Each year at the Fordham University convocation, the University honors its longest-serving employees with the Bene Merenti medal or the Archbishop Hughes medal, for 20 or 40 years of service.
And each year Joseph M. McShane, SJ, president of Fordham, asks the award recipients to stand and face the crowd, and asks their families to stand.
“Of course, the men and women whom we honor would remind us that they could not have served the University and transformed the world without the faith, support and love of their families,” said Father McShane.
This year, from the back of the McGinley Ballroom, Kevin Mulcahy hoisted his daughter up to see her mother, Julie Fissinger, who had just received the Archbishop Hughes medal for 20 years of administrative service as the director of the President’s Council. Fissinger’s two older children tilted their heads to get a glimpse of their mom.
“We do this sort of thing for kids all the time, so it’s kind of nice to see the adults get recognized,” said Mulcahy.
Fissinger said that Fordham has been always been a “good fit” for her because she was able to leave and take care of her kids when they were young, and then come back.
“It’s allowed me to balance my career in a family-friendly place,” she said.
Dozens of relatives celebrated alongside the 49 recipients, in what Father McShane called, “a family celebration.” Many said that Fordham was a place where one could explore life beyond the University gates and still be welcomed back.
Aleksa Mardjonovic’s family also stood and waved their hands as he received the Sursum Corda award, which recognizes members of the staff who made outstanding contributions to the University. Marjonovic, an HVAC mechanic, said he started at Fordham in the early 1970s, but left during the 1980s to “try other things.” and came back in 1990s. Like Fissinger, he returned because “Fordham has been good for me,” he said.
While most recipients celebrated 20 and 40 years of service, one notable exception—at 60 years of service—was Joseph R. Cammarosano PhD, professor emeritus of economics. He came to Fordham as a freshman in 1941. He is the second person in Fordham’s history to have received the Bene Merenti medal, which recognizes faculty service, three times.
And while this year marked Cammarosano’s 60th year of teaching at Fordham, it was his 75th year on campus.
“It’s been a blur,” said Cammarosano. “But after 75 years, I still feel as though I’m freshman coming up the Elm Road for the first time to see the dean.”
Cammarosano recalled a time on campus when “there were more squirrels than students” and a faculty “that was largely Jesuits.”
“There was more cohesion in those days because we all marched in step,” he said. “You had the same student sitting next to you in freshman year as you had in sophomore year. It was a good place to develop camaraderie.
“Those were great days. The landscape was such that you wouldn’t want to leave this place—and I didn’t!”
The camaraderie continues today, said Sarah Beer, the daughter of 20-year Bene Merenti awardee Robert Beer, PhD, associate professor and chair of the chemistry department.
“Everybody comes together and works hard on keeping the college a very safe and great place,” she said. “And I’m telling the complete truth—because I’ve seen how hard everybody works.”
Bene Merenti Medal | Sixty Years
Joseph R. Cammarosano | Professor Emeritus of Economics
Bene Merenti Medal | Forty Years
John D. Feerick | Sidney C. Norris Professor of Public Service Law
Gerard F. Iwantsch | Associate Professor of Biological Sciences
Lawrence King | Assistant Professor of Marketing
Henry Putzel III | Adjunct Professor of Law
Clara E. Rodríguez | Professor of Sociology
Allen Schiff | Professor of Accounting and Taxation
Jack Spalding | Associate Professor of Art History
Bene Merenti Medal | Twenty Years
Albert Auster | Professor of Communication and Media Studies
Robert H. Beer | Associate Professor and Chair of Chemistry
Doron Ben-Atar | Professor of History
Karen E. Brobst | Associate Professor of Education
Benjamin Crooker | Associate Professor of Physics and Engineering Physics
Hooman Estelami | Professor of Marketing
Raymond T. Franzem | Adjunct Associate Professor of Social Work
Elisabeth Frost | Professor of English and Women’s Studies
Abby Goldstein | Associate Professor of Visual Arts
Albert N. Greco | Professor of Marketing
Judith Green | Professor of Philosophy
William J. Greene III | Adjunct Associate Professor of Law and Ethics
Meredith Hanson | Professor of Social Work
Leah Aileen Hill | Associate Dean for Experiential Education, School of Law
Sharon M. Livesey | Associate Professor of Management
Dean McKay | Professor of Psychology
Dana Miller | Associate Professor of Philosophy
James McNulty Mitchell | Adjunct Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Barbara E. Mundy | Professor of Art History
Harry Newman | Professor of Accounting and Taxation
Martin A. Sanzari | Assistant Professor of Physics and Engineering Physics
Marcella Silverman | Clinical Associate Professor of Law
Judith R. Smith | Associate Professor of Social Work
Lawrence Michael Wolk | Visiting Instructor of Computer Science
Archbishop Hughes Medal | Twenty Years
Irene F. Badaracco | Director, Institute of American Language and Culture
Kimberly J. Carr | Assistant Director, Office of International Studies
Ann Marie Ciaramella | Assistant Dean, Graduate School of Education
Michael Considine | Director of Information Technology Services, University Libraries
Keith Eldredge | Dean of Students, Lincoln Center
Christine Engongoro | Director of Student Financial Services, Rose Hill
Angela Epstein | Assistant Director of University Procurement
George Evans | Director of Technical Operations, WFUV
Julie Fissinger | Director of the President’s Council
Eleanor McKenna | Manager, Student Financial Services
Evgheni Sandu | Systems Engineer, University Libraries
Stefano A. Terzulli | Bursar and Director of Student Accounts
Paul I. Thyagaraj | Senior Manager of Campus Operations, Lincoln Center
Rebeca Velazquez | Manager of Faculty Administration
The Sursum Corda Award
Sylvia Heichel | Executive Secretary, Office for Student Involvement
Aleksa Mardjonovic | HVAC Mechanic
Angela Van Dekker | Associate Vice President for Student Financial Services