During the college admissions process, students may find that they have been admitted to more than one of their top choices. As they choose which to attend, colleges reach out to show how their institution can be the best fit.
The process is something that Laura Auricchio, Ph.D., has on her radar, and in a March 7 Zoom meeting, Auricchio, the dean of Fordham College at Lincoln Center, discussed it with the FCLC Board of Advisors—a group of alumni and friends of the college that she reconvened last fall. The group met with Patricia Peek, Ph.D., dean of undergraduate admissions, and Rodger Van Allen, director of development for Fordham College at Lincoln Center, to talk about how they can show prospective students all Fordham has to offer.
The new board, which is similar to a student advisory group that also began meeting in the fall, is comprised of Maureen Beshar, FCLC ’86; Cathy Blaney, FCLC ’86; Jolie Ann Calella, FCLC ’91; Rick Calero, FCLC ’90; Patricia Dugan Perlmuth, FCLC ’79; Jonathan Valenti, FCLC ’98; and Mark Luis Villamar, GABELLI ’69.
The admissions meeting was just one of many ways this new group of FCLC supporters put their heads together to help the institution they love. This was their third gathering after two last semester—including a joint meeting with members of the new student group.
Raising the Profile
Auricchio revived the Board of Advisors with the hopes of both increasing alumni engagement and substantially raising the profile of the college, which she said is one of the best-kept secrets in New York City. Ask your average New Yorker about the Lincoln Center campus, and they may be familiar with the Law School, but not necessarily Fordham College at Lincoln Center, she said. One way to fix that is to establish a much more robust connection to New York City, and who better to help than a board of advisors, each with deep roots in the Big Apple?
“I fully believe that FCLC can become the premiere liberal arts college in Manhattan, and I think it can be unique in its focus on the arts, its integration in the city, and its commitment to Jesuit values of social justice and more,” she said.
Valenti, a native of Poland, Maine, who visited both the Lincoln Center and Rose Hill campuses as a high school senior, said he was smitten immediately with the idea of living in Manhattan and seeing all of New York as his campus. He said he loves the University’s motto, “New York is my campus, Fordham is my school.”
“My family thought I was crazy. When we went to Rose Hill, they were like, ‘Isn’t this is where you want to go?’ I said ‘nope,’” he recalled, laughing.
When he was an undergraduate, he majored in informational systems; now a partner at Deloitte, he said he’s eager to give back. He’s already hosted a gathering of prospective students at the company’s Manhattan headquarters at 30 Rock and wants to do more.
A New Opportunity to Connect
“Fordham gave me a great educational foundation for the work I do,” he said, noting that he was prepared for the convergence of business and technology that has happened in the years since. The advisory board, he said, has given him a new opportunity to connect with others who feel the same way.
“It’s been exciting to be part of a discussion with other alums who have been out there and seen the value of the education and have pride in the school.”
Valenti said he’s especially interested in helping create programs that take advantage of expertise in different disciplines, like combining the arts with law and business. The conversation about admitted students was a good place to start, he said, and gave him hope for future meetings.
“There is a hunger for more of the data that was shared by the admissions side. We’re looking to understand where the students are coming from, and why they’re choosing Fordham,” he said.
“People do question the value of a liberal arts education, and the way we function at work is changing and evolving, and so Fordham has a chance to be setting that agenda.”
Auricchio said that although the first meetings—there is one more left this semester—have primarily been focused on getting the group off the ground, it’s key to her that the group is action- and goal-oriented. Participants at the March 7 meeting made it clear they feel the same.
“I don’t want to waste anybody’s time. I want to find ways to build connections through the whole student pipeline, from the time when students apply, to when they meet alumni, through the time that they’re students, through their alumni experience after they graduate,” she said.
“I see this as a virtuous cycle. If we start engaging them as students, while they’re students, they develop stronger connections to the college, and to each other.”