At a virtual convocation ceremony on Oct. 4, Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham, celebrated the “heroic figures” whose decades of service have empowered Fordham students and enriched the life of the University.
Presiding over the Sunday afternoon event held via Zoom, Father McShane officially bestowed the Bene Merenti medal upon 21 faculty members who marked 20 or 40 years of service at Fordham this year. Eighteen administrators were recognized for their 20- and 40-year anniversaries with the Archbishop Hughes medal. And three staff members were honored with the Sursum Corda award for their outstanding contributions to the University. Medals were made available to awardees in advance of the rescheduled ceremony; many took photos with them for display in the Zoom event.
Father McShane reflected on the years 1980 and 2000, when most of the medalists joined Fordham, and recalled the celebrities and politicians that have shaped recent U.S. history. Then he turned closer to home.
“Today, my friends, as we gather virtually, we celebrate our own heroic figures—figures who have spent their lives advancing and enriching the mission of the University and bringing light and warmth to our community and hope to our world. We celebrate faculty members who open the eyes and hearts of our students to the wonders of what it is to be human,” Father McShane said. “We celebrate the fact that the members of the administrative staff use their creativity and experience to solve problems that, at first glance, seem to be insoluble.”
Calling the event the “first—and hopefully only—virtual convocation,” Father McShane thanked this year’s awardees for their work during these difficult times.
“In this challenging year marked by division, fear, and anxiety,” he said, “[Fordham’s] mission—your work—is more important than ever.”
Below is the complete list of the 2020 honorees:
Bene Merenti Medal | 40 Years
Victor Marek Borun • Robert J. Brent • Fred Campano
Mary C. Erler • Christopher W. Gowans • David Elliott Koch
Robert H. Lewis • Joseph Perricone • Massud Shoja
Bene Merenti Medal | 20 Years
O. Hugo Benavides • Susan Block-Lieb • Mary Beth Combs Lewis Freeman • Brian Glick • John Hollwitz
Gayane Hovakimian • Dawn Lerman • Aristotle Papanikolaou • Barry D. Rosenfeld • Patrick J. Ryan, S.J. • Chun Zhang
Archbishop Hughes Medal | 40 Years
Betty Garity • Susan Ianniello
Archbishop Hughes Medal | 20 Years
Nelly Alicea • Silvio Balzano • Liz Casey • Ysmael De Castro • Laura Fedele • Greer Jason-DiBartolo • Cynthia N. Juco • Polly S. Kaplan • Judy Kelly • Salvatore C. Longarino
Joli Patino • Frank Simio • Marlyn Soto-Pichardo
Ryan Stellabotte • Michael M. Twum • Marco A. Valera
Sursum Corda Award
Jolene Santana • John Spaccarelli • Linda White-Ryan