal emphasis on scientific research and clinical practice. He said many in the field questioned whether it was practical to demand that psychologists be both researchers and practitioners.
However, although Reznikoff understood the challenges of the Boulder Model, he designed an effective curriculum that drew from Fordham and New York City’s resources. It was, said Chabot, “a well oiled systematic program” of what a researcher and a practitioner should be.
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Dean Nancy Busch, Ph.D., herself a former chair of the psychology department, said that on the department’s 75th Anniversary she finally understood the breadth of Reznikoff’s accomplishments and the sense of community he shaped, when “Marv’s tribe” was on full display. More than 160 guests came to honor Reznikoff, who said at the ceremony “Fordham has been the centerpiece of my life and will continue to be for ever more.”
Busch added that Reznikoff’s influence will continue to be felt by future generations through a leadership gift established by Byrne Rogan and her husband Tom. The Marvin Reznikoff Endowed Scholarship Fund is intended to support psychology students as they complete the dissertation process. Busch said the fund recently passed the $100,000 mark.
To make a donation to the Reznikoff fund contact Valerie Longwood at (212) 636-7439 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Margaret “Maggie” Reznikoff, a Fordham College at Rose Hill junior, remembers her grandfather at the service.
Photo by Tom Stoelker