Family, friends, and colleagues recalled the generosity and spirit of Robert “Bob” McKeon, GSB ’76, at the unveiling of the new residence hall at Lincoln Center that bears his name.
“At the center of this celebration is a remarkable spirit and a great man,” said Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham, of the former Board of Trustees member who passed away in 2012.
“Bob was a wise counsel, a dear friend, a missionary, a nudge, and a great companion in the work of Jesuit education.
“I hope every student who enters McKeon Hall knows who Bob was.”
The construction of the 14-story Pei Cobb Freed-designed residence hall, which sits atop the new law school building at Lincoln Center, was made possible in part by a bequest from McKeon.
The Oct. 1 ribbon cutting ceremony was held next to the entrance to the building facing the Robert Moses Plaza, in the foyer of the law school. Father McShane also praised former Fordham trustee chairs Paul Guenther, John Tognino, FCLS ’75, the current chair Bob Daleo, and Brian Byrne, Ph.D., vice president for Lincoln Center, for making possible a project that began in earnest a decade ago.
He also thanked Henry Cobb, from Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, for designing what he called the “most beautiful collegiate building in New York, and perhaps in the entire country.”
McKeon’s son, Robert B. McKeon Jr., recalled his father as someone who devoured knowledge about everything from science, history, and religion, to art and philosophy. His father would have loved the building for its bold, impressive architecture and the statement that it makes about the quality of the Fordham experience.
His remarks earned a standing ovation from the crowd.
“He would have loved the opportunity that it provides for generations of Fordham students to come and live comfortably in the Fordham community as they explore the boundless opportunities that New York City has to offer,” he said.
“He was curious about the world around him. He cared about the people close to him, and he believed in the power of knowledge and the value of life experience. He always credited Fordham for providing him with the foundation to lead the amazing, accomplished life that he led.”
Kyle Davis, FCLC ’15, a resident assistant in the building, which houses 430 residents, paid tribute to the new building for the ways it encourages students to foster connections and relationships.
“[The building] so wonderfully allows for bonding among these first-year students who are all navigating through the same experiences,” he said.
“The fact that they are all together, along with some pretty cool RAs, creates a common ground and a sense of comfort for them—a greater gift than any view of the Empire State Building could provide.”