Six honorary degrees will be conferred on May 17 at Fordham’s 163rd Commencement ceremony on the Rose Hill campus.
In addition to this year’s commencement speaker, Charlie Rose, those receiving honorary degrees from the University include a Wall Street innovator, a Catholic education administrator, the grand dame of pro football, a founder and chairwoman of an investment management firm and a leader in children’s prime-time programming.
Joining the award-winning host when he receives his doctorate of human letters,honoris causa, are: John P. Foley, S.J., chairman of the Cristo Rey Network; Mario J. Gabelli (CBA ’65), chairman and chief executive officer-value investments of GAMCO Investors, Inc.; Ann Mara, wife of the late New York Giants owner Wellington Mara (FCRH ’37); and Christina Seix Dow (TMC ’72), founder and chairwoman of Seix Investment Advisors and founder of the Seix Academy for at-risk youth.
Richard Ross (LAW ’86), president of Disney Channels Worldwide, will receive a doctorate of laws, honoris causa, on May 18 at the Law School’s commencement ceremony.
John P. Foley, S.J., a Chicago native, entered the Society of Jesus in 1954. After earning a B.A. in literature from Xavier University, an M.A. in sociology and a M.Ed. from Loyola University, Father Foley served in Jesuit missions in Peru for 34 years, working in education. He returned to Chicago in 1995 and became the founding president of Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, an innovative Catholic school serving the immigrant population. The success of the school led to the creation of the Cristo Rey Network. As the national association’s chairman, Father Foley oversees 19 member high schools providing Roman Catholic university preparatory education in 15 states.
Mario J. Gabelli (CBA ’65), founded Gabelli & Company, Inc., in 1977. He is on the Board of Overseers of the Columbia University Graduate School of Business, a trustee of Boston College, Roger Williams University, the Wiegand Foundation and of the Winston Churchill Foundation of the United States, which provides student scholarships and fellowships. The son of Italian immigrants, Gabelli sits on the board of directors of the National Italian American Foundation, the American-Italian Cancer Foundation and the Foundation for Italian Art & Culture. Gabelli served as governor of the American Stock Exchange and is a frequent panelist for Barron’s. In 1997, Morningstar named Gabelli the U.S. Equity Manager of the Year for achieving a 31.7 percent return on 10 Gabelli equity funds. Barron’s selected him for its All-Century Team in January 2000.
Ann Mara, the first lady of the New York Giants and the National Football League, has cherished her relationship with the Jesuit family for more than six decades. As a young woman, she worked for the Jesuit Seminary and Mission Bureau, and was a member of the Church of Saint Ignatius Loyola on Park Avenue. It was there she met her husband, Wellington (FCRH ’37), and began the most enduring and enriching partnership in her life. Their large and loving family includes 11 children, 42 grandchildren and one great-grandchild, all of whom are fervent supporters of the Giants. The franchise has won seven NFL championships including three Super Bowls. The couple’s son, John (LAW ’79), is the president of the Giants, who recently defeated New England in Super Bowl XLII. The Mara family remains a generous supporter of Fordham, and four of Ann Mara’s grandchildren are students at the University.
Christina Seix Dow (TMC ’72), founded Seix Investment Advisors, an institutional fixed-income management firm, in 1992 and merged the firm in 2004 with SunTrust Banks, Inc., the seventh-largest bank in the United States. She continues to serve as the company’s chairwoman. Seix Dow was formerly chairwoman, chief executive officer and chief investment officer of MacKay-Shields Financial Corporation, a multi-billion dollar investment management firm in New York City. Seix Dow recently embarked on the founding of a residential school for at-risk youth, targeting a total school enrollment of 100-110 students, approximately 12 per year in grades K-8. Her goal is to provide students with a nurturing and safe environment, rigorous academics, and core ethical values that will enable them to become leaders in their communities and beyond.
Rich Ross (LAW ’86), has propelled Disney Channel U.S. to the No. 1 spot for prime-time viewing among children and preteens, and managing 67 channels that reach more than 600 million viewers in more than 100 countries. Ross also oversees DisneyChannel.com, which ranks as the No. 1 website for children aged 6-14, and Radio Disney Network. Ross directs the development of the channel’s original programming which includes the hit series Hannah Montana, Wizards of Waverly Place and That’s So Raven. Before joining Disney in 1996, Ross was a senior vice president of development and production at FX Networks and a vice president of programming enterprises for Nickelodeon.