Fordham Notes: February 2010

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Fordham Westchester Hosts “2-1-1 on 2/11”

After a snow day and cold weather, Fordham Westchester warmed the spirits of students, faculty and staff by hosting “2-1-1 on 2/11.” The campus was the first institution in Westchester to host a “2-1-1 on 2/11” event in partnership with the United Way of Westchester and Putnam.

The catchy title grabbed the attention of students, faculty, staff and visitors entering the lobby of 400 Westchester Avenue. The day featured staff from the United Way of Westchester and Putnam who were on hand to distribute literature, sign up volunteers, and sell limited edition “Live United/Fordham Westchester” tank tops; all to support the United Way and 2-1-1 service. A snowperson (wearing one of the special tank tops) was constructed and outfitted to help spread the “Live United” theme and celebrate the inaugural occasion.

As part of Fordham Westchester’s commitment to the local community, the campus was proud to host the pilot event. The United Way of Westchester and Putnam mission states that they help advance the common good by creating opportunities for a better life for all. Fordham University shares that philosophy and since Fordham Westchester’s student body is social service oriented – the campus was a logical and ideal place to host the first of its kind “2-1-1 on 2/11” event .

2-1-1 is a free, confidential, multilingual information and referral service in the Hudson Valley. They currently handle more than 150,000 calls annually with questions ranging from food, clothing and shelter to legal services, drug treatment, employment support, childcare, physical/mental health resources, elder care, services for persons with disabilities and more. Most of their funding has been cut over the past few years, so they rely heavily on donations, fundraising, volunteers and contracting out the service to keep this important community resource moving forward.

Fordham Westchester helped spread the word about the great services provided by the United Way of Westchester and Putnam and 2-1-1. It is hoped that “2-1-1 on 2/11” will become a nationwide celebration every year and judging from the response shown by students, faculty and staff at Fordham Westchester-its well on its way to achieving that goal.

—Grant C. Grastorf
Academic Operations Administrator
Fordham Westchester

Monday, February 22, 2010

Psyching Out Student Financial Stress

To prepare students for the implications of the new law governing credit cards that takes effect today, Psychology Professor Harold Takooshian presented a public forum on the law’s provisions on Wednesday, Feb. 17.

The forum, “The U.S. CARD Act: Coping with students’ financial $tress,” was months in the making. It was prompted by statistics showing that half of all college students report financial stress. What is worse, seven percent of college students drop out as a result of this stress.

Seven experts, representing private industry, nonprofits and academia, each briefly described different facets of the problem. Among the presenters was Amanda Vardi (FCLC ‘10), who developed a one-hour workshop in “healthy financial habits for students” in September 2009 in collaboration with Takooshian and Economics Professor Michael Buckley. Based on the workshop, Psi Chi, the international honor society in psychology, awarded Vardi a grant to design a model workshop to circulate to honors students at the Society’s 1,100 U.S. campuses. The workshop includes a 25-minute DVD that includes information on aspects of credit and financial literacy for students.

“Our Fordham research finds too many U.S. students suffer alone with the problem of debt while trying to succeed in school,” said Takooshian. “There is now help available to our students in the CARD Act, our free Fordham DVD and workshop, and other new resources."

Additional public workshops on these issues will be conducted by Carol O’Rourke at Fordham School of Law’s Center for Debtor Education.

Veterans Art Exhibit

The public is invited to view an art exhibit at Fordham's Westchester campus.

Art works created by veterans who attend the creative arts therapy program at the Montrose VA Hospital will be on display Monday, Feb. 22, through Monday, March 8, at Fordham's Westchester campus, 400 Westchester Ave., West Harrison, N.Y., 10604.

The exhibit is open for viewing in the main lobby from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. from Monday through Thursday. On Fridays and Saturdays, the exhibit is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. An opening reception will take place from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 25, in the main lobby.

The event is part of Fordham’s Westchester campus participation in the “Big Read,” a program run by the National Endowment for the Arts that is designed to restore reading to the center of American culture.

Taking place at Fordham Westchester and other partner sites in February and March, the event is sponsored in conjunction various organizations, including the Westchester Arts Council and Hudson Valley Writer’s Center.

This year’s book selection for Big Read Westchester is The Things They Carried (Broadway Books, 1998), a set of fictionalized stories based on author Tim O’Brien’s Vietnam War experiences.

-Gina Vergel

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Poem to Ponder

On Thursday, Feb. 25, Poets Out Loud's Spotlight on Irish Poetry will include readings by Fordham graduate student Katy Kahn, poet and critic Stephen Burt, and the distinguished Irish poet Gamon Grennan.

Grennan's latest book, Out of Sight: New & Selected Poems (2010), includes the poem below, one that might resonate with the parents of Fordham students. It was first published in The (Dublin) Irish Times, which runs a poem among its literary pages every Saturday.

Parents and Departing Train

by Eamon Grennan

For all the wavering truth of trees reflected in rainwater, or the undulant
disappearing bulk of the white-tail deer into the deer-colored dusk of the apple orchard, its raised tail a pennant of life on the run, its pure white glimmer-candle gone as soon as seen; for all that I believe

of transience—each moment murdered by the next one, each breath
dying into its twin—it still seems impossible to find a right language for how our daughter shoulders her heavy bags and boards the train and is taken from us, just a shadow of a shadow kissing its fingers

at where our shadows stand outside, me settling an arm around
your shoulders, your pale face and hair nearly ghostly in the air that’s otherwise all gold, saffron, burgundy, rust—as our girl, speedy as any express—is taken into the distance her own life is now, a place

beyond lullaby or open-eyed angel, a nameless space we keep
peering into for that sheer glimmer, girl-shaped, flickering into dusk.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

IPED Graduate Helps Sudan Refugees

Before he graduated in 2009 from Fordham University's Graduate Program in International Political Economy and Development (IPED), Chengguang Zhao specialized in international development studies and project management.

Now his experience has propelled him to some of the most desperate corners of the world, including his most recent assignment, as Catholic Relief Services’ area manager in Darfur, Sudan.

At the end of January, Zhao arrived in Habila, a southern part of West Darfur near the Chad border that is a potentially volatile section of the country. As an area manager, Zhao is responsible for relief programming for a cluster of camps for internally displaced refugees. These responsibilities include the delivery of food supplies as well as the proper provision of shelter, water and sanitation.

It’s a huge task, given that Catholic Relief Services is one of the few relief services allowed to operate in the region. But Zhao is as capable as anyone, having previously worked in Sierra Leone, where he coordinated the Catholic Relief Services’ efforts to improve child nutrition and food security.
—Patrick Verel

Friday, February 12, 2010

Calling All Fordham Volunteers!

Fordham University’s motto “Men and Women for Others” inspires countless students, faculty and staff members to volunteer their time for charitable causes.
Now we’ve got a chance to show the rest of New York City just how charitable they are.

According to Sandra Lobo Jost, director of Fordham’s Dorothy Day Center for Service and Justice, the University has joined the Mayor’s College Challenge Initiative, which is a competition between New York City universities and colleges to see who can rack up the most service hours.

“Anyone who is volunteering for a non-profit 501(c)(3) within New York City can log into the mayor's website, create and account and register their hours, which is then recorded on the website instantly,” she said.

“I believe Fordham could easily rise to the top of the list (we are number 9 right now), if we could only get the word out to the Fordham family and get them to log on their hours!”

The challenge runs through March 30. For more information, visit or contact Sandra Lobo Jost at 718-817-4510

—Patrick Verel

IPED Students Honored with Scholarships and Internships

The plaudits keep rolling in for Fordham’s International Political Economy and Development (IPED) program.

The latest news, courtesy of IPED Director Henry Schwalbenberg, is that Xiaoyi Fan, IPED Class of 2010, has been awarded a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) scholarship from the New York Society of Security Analysts and the CFA Institute. Fan, who specialized in international banking and finance, joined four winners from Baruch College and Princeton, Columbia and Pace Universities.

Meanwhile, Jedidiah Fix, IPED Class of 2011, has been offered a summer internship abroad with the United States Department of State. Pending security clearance, Fix will intern in the economics section of the United States Embassy in Manila, The Phillipines.

A native of Spokane, Washington, he majored in economics as an undergraduate at MacCalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. He came to Fordham this past fall after working for the United States Peace Corps Volunteer in Senegal, West Africa. He is also the recipient of a Peace Corps Fellowship, for which he is assisting the Fordham Road Business Improvement District.

—Patrick Verel

Haiti Relief Auction

The Residence Halls Association is in need of your department’s assistance.

Less than one month ago, the nation of Haiti suffered a devastating earthquake that shook the foundations of the Republic. The effects of the earthquake have reached every part of the world, including here at Fordham with several of our students and club leaders personally affected by the disaster.

In light of these events, the Residence Halls Association has decided to rename the 16th Annual AIDS Benefit Auction to the Haiti Relief Auction, a part of Benefit Week 2010 (see below for schedule). The entirety of the proceeds raised during the auction will benefit the Haiti relief efforts, being equally divided between the Catholic Relief Services and the Jesuit Refugee Service.

The event will take place on February 26th, 2010 beginning at 7PM in O’Keefe Commons (O’Hare Hall). It will consist of a silent raffle auction and a live auction, along with performances by several student groups on campus.

We are requesting the help of every department on campus. We are in the process of soliciting donations from various companies in and around New York City. Any donation that your department can make will be greatly appreciated. Already, Rev. Joseph M. McShane, S.J., has generously agreed to auction off a dinner with himself for six guests. At past auctions, Facilities has donated a tour for four of the underground tunnels and Keating bell tower, Residential Life has donated the 1st and 2nd Housing Lottery numbers, Security has donated a parking pass, and various Deans and Faculty have donated dinners with themselves.

If you are able to support the auction in either a monetary or non-monetary donation, please contact Michael Trerotola at or our advisor Cassie Sklarz at

Most importantly, we need attendance. We are asking every facet of this University to actively advertise the event through any resources available to your department. And we cordially invite your department to attend the event as well. With your help, we hope to create an incredible amount of awareness and an event that will greatly benefit the Haitian people.

Thank you in advance for your generosity.

Benefit Week 2010

  • Saturday, February 20th - Volleyball Tournament - Lombardi Fieldhouse - 6PM (Benefits Incarnation Children's Center)
  • Monday, February 22nd - Battle of the Bands - Ramskeller (McGinley) - 8PM (Benefits Operation Shoebox)
  • Tuesday, February 23rd - Benefit Poker Tournament - O'Keefe Commons - 6PM (Benefits Parents of ANGELS)
  • Wednesday, February 24th - Video Game Tournament - TBA - 4:30PM
  • Thursday, February 25th - Wine and Beer Tasting - Tognino Hall - 9PM
  • Friday, February 26th - The 16th Annual Benefit Auction: Haiti Relief Auction - O'Keefe Commons - 7PM

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Red Tail Captured, Red Tail Free

In honor of Black History Month, Fordham University Press is featuring Red Tail Captured, Red Tail Free: Memoirs of a Tuskegee Airman and POW, by Alexander Jefferson, one of 32 Tuskegee Airmen from the 332nd Fighter Group to be shot down in World War II.

A Detroit native, Jefferson enlisted in 1942, trained at Tuskegee Institute, Alabama, became a second lieutenant in 1943, and joined one of the most decorated fighting units in the War, flying P51s with their legendary, and feared, “red tails.”

Based in Italy, Jefferson flew bomber escort missions over southern Europe before being shot down in France in 1944. Captured, he spent the balance of the war in Luftwaffe prison camps in Sagan and Moosberg, Germany.

Buy a copy direct from FUP


Fordham University students got an unexpected hiatus from classes Wednesday when the University closed due to a major storm that dropped more than a foot of snow on the New York metropolitan area.

But it wasn’t just “snow”; it was “good-packing snow” -- the kind that is light yet dense, and the stuff that is best for making snowballs, snowmen, snow forts and for sticking firmly to the sides of Fordham’s famous statues.

Nicholas Lombardi, S.J., captured the images below from Fordham's Rose Hill campus.

By Thursday morning, everything was cleared. Both University and students were back to a normal routine.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Fordham's Super Bowl Connections

The Bronx—Super Bowl week is always an exhilarating time for those associated with Fordham University, particularly in athletics and the sporting alumni. For the NFL’s championship trophy, of course, bears the name of Fordham’s most distinguished alumnus in sports – the iconic football coach Vince Lombardi. So, the first Sunday in February takes on special significance for all those who consider themselves Fordham Rams.

When the NFL’s most prestigious piece of hardware is hoisted aloft by the winners in Miami this Sunday, February 7, those at the Bronx institution of higher learning recall the bygone days of Lombardi, the five-time Super Bowl champion head coach of the Green Bay Packers.

“He always came back, Vince Lombardi always loved Fordham,” Fordham’s executive director of athletics Frank McLaughlin said. “He was very religious and was strongly influenced by the Jesuits.”

A favorite son of the Sheepshead Bay section of Brooklyn, Lombardi went to Fordham on a football scholarship to play guard for Coach Jim Crowley in 1933. The two enjoyed great success built around Lombardi and the “Seven Blocks of Granite” – the nickname for Fordham’s dominant offensive line. Fordham began to gain national attention in 1935 when the Rams finished 6-1-2 and were ranked No. 11 in the United Press Sports Writers Poll conducted at the end of the season.

In 1936, Lombardi’s senior season, the team got off to a 5-0-2 start and had hopes of playing in the Rose Bowl. However, the team suffered a devastating 7-6 loss to NYU and finished the season ranked 15th in the first AP poll and out of bowl contention. “Lombardi always said that was his most bitter defeat,” says McLaughlin.

After his playing days at Fordham, Lombardi spent two years playing semi-professional football before going into coaching. In 1938, he began as an assistant at St. Cecilia, a high school in Englewood, New Jersey. Lombardi stayed at St. Cecilia for eight seasons, the last five as the head coach, before heading back to Fordham to coach the freshman football and basketball teams. After one season, Lombardi became an assistant football coach for the varsity team.
“Lombardi always wanted to coach Fordham,” McLaughlin said. “Fordham already had a successful coach, so the university stuck by him and Lombardi moved on.”

However, Lombardi only stayed for one more season before heading off to West Point to coach the U.S. Military Academy’s offensive line in 1949. Lombardi stayed for five seasons and had a very successful run.

Lombardi’s success led to a job as the offensive coordinator in the NFL for the New York Giants in 1954. Under Lombardi, defensive coordinator Tom Landry and Head Coach Jim Lee Howell, the Giants became NFL champions in 1956.

Lombardi received his greatest acclaim as Head Coach and General Manager of the Green Bay Packers, a position he accepted in 1959. Despite the Packers going 1-10-1 in 1958, Lombardi brought immediate results to Green Bay with a 7-5 record in 1959. The following season, Lombardi led the Packers to the championship; however, the Packers were defeated by the Philadelphia Eagles 17-13, a loss which would go down as Lombardi’s only postseason loss.

Lombardi came back to win back-to-back championships in 1961 and 1962. Two years later Lombardi began a string a three-straight NFL championships beginning in 1965. He capped the run with a win in the infamous “Ice Bowl” over the Dallas Cowboys, dubbed this because of the -13 degree temperature.

Lombardi stepped down after the 1967 season after five championships in nine seasons in Green Bay. He remained General Manager for one season before returning to coaching with the Washington Redskins in 1969.

With a 7-5-2 season, Lombardi brought Washington its first winning season after a 14 losing ones. It was Lombardi’s only season in Washington as he fell ill during the summer of 1970 and was diagnosed with colon cancer. Lombardi died in September at the age of 57.

Over the course of his career, Lombardi amassed a 96-34-6 record over 10 seasons and a 9-1 record in the playoffs. Lombardi was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971.

For Fordham, the Super Bowl brings many reminders of the glory days of Vince Lombardi. Lombardi’s influence on professional football cannot be measured and it all began at Fordham–first as a player, and later as a coach. Lombardi put a lot of value into his days at Fordham and they had a strong influence on him. Fordham remember s Lombardi in a variety of ways. The Lombardi Memorial Center is an athletic facility containing a gym and numerous playing courts. The Seven Blocks of Granite are also remembered with a monument outside of Jack Coffey Field.

Nick Carroll, The Ram
With John Cirillo, FCRH ‘78

"Vince Lombardi: A Coach for All Seasons," in FORDHAM Magazine
“A leader must be able to direct people but he must also be able to make people willing to accept direction. The strength of a company or a team is in the will of the leaders. If the manager is weak-willed, the company will be poorly directed.” Vince Lombardi

"Fordham Hails Saints," in The New York Post, "The Rumble"
“We will be pulling for New Orleans to win the Super Bowl so Joe Lombardi gets the chance to bring home the trophy named for his immortal grandfather and proud Fordham man Vince Lombardi,” said Fr. Joseph McShane, S.J., president of Fordham. “And after all, how can a Jesuit root against a team named the Saints? They will be in our prayers [this] morning.”

"Divine Help?" in The Advocate
Among the millions of people rooting for the Saints is the president of Fordham University, the Rev. Joseph McShane. Fordham is the alma mater of Vince Lombardi, the man whose name is on the Super Bowl trophy and who is the grandfather of Saints quarterbacks coach Joe Lombardi.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Fordham Biology Students Win Grants, Honors

Some of Fordham University's biology students are on a roll.

Four graduate students have been awarded impressive grants and one graduating senior has been asked to speak at an American Zoological Association meeting.

Three students of Fordham’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences that work in Dr. J. Alan Clark’s lab – Anthony Caragiulo, Oriana Chan and Suzanne Macey, have been awarded highly prestigious Grants-in-Aid of Research. Sigma Xi is an international scientific research society, perhaps most well known for its publication, American Scientist.

“The Sigma Xi Grant-in-Aid of Research program has a highly competitive application process and only approximately 20 percent of applicants receive any level of funding,” said Clark, an associate professor of biological sciences.

Rachel Brickin, a doctoral student that also works in Clark’s lab, was awarded a $21,000 Research Assistantship award from the Mianus River Gorge Preserve, a local conservation organization. Awarded jointly to her and Clark, her dissertation mentor, the grant will be used to support Brickin’s dissertation research.

“Rachel is researching how migrating birds select stop-over habitat and how stop-over sites in cities and in stop-over sites dominated by non-native species affect migrants' physiological condition,” Clark said.

And Charles Cerbini, who will graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biological Sciences this month was invited to be a featured speaker at the upcoming meeting of the American Zoological Association on March 4. Cerbini will give a presentation on “Inducing earlier breeding in a flock of captive Chilean Flamingos through acoustic enrichment."

“Charles worked in my lab and participated last summer in Fordham's nationally-known, National Science Foundation-funded summer undergraduate research program at the Louis Calder Center - Biological Field Station,” Clark said.

Find more information about Dr. Clark’s research here.