Eleven Fordham employees were presented the 1841 Award, which honors 20 or more years of service to the University, at a ceremony in Duane Library on the Rose Hill campus on Dec. 13. The honorees were given the medals by Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham, and lauded by their individual department heads.
The 2006 recipients were Rosa Accetta, Patricia Allinger, Pablo Ballestero, Fernando Bonilla,Brenda Broomes, Helena T. Cunniffe, Robert H. Hinkle, Sandra Hopard, Paz Ramos, Frank Spadafora and Alclay R. Sturm. The honorees were accompanied by family, former 1841 Award recipients and coworkers in a festive gathering that included many children.
Father McShane told the audience that as Fordham celebrated the Feast of St. Lucy, the bringer of light, the 1841 medalists brought their own illumination to the University. “You are all bearers of light, and bringers of warmth into the University family,” said Father McShane. “These quiet, unassuming women and men who never seek the spotlight for themselves—today is their day and we insist on shining a spotlight on them.”
The 1841 Award was established in 1982 by former president James C. Finlay, S.J., in honor of the year Fordham was founded by Archbishop John Hughes. The ceremony was a reminder of the wide-ranging talents of the Fordham family. Accetta worked at Rose Hill while putting her daughters through Fordham; Ballestero, a groundskeeper, was lauded for his heart, and for hands that have brought beauty to the campus for two decades; Bonilla was hailed by Vice President Brian Byrne as “the gentle giant” of the Custodial Services Department, much loved by the students in Martyrs Hall, his current assignment.
Ramos said what she liked best about her 20 years at Fordham was “meeting all kinds of people from all walks of life, all cultures and nationalities,” and the ceremony certainly demonstrated the diversity of the Fordham family: Ramos was born in the Philippines; Cunniffe in County Clare, Ireland; and Accetta, whose daughters (and Fordham alumnae) Cathy and Linda were with her, came to the United States from Salerno, Italy.