For Valerie Poggioli and John Santanasto (both FCRH ’07), the President’s Club Christmas Reception has taken on a new meaning.
Not only does the annual event symbolize their commitment to Fordham, it is also a celebration of their engagement.
“It’s a little Fordham fairy tale,” said Poggioli, whose fiancé proposed to her during last year’s reception.
The fiancés, who began dating as sophomores, said they are grateful to the University for bringing them together.
“We wouldn’t have met each other if it weren’t for Fordham,” Poggioli said. “It’s one of the reasons Fordham is so special. It’s always going to be part of our lives.”
Many other guests echoed that sentiment of gratitude at the Dec. 5 reception, where University benefactors commemorated another year of advancing Fordham’s mission. More than 1,000 alumni, faculty members, administrators and supporters gathered in the David H. Koch Theater at the Lincoln Center, making this year’s reception the most well-attended in the series.
“It has been an extraordinary year for Fordham,” Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of the University, told the crowd.
Holding up a candy cane and explaining its resemblance to a shepherd’s crook, Father McShane told participants that their generosity merited them a special role in the University.
“When I look out to you, I see modern-day shepherds,” he said, likening the group to the nativity shepherds who traveled to Bethlehem with gifts. “Like the shepherds, you reach into your heart and into your treasure and you give generously. You give to the mission of Fordham.”
Christa Reddy and her husband, John (FCRH ’76), a member of the President’s Council, said they give to Fordham in thanks for past experiences and current ones, now that a daughter attends the University.
“She keeps saying, ‘Mom, I can’t believe how good my life is,’” said Reddy, whose daughter, Kathryn, is a Rose Hill sophomore studying physics and engineering.
John Tognino (PCS ’75), chairman of the Fordham University Board of Trustees, noted milestones that the University has achieved since last year’s reception. More than 24,000 donors raised $51 million, he said, bringing Excelsior | Ever Upward | The Campaign for Fordham to $438 million of its $500 million goal.
The announcement brought enthusiastic applause from the crowd.
“I have nothing but love for Fordham,” said Frank Lucianna Esq. (FCRH ’48, LAW ’51), who said that his education prepared him for the challenges and successes of his life.
“What I learned at Fordham helped me survive World War II. It gave me the spirit to run, and to serve my country, and to be married for 56 years, and to love my family and to love, love, Fordham,” he said.