Daniel J. Gatti, S.J., (JES ’65, GSE ’66) has been named alumni chaplain at Fordham University, effective Aug. 1.
Father Gatti comes to Fordham from Xavier High School in Manhattan, where he served as president from 1997 to 2009.
His responsibilities will be two-fold—including both pastoral care and University development. “Of course I’ll be performing pastoral duties for the alumni community, and I’m happy to be involved in the development side as much as people feel that I’ll be helpful,” Father Gatti said.
“Fordham has been in my psyche for a long time,” he added, noting that his father graduated from Fordham College at Rose Hill in 1931, played trumpet in the band and orchestra, and composed the music of The Fordham Medley.
Father Gatti himself is a Fordham alumnus twice over—holding degrees from Fordham College at Rose Hill and the Graduate School of Education. He earned a master of divinity degree with high distinction from Woodstock College.
He taught at Fordham Preparatory School from 1966 to 1969, and was ordained to the priesthood in 1972.
After that, he began working in pastoral care at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, D.C., where he stayed until 1975. He spent the next 13 years as director of pastoral care at Georgetown University Hospital.
Father Gatti was the assistant director of medical center development at Georgetown for four years before returning in 1994 to New York City, where he completed the Jesuit Secondary School Administrator Program at Fordham in 1996.
He noted that his time as president of Xavier allowed him to become better acquainted with the University. “Over the last 10 years, roughly 20 to 25 Xavier graduates have gone on to study at Fordham each year, and they’ve been very happy here,” he said.
Father Gatti is a former president of the National Association of Catholic Chaplains and was a member of the Association of Mental Health Clergy and LifeNet Transplant Services in Virginia Beach, Va.
Last year, he celebrated a double golden jubilee: his 50th anniversary of graduation from Xavier High School and his 50th year in the Society of Jesus.
He learned about possibly coming to Fordham during the sabbatical year he took after leaving the Xavier presidency.
“In that sabbatical year, you think what might be your next assignment,” he said. “Father McShane expressed an interest in my joining Fordham, and I felt very comfortable being associated with the University. I think it’s a good fit.”
Father Gatti succeeds Joseph A. Novak, S.J., as alumni chaplain. Father Novak, a long-time member of the Fordham family, passed away in January. “Father Novak was my former provincial,” Father Gatti said, “so I knew him quite well.
“He was very generous to extend my time working in the Maryland Province, of which Washington D.C. is a part. I was doing good work down there in medical center development, and he saw that there wasn’t a comparable opportunity here in the New York Province.”
Father Gatti possesses a passion for golf, which he shared with Father Novak at annual Jesuit Golf Week outings and on many other occasions. Among his varied interests, Father Gatti enjoys woodworking and genealogical research.
Anyone wishing to contact Father Gatti can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.