Held at the historic Cliff House in San Francisco, the evening reception was the final event of the University’s western swing through Arizona and California, where Fordham’s influence continues to thrive, from the rise in student applications to the increased alumni participation in University events and alumni chapter programs.
At the reception, Rongchen Zhu, a senior at Quarry Lane School, a private college preparatory school in Dublin, Calif., spoke with Fordham parents Edward H. Davis and Cynthia Davis about the University and their daughter, Briana, a freshman at Fordham College at Rose Hill.
“The personal attention professors and staff have already given to me really matters to me,” said Zhu, who was recently accepted to Fordham as an early action applicant. “Everyone at Fordham just wants you to be the best you can be. They really care about you as a person. It’s not just a line in a brochure.”
Like Zhu, more and more students from California are interested in attending Fordham.
Peter Farrell, director of undergraduate admission at Fordham, told those in attendance that California recently passed Massachusetts as the third largest feeder state for the University, behind only New York and New Jersey.
He also said this year’s applicant pool is one of the best in the University’s history, pointing out that Fordham is now a top 50 destination for National Merit scholars.
“These students are demonstrably extraordinary,” he said. “We are desperately interested in getting them to call Fordham home.”
Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham, celebrated Fordham’s Californian students as “a golden crop from the Golden state” and invited prospective students to come to “the most remarkable Jesuit school” that is “brighter with promise than ever before.”
“If you come to Fordham, you will never be the same,” he said. “You’ll be yourself, but more so. You will be restless for the entirety of your life, and this will make every Jesuit happy.”
Fordham parent Patrick Pahl said his son Aaron, a freshman at Fordham College at Rose Hill, is working a lot more than he expected, but he’s also having a lot more fun too.
“He keeps long, tough hours,” said Pahl, “but it’s worth it. I look forward to him taking advantage of Fordham’s alumni network, both in New York and out here in California.
“It’s nice to know Fordham alumni look out for each other.”
One such alumnus, Anthony Dapice, FCRH ’91, relocated to San Francisco seven years ago. He said the alumni network in Northern California helped ease his transition.
“The Fordham community here is still pretty tightly knit,” he said. “I had no idea. There’s a lot of Fordham pride here.”
Margaux Weeke, FCLC ’10, who recently moved to San Francisco, agreed, noting Fordham events like the regional reception and future chapter events, like upcoming Day on the Bay in April, would help her get settled in her new city.
“It’s a great way to meet people,” she said, “and get involved in the Bay Area.”
In Phoenix a night earlier, more than 95 Fordham alumni, parents, and prospective students gathered in the Arizona Biltmore, where Phoenix Cardinals quarterback John Skelton, a 2010 alumnus of the Gabelli School of Business, recounted his journey from El Paso, Texas, to the Bronx.
“El Paso is a long way from New York,” he said. “Like anyone going across country to go to school, I was scared. I was nervous. But it was amazing how welcoming everyone is at Fordham, how welcoming new students are, teachers, and priests. It’s a wonderful community there.”
Before mingling with his extended Fordham family, Skelton remarked on how Fordham’s reach continues to extend beyond New York City.
“I think it’s amazing that so many people can come to a Fordham event in Arizona,” he said. “Fordham’s reputation is growing.”
—Miles Doyle, FCRH ’01
Image: Cardinals quarterback John Skelton, a 2010 alumnus of the Gabelli School of Business, talks with Daniel Gatti, S.J., Fordham’s interim director of alumni relations and alumni chaplain, at the Phoenix Alumni Reception, which was held at the Arizona Biltmore on Monday, Feb. 27. (Photo by Peter Vander Stoep.)