More than 1,700 alumni and friends visited the Rose Hill campus from June 4 to 6 to retrace footsteps, rekindle friendships and relive memories at Jubilee Weekend.
For at least one Fordham couple, it was a chance for romance.
Griffin Quirk, FCRH ’05, and Anne Shaknis, FCRH ’05, met while they were undergraduates and soon began dating. Last Saturday, when the couple checked in for their five-year Jubilee reunion, they were told their accommodations in Martyrs’ Court were not ready. Instead, they were told they would have to stay temporarily in the Alumni South dorms (where Shaknis lived as a freshman).
Out of curiosity, Shaknis suggested to Quirk that they stop in her old Alumni South room just to see it again. To her surprise, when she opened the door she found a room adorned with roses and a bottle of champagne. Quirk dropped to one knee and proposed to his longtime girlfriend.
“I had to marry this girl,” said Quirk, who has been dating Shaknis since they were students. “When I heard about Jubilee, everything seemed like the right opportunity, so I contacted alumni relations.”
“It’s hard to get things by me,” said Shaknis, who was thrilled to accept. “But he played it off so well. I can’t believe so many people went through such effort to make it so special.”
The story was one of many that made it a weekend of milestones—personal, professional and institutional.
For John D. Feerick, FCRH ’58, LAW ’61, it was a day to be honored for his years of service to Fordham—first as dean of Fordham Law and then as founder of the Feerick Center for Social Justice.
Feerick was inducted into Fordham’s Hall of Honor with Charles Osgood, FCRH ’54, award-winning journalist and anchor of CBS Sunday Morning.
Feerick, a Bronx native who supports his childhood parish of Saint Angela Merici, accepted the award by thanking his former teachers and deans all by name.
“It’s the most seminal award of all the recognitions I’ve received in my life, coming from the University where I made lifelong friends and met my wife 50 years ago,” Feerick said. “I’ve been inspired at the college and law school in so many ways by my teachers, and whatever is happening tonight, they had a lot to do with it.”
In his address to the Jubilee attendees, Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham, said that he realized from an early age that Fordham causes its alumni to travel through time when they return to campus.
“My father was a serious man … but when he returned to Fordham, the place where he said young boys go to become men, he got younger as the day went on,” Father McShane said. “You, who came as young men and became mature men here, when you come back, time is reversed.”
Those alumni who reached their 50-year milestone—the Class of 1960—made the largest Jubilee gift to Fordham. On behalf of the class, alumni Brian Conboy and Joe Realini presented Father McShane with a check for more than $4 million—nearly half of the $8,713,679 raised this year.
“There is a common denominator among all of our classmates near and far . . . that Fordham was in those days—and continues to be—a place that provided an extraordinary link between classical liberal arts, Jesuit hallmark education and the real world,” Conboy said. “Every classmate could go out with a sense of making a difference in someone’s life, and you see that in most of the people coming back.”
Jubilee 2010 marked the first time that alumnae from Marymount College of Fordham University held their reunion on the Rose Hill campus. Some 80 alumnae gathered in the Duane Library’s University Commons amid festive clusters of blue and white balloons—Marymount’s colors—to present awards to three accomplished women.
Jean P. Wynn, MC ’80, a managing director at BNY Mellon, received the Alumna of Achievement Award. Patricia Cotter, MC ’75, a lawyer with Merrill Lynch, received the Golden Dome Award. Ellen Marie Keane, R.S.H.M., MC ’60, professor emeriti of philosophy, was given a standing ovation when she was presented with the Gloria Gaines Memorial Award.
“I commend the alumnae and Fordham for keeping the Marymount legacy alive,” said Wynn, whose father and brother graduated from the Rose Hill campus. “Marymount was an educational oasis on the Hudson with a homey feel and nurturing environment. I don’t think many of us fully appreciated how wonderful it was at the time, but looking back, it was a great foundation.”
Lastly, a special reception was held for alumni and friends of Fordham’s Francis and Ann Curran Center for American Catholic Studies, to bid farewell to director Mark Massa, S.J., the Karl Rahner, S.J., Chair in Theology. Incoming director Christine Firer Hinze, Ph.D., professor of theology, announced the establishment of the Mark Massa Fund, to be used by the center for student-directed activities, including community service.
“We want to keep the spirit alive and fund the programs that Mark started,” Firer Hinze said. “I hope we can build on the dynamism that has filtered out into the world through all of our students.”