The Fordham Founder’s Presidential Scholarship Fund took in a record $2.4 million at its signature fundraising gala, the Fordham Founder’s Award Dinner, on March 31, at the Waldorf=Astoria. A glittering, excited crowd of more than 1,000 alumni, students and friends of the University filled the Grand Ballroom for this year’s dinner honoring Robert E. Campbell (CBA ’55) and Herbert A. Granath (FCRH ’54, GSAS ’55).
“Fordham hasn’t left any aspect of me unchanged, and it has made me a student of Jesuit tradition for life,” said Michael Slagus, CBA class of 2008, one of the beneficiaries of the scholarship fund. “I know that I will approach all of my future endeavors with the eagerness that this school has instilled in me.”
Slagus, an Ozone Park, Queens, native now enrolled in Fordham’s MBA program, told a rapt audience of donors, “Your support causes students to foster a deeper love of Fordham and instills in us a commitment to serve her now and in the future.”
The night began with an invocation by Edward Cardinal Egan, Archbishop of New York, and included testimonials of the power of a Fordham education from Slagus and Madeline Felix, a Fordham College at Lincoln Center senior, who said the theatre program has helped her grow as an “actress, an artist and a person.”
Master of ceremonies William F. Baker, Ph.D., president emeritus of Educational Broadcasting Corporation, introduced some of the luminaries on hand, including bestselling author Mary Higgins Clark (FCLC ’79); retired General John M. Keane (CBA’66), former vice chief of staff of the U.S. Army; and Charles Osgood (FCRH ’54), legendary broadcaster and anchor of CBS News Sunday Morning.
Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham University, praised the evening’s honorees, calling them “daring visionaries … whose lives and careers have always been marked by infectious and inspiring integrity.”
Upon receiving the Founder’s Award, Robert E. Campbell (CBA ’55), who served as chair of Fordham’s Board of Trustees from 1992 to 1998, said that those who are blessed with health and wealth and education have an obligation to give back to the greater society.
“I remain indebted to my Fordham education,” said Campbell, former vice chair of the board of directors of Johnson & Johnson. “I believe we are all indebted to those who go before us, those who nurture and teach us that which becomes part of our internal value system. And we leave a legacy for those who follow us.”
Granath, chairman of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and chairman emeritus of ESPN, said Fordham played a key role in helping him choose his career, and in the way he pursued that career. He was responsible for the creation of cable channels that are now household names, including A&E, the History Channel, Lifetime and the Hallmark Channel.
“One of the things I took with me from Fordham was a strong grounding in morality and ethics and I’ve tried to apply that to my work,” Granath said. “I helped to develop a number of cable stations and I can look back and say I’m proud to have been associated with all of them.”