Midtown Manhattan’s University Club was a scene of revelry and good cheer on April 22, as Fordham celebrated a tradition of making education accessible to those who struggle to afford it.
The annual Scholarship Donors and Recipients Reception brought together Fordham students with donors who made their scholarships possible. It was a chance for both to appreciate the transformative power of a donor’s generosity.
“My time here at Fordham would not have been possible without the contributions of generous donors like you,” said Jobin Varghese, a senior at Fordham College at Rose Hill.
Varghese, president of the Fordham chapter of the Jesuit National Honor Society Alpha Sigma Nu and a recipient of the UPS Endowed Program, shared the story of his parents, who immigrated to the Bronx from India in 1984 and worked minimum wage jobs to support the family. They saw firsthand the power of an education, he said, and made sure he visited the Rose Hill campus.
And when unexpected medical expenses for his two younger brothers strained the family’s finances, a financial aid package helped make his college dream attainable.
Upon graduation, Varghese will be taking a job with J.P. Morgan Chase’s Treasury and Investor Services Division.
He vowed to remain true to himself and never compromise his morals.
“These words are echoed every day by the staff here at Fordham. Therefore, as I go out into the world—and specifically to J.P Morgan—I will put into practice the lessons I have learned, and . . . carry out my responsibilities at work honestly, in good faith, and with integrity.”
“He would say to donors with great regularity, ‘We are all beneficiaries of a legacy that we did not create, and stewards of a legacy we will never enjoy,’” he said.
“He was absolutely right, except on this night. In a very real sense, the University family comes together and those who are the beneficiaries of a legacy they did not create meet stewards of a legacy they enjoy. When donors and scholarship recipients come together, everything in the University comes together in a marvelous way.”
Kathleen H. MacLean, FCRH ’75, and her husband Brian, FCRH ’75, funded a scholarship for Fordham undergraduates and a fund that provides resources for student housing. Meeting two of the recipients of the housing fund that evening was amazing, she said.
“I’ve almost benefitted more by meeting them and seeing how inspiring they are, and how much work they’ve put into school,” she said.
One of them was Vianca Abreu, a Fordham College at Lincoln Center junior majoring in international studies and political science. This year, Abreu was able to trade her 2.5 hour commute from Freeport, Long Island, for a room at McMahon Hall.
“It’s great. I’m actually getting A’s . . . because I don’t have to work two jobs to afford the LIRR, to afford the subway,” she said.
Ellen Zoey Sands, a sophomore psychology major at Fordham College at Rose Hill, is the recipient of the Reverend Phil Carey, S.J., Endowed Scholarship Fund, for which she maintains a high G.P.A. and does service work on campus. She has visited retired Jesuits in Murray-Weigel Hall and has done fundraising for a school in the Honduras.
“I’m really excited to meet my benefactors and thank them for all they’ve allowed me to do,” she said. “Having this scholarship helped me to stay at Fordham for the next three years, and I’m very blessed.”