A naming ceremony will take place on April 20, 2016, at the nine-story Art Deco-style building at 45 Columbus Ave., across the street from Fordham Law School. Purchased last year from the College Board, the building provides space to 18 of the University’s departments, centers and offices.
Martino was a longtime Fordham supporter and an advisor to the University when it was expanding its presence in Manhattan. In addition to serving as a charter member of Fordham’s Board of Lay Trustees, he played a leadership role in fundraising for construction at the Rose Hill campus and for the redevelopment that created the campus at Lincoln Center.
“Joseph A. Martino served Fordham, and served it well in many capacities, including close collaboration with several former presidents of the University, especially Father Laurence McGinley,” said Joseph M. McShane, SJ, president of the Fordham. “As a valued counselor, as a member of the Lay Board of Trustees, on the executive council, and as a generous donor, he showed great integrity and wisdom. It is more than fitting that we honor Mr. Martino by naming for him our newest building, facing his beloved Lincoln Center campus.”
Martino attended Columbia University and graduated from Pace University in 1922. He worked for more than 50 years at National Lead Co. (now NL Industries), starting as an office boy in 1916 and retiring as board chairman in 1969, along the way helping to transform the company into an industry leader.
He also served as director for major corporations including the American Broadcasting Company, Chase Manhattan Bank, Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co., and Allegheny Ludlum Steel Corp., and as vice chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
In addition, Martino served as a trustee of Long Island’s North Shore Hospital and as a director at the United Cerebral Palsy Research and Education Foundation, the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, and the Commerce and Industry Association of New York.
Martino believed industry had a responsibility to support higher education. He got involved with Fordham in the 1950s when he helped Leon Lowenstein—a textile executive and also a lay trustee—acquire land for the Lincoln Center campus through Robert Moses, the powerful New York City planning official.
In 1956 Martino was picked to lead the executive council tasked with raising $11 million for constructing buildings at Rose Hill and developing the new campus in Midtown, for which Martino was a major benefactor.
Fordham awarded Martino an honorary doctor of laws degree in 1956, and the University’s graduate business school carried his name until last year, when University officials worked with the Martino family to transfer his name to a different facility at Lincoln Center that has now been ratified by our Board. In 1963 he received Fordham’s Insignis Medal, awarded for extraordinary distinction in the service of God and humanity; he also received honorary degrees from Pace and from the University of Notre Dame, where he was also a trustee.
At his memorial service in 1983, Martino was eulogized by James C. Finlay, SJ, then president of Fordham, who called him “a ‘big’ man in every way—physically strong, yet gentle, courageous, and wise.”
“Fordham was just one of several universities, hospitals, and social agencies that exist today or that serve God’s people more effectively today because Joe Martino contributed his time, his inexhaustible energy, and his treasure,” Father Finlay said.