Anyone who says that you can’t go home again didn’t attend Jubilee Weekend 2008.
More than 1,500 Fordham alumni and friends gathered to recall their college days, reconnect with friends and toast the past, present and future of their beloved University from May 30 to June 1.
The biggest toast of the weekend came Saturday evening at the President’s Club Cocktail Reception, where Michael O’Neill, associate vice president for development and university relations, announced that combined total of all class reunion gifts.
From the Golden Rams through the Class of 2003, Fordham alumni gave more than $14 million in honor of their Jubilee reunions.
Also at the reception, Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham, unveiled a portrait of William D. Walsh (FCRH ’51) and his wife, Jane, which will hang in their namesake library on the Rose Hill campus.
“It makes me smile to think that this portrait will quietly urge Fordham students yet to come to work and play and give as mom and dad have done,” said Deborah Hirsch, daughter of William and Jane Walsh.
The weekend began Friday night with a reception and dinner honoring the Golden Rams and the 50th anniversary Class of 1958. The main Jubilee festivities kicked off the following morning, when Father McShane opened the day by greeting alumni and updating them on the University’s progress.
He detailed Fordham’s rise in national rankings for each of its schools and colleges and extolled the virtues of the William D. Walsh Family Library. With more than 1 million volumes, it is the fifth-largest college or university library in the country.
He also announced that the University has experienced a seven percent increase in applications, and that 2,042 high school graduates have enrolled at Fordham when the University was expecting only about 1,800.
In addition, the University is achieving remarkable success in helping students obtain prestigious academic awards and fellowships.
“We’ve done so well in the Gates-Cambridge that Columbia has come to us and asked, ‘How do you do it?'” he said, before joking, “We’re not telling them anything.”
Alumni gathered to open the Fordham University Hall of Honor, which was installed in the main corridor of the administration building. Afterward, they were able to take tours of campus, attend a Fordham event at the Bronx Zoo, or break bread at several luncheons, barbecues and an afternoon tea.
For those who wished to sate their intellectual appetites, a lecture titled “Keeping the ‘and’ in Jesuit and Catholic Tradition” was held in Duane Library. Later that day, hundreds attended the Jubilee Mass at the University Church.