Now Susan Conley Salice, FCRH ’82, and Thomas P. Salice, GABELLI ’82, have made another investment in Fordham and its students. Their latest gift—$2 million—will support several important initiatives, leading with student scholarship as a part of Fordham’s Faith & Hope | The Campaign for Financial Aid.
The Salices are among the University’s most generous alumni. In addition to other gifts, they donated to Fordham’s last capital campaign, Excelsior | Ever Upward | The Campaign for Fordham, to build the Salice and Conley residence hall on the Rose Hill campus, named in honor of their parents. The residence has housed hundreds of Fordham students since 2010.
Susan says there’s a good reason why they give.
“We both required scholarship dollars in order to be able to attend Fordham,” she said. She was one of the first members of her family to earn a bachelor’s degree, as was Tom the first to attend college in his family.
“If Fordham hadn’t come through, our lives would likely be quite different. We felt that the Jesuit education and values we received and embraced at Fordham made a significant difference in our lives individually—and, of course, together. That’s very powerful when you think about it.”
She has fond memories from her four years at Fordham—tutoring middle school students in the Bronx, working the grill at the McDonald’s on Fordham Road, studying for what seemed like endless hours in the library, sitting at Sunday night Mass at the University Church with her future husband. She also recalled a more recent special moment from last May—the day she and her husband saw their daughter graduate from Fordham’s Graduate School of Social Service. But perhaps most importantly, she feels the weight of her Fordham education at work in the skills she developed as an undergrad: leadership, curiosity, and awareness of the world around her.
“I graduated from Fordham being much more community-aware, world-aware. You question everything, interested in understanding the why,” she said, “and understanding that you have an opportunity and a responsibility to become engaged difference makers in the community and the world at large, for the greater good.”
Tom, a Fordham trustee fellow, went on to become co-founder and managing member of a private equity firm SFW Capital Partners, and the chairman of its investment committee; Susan became a vice president at Diversified Investment Advisors, a retirement investment firm.
Today, Susan devotes much of her time and resources to the causes that are important to her and her family. She is co-chair of Fordham’s Faith & Hope | The Campaign for Financial Aid and a University trustee. She also serves on other nonprofit boards. In 2017, she was also a keynote speaker at Fordham’s first annual Women’s Philanthropy Summit.
“Giving [to scholarships] is an opportunity to change a life—to make an impact in whatever capacity you are able to do so,” she said in her keynote speech.
“Many people can usually afford more than they think they can—and I mean that in a very simple way,” she added. “Perhaps one can give up Starbucks for a week and donate that money. Over the course of a year, that amount can add up and have an important impact.”
She encourages potential donors to reconnect with their alma mater and recall how it felt to be a young, 20-something college kid with all the possibilities in the world.
“When you first graduate, you’re busy. You’re working. You may be raising a family,” she said. “But if you are able to make time to go back to campus, listen to a lecture, attend an event, actually talk to students and professors, you’re going to reconnect with Fordham. You will see the promise students hold in their faces and the potential each has to live as women and men for others.”