For Bridgette Catino, FCRH ’07, and Greg O’Brien, GSB ’07, Fordham holds many fond memories. It’s where they earned a Jesuit education, participated in student activities, and fell in love. Now, as members of the Young Alumni President’s Club, they celebrate their Fordham memories while helping current students make their own.
Since graduating in 2007, Catino and O’Brien have been loyal donors to the University, giving each year “to show our gratitude and school pride,” says Catino. “We choose to give, to help make [Fordham] even better and give other students the opportunity to attend this great university.”
A native of Minneapolis, Catino came to Fordham because she wanted to study in New York City, preferably at a Catholic university that offers a dance program. She had been training as a dancer since she was 3, and applied to Ailey/Fordham B.F.A. in dance program at Fordham College at Lincoln Center, but after visiting the Rose Hill campus, she transferred her enrollment to Fordham College at Rose Hill, where she majored in communication with a minor in business.
She also found a creative outlet for her passion. For four years, she was a member of the student-run dance company, Expressions Dance Alliance, and Fordham’s dance team, Ram Rhythm. She now volunteers as a dance instructor at Liberated Movement, a nonprofit, donation-based dance company in Tribeca.
Catino says her Fordham education, coupled with the support she received from the University’s Office of Career Services, helped her earn a job at CBS Corporation. She started working there as an intern in the research department during her junior year, and is now a director in the advertising sales department. “CBS is situated within the communication world,” she says, “but I do read balance sheets and annual reports, so the [business]minor has been helpful.”
Her junior year at Fordham was especially memorable for another reason. It’s when she met her future husband, Greg O’Brien, on the fourth floor of O’Hare Hall Residential College. They started dating during their senior year and married in September 2012.
“Fordham was the best four years of my life,” says O’Brien. “I have friends I’ll have forever. I met my wife there. [It’s great] what it has done for me in my life.”
O’Brien, who is from Edison, N.J., grew up familiar with Fordham. His grandfather Thomas Garrubbo is a 1942 graduate of Fordham College at Rose Hill, and one of his cousins, Kimberly Spiessbach, graduated from Fordham Law in 1998. “That was a big decision factor in attending,” he says, “but [it was also about]falling in love with the look of campus.”
After graduating with a B.S. in finance from the Gabelli School of Business, O’Brien started working at Allied Irish Bank, where he soon discovered several Fordham connections. In fact, he has counted Fordham alumni among his colleagues and supervisors at all three of his post-college jobs, including his current position as an assistant vice president in U.S. Bank’s Education and Nonprofits Division.
Active students at Fordham—O’Brien was in the Sixth Man Club and played intramural softball, and Catino was in the Fordham University Emerging Leaders Program and the Fordham Club—they find many ways to give back to their alma mater.
“Fordham helped reinforce the Christian values we grew up with and provided opportunities for us to get involved in the community and around campus to give back,” says Catino.
They attend football and basketball games, Expressions performances, Homecoming, and other alumni events. They also give back as members of the Young Alumni President’s Club (YAPC).
YAPC, a donor recognition society at Fordham, recognizes recent undergraduate or graduate alumni who give back to their alma mater. For those graduates from the classes of 2004 to 2008, membership is based on an annual gift totaling $500 or more; from the classes of 2009 to 2013, it is $250 or more.
Catino and O’Brien support the University’s annual fund, the Fordham Fund, and the Fordham College at Rose Hill and Gabelli School of Business funds. And, as part of YAPC, they receive exclusive invitations to professional networking and social gatherings.
“Ours and other alumni donations demonstrate our collective appreciation for what Fordham has and will continue to provide us throughout our careers and lives,” says O’Brien.
“We think it’s important to help Fordham maintain its esteemed academic status and to continue to provide the same kinds of positive experiences for students that we had, for years to come.”
To learn more about the Young Alumni President’s Club, visit www.fordham.edu/yapc.