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Fordham College at Rose Hill Applauds High Achievers


The Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH) Class of 2011 gathered on May 19 with friends, family and faculty members in the Rose Hill Gymnasium to celebrate Encaenia, an annual ceremony to recognize outstanding academic achievements.

FCRH honored seniors who attained excellence in their fields, as well as those who received Fulbright fellowships and other scholarships, or were inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and other honor societies.

Michael E. Latham, Ph.D., dean of FCRH, addressed the assembly by noting the international theme of this year’s Encaenia, as many of the award recipients had traveled extensively for study, community outreach and personal enrichment.

“Tonight, I would like to reflect on that broader global dimension of our experience,” Latham said.

To inspire this reflection, Latham recalled the swiftness with which news of the recent Japanese tsunami tragedy spread through every form of media, whether print, broadcast or electronic.

Placing this event within the context of 20th and 21st century history, he pondered whether this age of global interconnection has actually fulfilled its potential to unify people and nations.

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“Does the phenomenon of rapid, mass communication always deepen our capacity for real human understanding and empathy? Does it always expand our spiritual and intellectual horizons?” Latham asked.

In considering these questions, Latham offered that this might not always be the case. Quoting Adolfo Nicolás, S.J., superior general of the Society of Jesus, he suggested that the worldwide communications network has at times led to “the globalization of superficiality,” which limits our capacity for true compassion.

But he stressed that the Class of 2011 is well equipped to confront this threat of superficiality and the lack of empathy that accompanies it.

“I believe your Jesuit education at Fordham, both inside and outside the classroom, has provided you with the crucial resources necessary to remain open to a broader, deeper, richer kind of solidarity,” he said.

“I pray that the moral foundation that you have acquired here will help you understand that across the lines of race, class, culture, gender and religion, we are all part of a common human family. As you leave Fordham, may you continue to be a vital part of the world’s geography of hope at home and abroad.”

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The Claver Award, which is named for St. Peter Claver, an 18th-century Spanish Jesuit, was presented to Craig Small, a Latin American and Latino studies major. The award recognizes the senior who most exemplifies Fordham’s dedication to community service.

Nora Moran, an urban studies major, received the Fordham College Alumni Association Award for the student who best shows the Fordham spirit. The award, an armchair bearing the Fordham insignia, provided an excellent perch from which Moran listened to Latham’s address.

Megan C. Wiessner gave the valedictorian address in which she recalled that when she arrived at Fordham, she did not immediately feel inspired and even considering transferring.

However, she credited the strength of Fordham’s core curriculum, the bonds she formed with fellow students, and the cultural richness of Fordham’s New York City campus with transforming her experience and solidifying her connection to the University.

She recalled one professor in particular who taught her to see how every person she encounters in life is unique and will never be encountered again.

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She reminded her assembled classmates that “whatever friends we’ve made here at Fordham, these people don’t exist anywhere else and they never will.”

Referring to their shared intellectual endeavors and questioning, Wiessner told her peers, “We’ve changed each other . . . we’ve changed Fordham, and we’re not done yet.”


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