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A Final Message from Father McShane


Dear Members of the Fordham Family,

Peace of Christ.

At 5 o’clock this afternoon, I will leave the keys on the desk, turn off the lights and walk out the door of my office in Cunniffe House. As the door closes behind me, my service as the President of our beloved Fordham will come to an end.

As you might imagine, this past year has been a time of deep reflection for me—reflection on all that we have been through together in the course of the past nineteen years: triumphs, challenges, improvements, setbacks, joys, crises, dreams realized, shared sorrows, and friendships forged. Above all, however, I have found myself reflecting with awestruck wonder on the strength of our community, a strength built on a deep commitment to our shared values and mission, the Jesuit mission of forming graduates who are eager to rise to “set the world on fire,” and whose lives are marked by character, competence, conscience, compassion and a commitment to the cause of the human family (which is the cause closest to the heart of God Himself).

As a result of these reflections, I find that, on this, the last day of my service to you, my heart is filled to overflowing with gratitude. After all, the more I have reflected on all that has happened in the course of my time in your service, the clearer it has become in my mind and in my heart that (as the protagonist of The Diary of a Country Priest said) “All is grace. Grace is everywhere.” That has certainly been my experience in the course of my time in your midst. Grace has surrounded me every day since I arrived back on campus in 2003, and especially in and through you, a community composed of wise board members committed to enhancing and advancing our mission, a gifted and wonderfully diverse community of students hungry for the wisdom and learning that our motto speaks of, devoted, talented and visionary faculty members who delight in sharing their discoveries with their students, dedicated and tireless staff members who spend themselves in service to the students in their care, and proud and generous alumni who change the world every day with their integrity and their worldly-wise New York-style savvy.

And so, my friends, I tell you from the heart that it has been a grace, an honor beyond imagining and a joy to have been given the opportunity to serve Fordham, the University that my brothers and I refer to simply and affectionately as “the family University,” the University that enabled my father, the son of two Irish immigrants, to receive a college degree (and a Fordham degree at that) and so bring hope to his whole family.

As for me, what can I say? Only what I have always said (and will always say): that all that has been accomplished at and for Fordham in the course of the past nineteen years was and is the result of great teamwork. And you, my dear companions-in-mission, are most assuredly integral members of that team.  I am more grateful than I could ever say that (with your invaluable help) I was able to play a small part in Fordham’s long and storied history. I know that you will give President Tetlow the same support and devotion that I have enjoyed for the past nineteen in your service.

Let us continue to pray for this place of grace where (thanks to your love, devotion and efforts) miracles are commonplace, and where character has been formed, talent has been tested and hope has been born for 181 years!

Prayers and blessings,

Joseph M. McShane, S.J.

Laus Deo Semper.


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