The Dedication of Campbell, Conley and Salice Halls | Rose Hill Campus
Joseph M. McShane, S.J., President of Fordham University
Sunday, 7 November 2010
“This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
Thank you, Roger. The psalmist is, of course, right: this is the day the Lord has made. It is a day of great rejoicing for the entire Fordham family, and especially for the students who are the beneficiaries of the generosity and vision of Bob and Joan Campbell and Tom and Susan Salice. (As I have told Joan, Bob, Susan and Tom, they are the most popular people on campus–and with good reason. They have provided our students with the most remarkable housing that we have ever had on campus. Therefore, the residents of Campbell, Conley and Salice Halls thank God for their good fortune and praise their benefactors.)
This afternoon, we join our students in both thanking God and praising our benefactors. We thank God for the generosity of heart that led Joan, Bob, Susan and Tom to give the gifts that made these buildings possible. We also praise the Campbell and Conley-Salice families for their loyalty to the University and for the vision that they share for Fordham’s future, a future in which the University will take its rightful place among the ranks of the nation’s foremost colleges and universities.
Although they normally shun the spotlight, I wonder if I could ask our benefactors to stand to be recognized: Bob and Joan, could I ask you to rise? Tom and Susan, could I also ask you to stand with your parents to receive some measure of the thanks that we all owe you?
While we rightly acknowledge the great generosity that the Campbell’s and the Salice’s have shown, I wonder if I could take a few moments to reflect on the responsibilities that the students who will live in these residence halls now have precisely because they live in buildings named for Bob and Joan, Mr. & Mrs. Conley and Mr. & Mrs. Salice. What do I mean? In the Church, we take very seriously the lessons that the lives of our patrons teach us about how to live. (This is especially the case in the month of November when we remember and celebrate all of the saints.) Today, on this feast of dedication, we are invited to reflect on the lessons that our patron (saints) teach us about how to live. First, Bob and Joan Campbell: Bob has lived a life distinguished by conspicuous integrity. In fact, in everything that he did in his long career with Johnson and Johnson, he was guided by a strict moral code. Therefore, he is rightly hailed as one of the most remarkable businessman of our age. He is, moreover, a man of disarming modesty. These two traits, integrity and modesty, combine to make him a fitting patron saint for our students to emulate. He, of course, makes it very clear his life would not have been nearly as rich in meaning or as strong in principle were it not for Joan, the woman who has not just stood by him, but has inspired him with love for his entire life. Together, Joan and Bob are great saints–doctors of the Church gathered at Fordham–and they offer examples to be followed.
As for Tom and Sue Salice: they too are fitting patron saints to be emulated. Like Joan and Bob, they have been strong supporters of the University and of the capital campaign whose first fruits are the buildings that we dedicate this afternoon. They are, if anything, even more modest than Bob and Joan because they have chosen to name Conley and Salice not for themselves, but for their parents, Mr. & Mrs. Conley and Mr. & Mrs. Salice. Therein lies a story. Their parents did not attend college. Rather, they scrimped and saved so that they could make it possible for their children to attend college. There, my friends, is a great story, a great Fordham story. In fact, their story captures the spirit of our University magnificently. Think of it: it speaks of love, transforming love. Therefore, as we dedicate Conley and Salice Halls, we celebrate not only devotion to the University, but also the devotion of a family–parents to children and children to parents. And we hold this example of love up to our students and proclaim (quite boldly) that if you are looking for an example on which you could or should model your lives, look no further than here. Here, here, you will find the recipe for a good life!
And so, my friends, today is the day the Lord has made. It is also a day on which we reflect on and rejoice in the lessons that our patron saints offer us: integrity, modesty, love and devotion. May all of our students strive to live lives modelled on these virtues, and so live lives worthy of Fordham!