Fordham Notes: May 2010

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Professor Labonte reports from Sierra Leone (IV): “My First Shakedown”

Assistant Professor of Political Science Melissa Labonte is spending 10 days in Sierra Leone and will send occasional dispatches from there – depending on the reliability of the power supply and her Internet connection.

No one in her right mind would drive around Freetown without wearing a seat belt for three very good reasons: Most of the locally-owned autos here are Frankencars, quite literally glued or bonded together from car parts hailing from the ends of the pre-air bag era auto world; many drivers are unlicensed and daring – this is especially true of motorbike okada riders (there is a frightfully apt saying, "no traffic for okadas"); and, it’s the law. That said, the Frankencars do get you to where you need to be, the okada associations provide valuable jobs for otherwise unemployed youth and, as for the law in Sierra Leone, it is truly in the eye of the beholder. The beholder, as it so happened in my case on Tuesday morning, is the Sierra Leone Police.

As my driver, John, and I headed across town in between interviews today with UN country team agencies, we approached a major roundabout linking a number of feeder roads. Traffic was heavy and a small group of police had lined one side of the road. As soon as they spotted me, they scrambled over and halted the car. One of the officers pointed at me, and said something along the lines of “I saw you without your seat belt on! You put it on just now when you saw us!” Instant deer-in-the-headlights moment for me! John uttered one word: the four-letter one beginning with “s” and ending with “t.” Then, the officer screamed at him, “And your seat belt is broken! You could both go to jail for this!” Before I could even get the words, “Are you kidding?” out of my mouth, they demanded our IDs. I showed them my passport but I wouldn’t let them take it. John wasn’t so lucky. They wrestled his ID out of his hand and that was it. Shakedown 101: We were theirs until they either got some money or decided to let us go.

There we stayed, for the next half hour. The officers quickly pulled John out of the car, berated him in Krio, and threatened him not to speak in English. They wanted to know why I was in Freetown and why I was out on the roads at that moment. I tried to convey (calmly, calmly) the work I was doing, who I was meeting with, and (big mistake) that we were both wearing our seat belts when they stopped us and had been since leaving the UN compound. At that point, one officer looked me squarely in the eye and asked if I was accusing her of lying because, for this, she would definitely take me to jail. I tried changing the subject. And so we continued, back and forth. The officers seemed OK with allowing things to escalate to a certain level, but stopped short of, say, directing me to get out of the car or hauling us both off to the station house. And then, just as quickly as it had begun, it ended. One officer said to me, “I am letting (John) go because of you. You should thank me for this.” And I did -- in a restrained, but sincere, manner.

My next interview was with the World Bank country manager. I was very late. I offered apologies and mentioned that I had just had my first shakedown.

“How much did you give them?” he asked. "Nothing," I said. “Superb," he responded, without blinking an eye. "Now, let’s talk.”

Fordham To Cosponsor Memorial Day Tribute To Veterans At Rye Playland

Westchester County’s veterans are being invited to a special Memorial Day tribute on Sunday, May 30, that includes a day of fun and rides at Playland park in Rye.

Fordham University's Veterans Task Group
is a co-sponsor.

Veterans and Service Member Appreciation Day give thanks to local veterans while offering an entertaining day filled with military pomp to other visitors enjoying the park. In keeping with recent tradition, a helicopter search and rescue demo by the U.S. Marine Corps will highlight the event, which will run from 1 p.m. to midnight.

Co-chairs for the FordhamVets Task Group, Peter Vaughan, Ph.D., dean of the Graduate School of Social Service, and Michael Gillan, associate vice president of Fordham’s Westchester campus, will give brief remarks at the event.

The more traditional Memorial Day ceremony will include an honor guard, firing squad and bugler, and be held at 2:30 p.m. at the Music Tower Theater. The Marine Corps demo will be from 3-5 p.m. (weather and aircraft permitting).

The Marines Corps demo includes landing and manning a perimeter while two gunships provide “cover.” A gunnery sergeant will provide a narrative as the helicopters complete their show and then open to the public for tours. After the demonstration, the helicopters will be available for public display along with the weapons typically used by a Marine Corps rifle platoon. The participating Marines are part of a Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force from 8th Marines, Camp Lejeune, NC.

As part of the daylong event, military personnel in uniform, OEF/OIF veterans and veterans in an organization cap or uniform will get free rides all day. Other veterans and their family members as well as active duty military personnel will get special ride offers and discounts.

Parking passes (for those who didn’t pre-register) will be distributed from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and ride band registration will be from noon to 6 p.m. Veterans must show their DD-214 papers, a VA ID or a current membership card to a veteran organization.

Veterans are asked to pre-register and get a pass for free parking. Stop by the Veterans Service Agency, 112 E. Post Road, Room 442, White Plains, or call (914) 995-2146.

-Gina Vergel

NY Times on Famous Fordham Dorm Rooms

The New York Times City Room blog has an interesting article on "Dorm Rooms With Bragging Rights," and Fordham has some:
Fordham University in the Bronx can also hold its own. The eight students who ended up with E6 of Martyrs’ Court in 1983 learned that they had inherited the third-floor suite once occupied by Alphonso Joseph D’Abruzzo, later known as Alan Alda. As big fans of his hit television show “M.A.S.H.,” they thought it only fitting to hold a party the night of the final episode with makeshift tenting and drinks poured from an improvised still. Everyone from the BBC to The New York Post was there to chronicle it.

“I went once to the University of Virginia and they had Edgar Allan Poe’s old dorm room blocked off with glass, so you could see it but not use it anymore,’’ said Joe Trentacosta, a host of the farewell party. Being able to live in the famous room, he said, “makes you feel more connected to the school.”

Anyone wanting to live in Mr. Alda’s room now would need an engineer’s help to find it. Seven double rooms numbered L200 to L206 have displaced the eight-man suite on the floor plan. But the shared bathroom — L207 on the map (pdf) — and old plumbing are intact.

(There is no point even looking for traces of the heartthrob from Fordham’s class of 1977, Denzel Washington. University officials confirm that he commuted.)
The article by Alison Leigh Cowan and David Walter will likely appear in tomorrow's (Friday, May 28) print edition, as well.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Professor Labonte reports from Sierra Leone (III): "The Trial"

Assistant Professor of Political Science Melissa Labonte is spending 10 days in Sierra Leone and will send occasional dispatches from there – depending on the reliability of the power supply and her Internet connection.

I don't want to talk much about the poverty here; it feeds into the essentializing of the national image and, to be honest, I've seen similar things in other countries and even in my own neighborhood in Manhattan. But on Friday (May 21), I was stuck in a traffic jam getting into the city center and was struck by the image of two little boys, neither could have been older than five or six years old, walking by the roadside, nearly naked and barefoot, with water-filled jerry cans balanced on their heads. The jerry cans were as tall as they were and must have weighed 30 pounds or more. The sweat was pouring down the sides of their faces. But the minute they saw me passing by the car, they broke into huge smiles and waved. They didn't ask for money, they didn't rush to the car to see if I had candy. They just smiled. There's a lot of dignity in the face of the crushing poverty here.

On Friday, I also spent a good part of the day interviewing staff at the Special Court for Sierra Leone, established in 2001 to try those "bearing the greatest responsibility" for war crimes and crimes against humanity during the latter portion of the civil war. The last of the "group" trials has ended here – the Court is now in the winding down phase – but the final trial it is responsible for involves former Liberian President Charles Taylor. The trial even had to be moved from Freetown to The Hague in the Netherlands for security reasons – and quite understandably, as Taylor is not popular here.

When I rocked up to the Special Court compound, the staff was all abuzz. International media were bombarding my colleague's office in Public Affairs and Outreach. It seems that Mia Farrow (Darfur uber-activist and the former Mrs. Woody Allen) just turned over to the Court a photo of supermodel Naomi Campbell, who is notorious for assaulting her maid a few years ago, receiving a rough cut "blood" diamond from President Taylor when they both happened to be in South Africa a few years ago. Now, even assuming that Ms. Campbell didn't understand why President Taylor would want to just "give" her a diamond, or even if she didn’t really know who he was, surely her moral compass would have signaled that there was something very wrong about this exchange? Is she in the habit of receiving massive diamonds from world leaders? Aye carumba!

In any case, the prosecution is now seeking to subpoena her to testify and she is having none of it, reacting most unpleasantly to media inquiries. Anger management has never been one of her strong suits, apparently. Ms. Farrow has already said she’ll happily testify. Lesson here: don’t get on Mia Farrow’s bad side.

All joking aside, Taylor single-handedly did more to destroy Sierra Leone than any other person. If this evidence helps ensure that justice is carried out, it can only be a good thing for Sierra Leoneans. I’m going back to the Court to interview the deputy prosecutor next week. By then, a decision should be rendered on whether Naomi will have to book a ticket to The Hague.

EMBA Program is 'Top-Tier' by CEO Magazine

Fordham University’s Executive MBA program has been ranked in top tier (Top 25) by CEO Magazine.

Inclusion in “tier-one” status means the Fordham program “demonstrates a high level of innovation and thought leadership; class sizes are moderate, senior faculty are used and the make up of students is diverse,” according to the magazine.

It is the second annual ranking of Global MBA programs for CEO magazine, which is published in London by the Callender Media Group.

“This is very positive news as it allows for the continued positive momentum of our program,” said Francis Petit, Ed.D., assistant dean and director of executive programs in the Graduate School of Business Administration (GBA).

The Fordham EMBA program is ranked in the Spring 2010 issue within the North America/Global EMBA Rankings. Programs are listed alphabetically and include Columbia, Cornell, Duke, Georgetown, New York University and Wharton.

The magazine also highlighted Fordham’s program under its "Innovation at Work" section, with a detailed question and answer interview regarding the EMBA’s program initiatives with Petit and Mary Kate Donato, program associate for the EMBA program in Westchester.

“Her strategic efforts were tremendous in making this ranking list as well as having our program focused,” Petit said.

In the article, Petit and Donato pointed out that the goal of the Fordham EMBA is to “instill knowledge, skill and necessary tools for the functional areas of business, now and in the future;” while developing the “executive of the future,” who is conscious of and sensitive to ethical, social and environmental concerns within the world and planet; and who have the right balance between “the mind, body and soul and who are centered and proactive with in the challenging business paradigm.”

The Jesuit Philosophy of Education is key in this respect, Petit and Donato added.

Fordham’s EMBA program is designed for business professionals and managers on the fast track toward challenging managerial and global assignments. The program focuses on building each student’s personal portfolio in management development with tools that can be implemented immediately in the workplace.

This top-tier ranking marks the latest honor received recently by the EMBA program.

In April, U.S. News & World Report ranked Fordham 25th in the nation for its EMBA program.

-Gina Vergel

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Professor Labonte reports from Sierra Leone (II): "Arrival"

Assistant Professor of Political Science Melissa Labonte is spending 10 days in Sierra Leone and will send occasional dispatches from there – depending on the reliability of the power supply and her Internet connection.

I arrive at Freetown-Lungi International Airport at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 19. IPED graduate and my former student, Jay Endaya, is due to meet me on the "Aberdeen side," with the person who will likely be my part-time driver during my stay. The airport is very much what I expected -- and it's probably good that we landed in the dark because the photos I've seen of the airfield during daytime include abandoned aircraft wreckage.

Lungi Airport has to be the worst located airport on the entire planet. It sits on a peninsula and there are three ways to get into Freetown proper (and your hotel): car, ferry and taxi. The land route takes at least 4 hours. The ferry takes about an hour, but weather can complicate this and there is always the chance of too few life vests for too many passengers. The helicopter is expensive (relatively speaking) but fast (15 minutes). Each option has its risks, including the helicopter route; one crash in June 2007 killed all 22 people on board. So, you pick your poison and hope the travel gods are with you.

The neon sign telling us where we have landed read "F EETO N INTE NATIONAL A POR. " The first thing to hit you when you leave the plane is the humidity. I've managed three summers in Richmond, Va., and have traveled a fair bit in tropical countries, but it's not quite the same as the equatorial humidity here.

The second thing to hit you is the chaotic environment. Getting through customs was relatively straightforward, but it's what's on the other side that was a shocker. Dozens of porters (no clue if they are "official" or not) grab at your luggage, and beckon you to follow them here or there, either to the ferry or to the helicopter offices. They make a chalk mark on your luggage, which designates a temporary "ownership" and deters poaching by other porters. I took only two carry-ons for this trip, knowing this would be something I'd face. But Mohammed, the porter who eventually caught up with me, persisted and so I finally gave in and let him wheel my bag out to the helicopter office.

My helicopter ride was uneventful. The most unnerving thing about it was finding out that the Syrian pilot flying our Russian craft got his license in Nigeria. ‘Nuff said. We land. More chaos. My bag is nowhere to be seen and Mohammed is on the other side of the peninsula. Other passengers are similarly worried, and it takes about 30 minutes for them to "reappear." By this time, Jay is in the parking lot with his colleague, Henry, and the driver, John. So we head to the hotel and. as I swat a few mosquitoes away from my ears and drift off to sleep, I realize I've finally arrived in Sierra Leone.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Professor Labonte reports from Sierra Leone

Assistant Professor of Political Science Melissa Labonte is spending 10 days in Sierra Leone and will send occasional dispatches from there – depending on the reliability of the power supply and her Internet connection. Here is her first post:

I am here conducting research that builds on issues related to Sierra Leone peacebuilding that I first started exploring in 2008. Why Sierra Leone? Two reasons: one, it is one of the first two cases that the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission, which itself was established in 2005, has been mandated to oversee. (The other is Burundi, and the UNPBC now has at least four or five other countries under its purview); two, Sierra Leone continues to be one of the most underdeveloped countries in the world, ranking 180th out of the 180 countries participating in the UN Development Programme's Human Development Index. More than 70 percent of the population is illiterate; average lifespan is about 40; more women die in childbirth here than in any other country (one in six); and the under five child mortality rate is the worst in the world. In spite of enormous natural resource wealth (diamonds, rutile, iron ore and even some gold), the country struggles economically. Well over 80 percent of the population lives on less than one dollar a day. So, from a social science perspective, it represents a kind of "least likely" case from which to examine the relatively "new" concept of peacebuilding from the field level.

OK, enough of the academic mumbo-jumbo.What am I studying here? In a nutshell, it's partnership design for peacebuilding programs and projects, and whether and how local authority structures are integrated into those designs. Local authority structures means the chiefdom system and the district councils, both of which have been resurrected by the national government in Freetown in order to decentralize authority down to the community level and re-connect the rural areas to the capital through service provision, good governance, and accountability. Yawn??? Nope. It's actually a very progressive idea, one that is sorely needed here.

Local authorities have a great deal of legitimacy and authenticity in Sierra Leone. These structures were obliterated by the 1991-2002 civil war. Re-establishing them could help to ameliorate one of the root causes of the war: the marginalization of the rural population from the privileged in Freetown. But the devil is truly in the details; when peacebuilding programs that are designed to service an entire district or even a small number of villages (or portions of the capital city) are crafted, they can either tap local knowledge (through chiefdom actors or district officials), or not. They can be designed in faraway places like New York and London, or they can be worked out in close consultation with the communities they are meant to serve.

Most scholars prefer the latter type of program design over the former, claiming that local voice and ownership are the right ways to design peacebuilding projects. This seems logical and, on paper, would appear to be a pretty safe thing to conclude. But it isn't that straightforward when you look at the issue from the field level. The political economy of the influx of resources from peacebuilding, coupled with the temptation of corruption and power consolidation at the local level, means that creating local buy-in for peacebuilding from key stakeholders may, in fact, perpetuate and even exacerbate social marginalization and exclusion of vulnerable parts of these local communities. Moreover, national ministries who are now mandated to let go of portions of their development and peacebuilding portfolios are loath to do so.

Why would they? It means cutting staff and budgets, which are already under great stress. So they resist. This further complicates decentralization, and actually creates greater incentives at the local level to "grab" peacebuilding resources as they trickle down to the chiefdom and district level.

Now, I'm only here for 10 days. I am very grateful for the support that Fordham has given me to do this, as it would not be possible to do without that. However, I have to keep my expectations in check about what I can reasonably find out in such a short stay. One of my colleagues here has said that researchers who come to Sierra Leone for a week think they can write a book; those that stay a month realize they can only write an article; and those that say for a year can't write anything because, by then, they understand how complex the issues of post-conflict transitioning are.

It's been a wild ride since arriving. Most people only know the name Sierra Leone because of the 2006 movie, "Blood Diamond," but that movie's depiction of the country is a gross representation, really. The war was always about much more than diamonds and the national struggle to transition away from war holds a multitude of challenges that can't be slotted into neatly defined categories. It seems trite to say that Sierra Leone is complex, but it simply is. I'm just hoping to be able to sort the answers to questions representing but a small part of this nation's attempt to consolidate peace and create sustainable livelihoods for its people.

Commencement 2010 Photos

Some images from Fordham's 165th Commencement, held at Rose Hill on Saturday. May 22, 2010. For more coverage see: President of Ireland Addresses Class of 2010. All images courtesy of James Higgins.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Funeral services for Patrick Rubin FCRH '10

Funeral services for Patrick Rubin FCRH '10, who died suddenly on May 14, will be held on Friday, May 21 at 10:30 a.m. at Temple Sholom, 594 N. Bridge St., Bridgewater, N.J. The Temple’s telephone number is 908-722-1339. (Please note that the Temple will be closed on Wednesday, May 19 and Thursday, May 20). For more information, or to express your condolences, please visit

Fordham University will provide buses to the funeral service on Friday morning, May 21. Buses will board in front of McGinley Center at 8:15 a.m., depart promptly at 8:30 a.m., and should return by mid-afternoon. Anyone wishing to reserve a seat on the bus must email Campus Ministry at, no later than Thursday, May 20 at 9 a.m., with his or her name, email, status (staff or student) and cell phone number. Those wishing to attend the interment at Beth Israel Memorial Park in Woodbridge, N.J., following the funeral service, should make alternative arrangements.

Angela O'Donnell's Moving Words

Angela Alaimo O'Donnell's book of poetry, Moving House, is moving critics. Peggy Rosenthal, writing in The Christian Century, says, "I know of no other poet so immersed in human mortality yet without the least morbidity. The boundary between mortal and eternal life is porous for this poet, and it is at this boundary where her poetic imagination is comfortably placed."

Moving House is a deeply affecting book. It balances hard truths with a sweetness of spirit that is, if not singular, rare in our time, especially in contemporary poetry," according to America magazine.

Rattle says, "
Moving House ranges through a heady mix of topics against an autobiographical backdrop, the bleak days of O’Donnell’s childhood through the quiet chronology of a move in her maturity."

Finally, Barbara Crooker, writing for The Pedestal, says, "O’Donnell’s poems echo with the delights of well-employed language. She has taken up her pick, put on her miner’s helmet, and descended into the shaft of the past, finding these gems of poems and bringing them to the light. Let’s hope that more books quickly follow this ambitious debut."

O'Donnell, who says, "I've been ridiculously lucky in getting reviews as books of poems often go completely unnoticed," is the associate director of the Curran Center for American Catholic Studies, and serves on both the English and American Catholic Studies Faculty.

Friday, May 14, 2010

University Mourns FCRH Student Patrick Rubin

Patrick Rubin, a senior at Fordham College at Rose Hill, died on Friday, May 14 at Columbia University Medical Center from a sudden illness.

"The Fordham community is deeply saddened by Patrick's death," said Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham. "I cannot begin to fathom the grief his family, classmates and the faculty of Fordham College at Rose Hill must feel at his loss; a grief intensified, perhaps, in losing him at what would have been one of the milestones of Patrick's young life. Today our hearts and prayers are with Patrick's family, friends and loved ones."

Patrick is survived by his parents, Leslie and Richard, and his brothers, T.J. and Christopher.

All members of the Fordham community are invited to celebrate Patrick’s life tonight, Friday, May 14, at 7 p.m. in the basement of University Church. Staff from Campus Ministry, and Counseling and Psychological Services will be available on site.

Additional counseling services may be obtained by calling Campus Ministry at (718) 817-4500 or Counseling and Psychological Services at (718) 817-3725. Students may also contact their resident assistant or resident director for assistance. Faculty and staff should call Christopher Rodgers, dean of students at Rose Hill, at (718) 817-4755.

All of the above can also be reached by Fordham’s Safety and Security Department, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at (718) 817-2222.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Fordham RETC and Operation Prom Give Bronx-area Teens a Reason to Smile

The average high school prom is no longer held at the school gym, which means a typical dress for the event has also stepped up in style and price. A survey conducted by the Hearst Company in 2009 found that teens spent an average of $220 on a dress and nearly $900 on the total prom experience.

It can’t be easy for teens from economically depressed communities. But thanks to staff from Fordham University’s 21st Century Community Learning Center, Bronx-area high school seniors had some help finding the perfect dress for next to nothing.

Staff and volunteers from Fordham’s RETC – Center for Professional Center, which operates the 21st Century Community Learning Center, took 23 of their students (some pictured above) to Operation Prom, an event that gave young women access used prom gowns, cosmetics and accessories. The event, held at Brooklyn’s Borough Hall on April 17, was organized by the New York City chapter of the WGIRLS, a national nonprofit organization in cooperation with Operation Fairy Dust.

High-end designers, such as Oscar de la Renta, donated hundreds of dresses. Even reality show star Kim Kardashian gave a dress to the cause. The event drew more than 2,200 teens.

“It was really a wonderful way to end the school year for our students,” said Holly Lemanowicz, a rising junior at Fordham College at Rose Hill, who volunteers at the RETC. “It was special because both the girls and us chaperones were able to talk about how amazing going to the prom is and how it serves as a last hurrah to end senior year."

And since the cost for attending prom is expensive, Lemanowicz added, receiving a prom gown at no cost surely provided the teens with relief.

“Every student from our program walked away with a beautiful dress and I can honestly say that I have never seen any of them happier.”

Theresa R. Lupo, senior professional developer for Fordham’s RETC, agreed.

“They were ecstatic,” she said. “It was an amazing experience for us all.”

Established through a $2.4 million grant from the New York State Department of Education in 2008, the 21st Century Community Learning Center allows middle and high school students to recover school credits while training their parents and other area adults in technology skills needed in the workforce.

-Gina Vergel

Fordham Westchester Helps to Link Volunteer and Professional Leaders in Nonprofit Sector

More than 650 people attended the Not-For-Profit Leadership Summit VIII on May 10 at the Doubletree Hotel in Tarrytown, N.Y.

Fordham Westchester participated as one of several nonprofit sponsors of the event, which linked volunteer and professional leaders in the nonprofit sector.

Participants had the opportunity to:
• identify emerging challenges and opportunities;
• shape new leadership strategies; and
• build organizations that excel.

Keynote speakers included U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and futurist Andrew Zolli, executive director of PopTech. Moreover, real-time electronic polling pointed to how the economy is impacting the industry.

Rob Jacobson, Ph.D., associate vice president, academic affairs and executive director, Fordham Westchester, is pictured here with Senator Gillibrand.

The event’s principal sponsors included the United Way of Westchester and Putnam Counties, ArtsWestchester and the Westchester Community Foundation.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Long Time History Professor Lauded at Retirement

Before Fordham had a Lincoln Center campus, it had John Roche, Ph.D.

Roche, a professor of history, arrived at Fordham’s Woolworth Building as a freshman in 1942 and, after service in World War II, graduated in 1948 from the University’s City Hall Division, which had moved to 302 Broadway.

While earning his Ph.D. from Columbia University, he began teaching at Fordham in February 1951. Although he retired in 1995, he continued to teach in FCLC, FCLS, and the College at 60.

On Wednesday, May 12, Fordham acknowledged John’s 59 ½ years of teaching here at a retirement party thrown by colleagues and friends in the 12th Floor Lounge at the Lowenstein Center on the Lincoln Center campus.

Robert R. Grimes, S.J., Dean of Fordham College at Lincoln Center, took the occasion to go back through Roche’s personnel file and read a citation that had been written by Anne Mannion, Ph.D., associate professor of history, on the occasion of John’s first Bene Merenti award for 20 years of teaching.

Grimes concluded by adding, “John, for all you have given to Fordham over the years, mere words are not enough, but they are the best we have. Thank you to one of Fordham’s greatest alumni, one of Fordham’s greatest teachers, one of Fordham’s greatest. Period.”

Mannion, who reminisced about first meeting Roche as a student of his at 302 Broadway, said that even though she grew up in Long Island, living by railroad tracks made her feel that she, like Roche, a lifelong Brooklyn resident, was a city kid. As a fellow historian, she noted that they share a special sense of time and place.

“When I go through life, I count my blessings, and when I look at John, I count them twice,” she said.
Roche said he relished being able to see the University grow and change as it added campuses in Manhattan and integrated women into its student body. He also served on the first faculty senate.

“One can say one is fortunate to live and work in interesting times, and that’s certainly been true of these years at Fordham. Really, in terms of the overall history of the institution, one would be hard-pressed to find another period in its long history in which so many significant changes and elements of growth have occurred,” he said.

“I’ve had a happy time at Fordham. There have been a few rough passages, of course, over so many years. But all in all, thanks in a great part to my association with you, it’s been a very good experience, indeed.”

—Patrick Verel

A Tell-all Book About an Iconic New York Landmark

Star secrets. High-level office politics. Overpaid Divas and a boy soprano who grew up to be head of a crime ring. Sound like the ingredients for a quirky character-driven potboiler paperback?

Fordham University Press has just published Fifth Avenue Famous: The Extraordinary Story of Music at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, by Salvatore Basile. The author, a professional musician and music historian who has been a soloist and cantor at the Cathedral for a decade, tells the back story of the choir in the city’s most famous Cathedral, and the cast of colorful characters that have been part of its history.

The book details the history of music in the cathedral since its opening in 1879, including its two “golden eras” where church music was a major high society event with its own stars, gala performances and press coverage.

Basile also details the musical likes and dislikes of various Cardinals and Archbishops. While Terrence Cardinal Cooke (1968-83) valued music as a tool of interfaith understanding, says Basile, Edward Cardinal Egan was a pianist, opera lover and former choirboy who took a personal interest in the planning of the Cathedral’s music.

The book's foreward was written by Timothy M. Dolan, Archbishop of New York.

You can hear more about this book and pick up a copy at a book launch tonight, Thursday May 13, at Fordham's Lincoln Center campus in the 12th Floor Lounge on at 6 p.m. RSVP to


Friday, May 7, 2010

Visual Arts Professor Awarded Guggeheim

Congratulations to David Storey, M.F.A., assistant professor of visual arts and associate director of the department, who has received a 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship in Fine Arts.

Storey, an abstract painter, was one of 180 fellows from the United States and Canada in the areas or arts, science and other scholarship chosen from a group of 3,000 applicants. The awards, established in 1925, go to those "who have demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts."

The award will enable Storey to work on a series of large paintings based on similar scales and configurations used in his smaller works on canvas, and to complete several series of drawings.

“My work has always sought to simultaneously bring together elements of imagistic pictorialism and distinctly non-referential abstract construction, “ Storey wrote in his statement of plans. “I aim for an artificial yet credible naturalism in which the painting or drawing feels comfortably familiar, while delivering the unexpected recognition of the unseen.”

Storey has also received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Elizabeth Foundation for the arts. His work is represented in the Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Boston Museum of Fine Art, among others. He has had more than a dozen solo exhibits.

Above is one of Storey's drawing series from 2008. Below are a few of Storey's color works.

"KF" by David Storey

"Adorama" by David Storey

"Vizier" by David Storey

"Anchorite" and "Futurist" (two paintings) by David Storey

"I, Flier," by David Storey

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

{I am} Just the Birds in the Grass...

Our own Sheila Ross, senior designer in Marketing and Communications at Fordham, is having a photo exhibition and opening, {I am} Just the Birds in the Grass... at the A.I R. Gallery in Brooklyn.

Opening Reception: Thursday, May 27 | 6 to 8 p.m.
Exhibition: May 26 through June 20, 2010

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

London Dramatic Academy Ends Semester on High Note

Last week marked the end of the London Dramatic Academy's spring 2010 Semester. The academy, housed at Fordham's London Centre at Heythrop College, started with the final showings of Historical Dance and Stage Combat demonstrations based on the last scenes of Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part I. The week included final showings of acting projects, and scenes from The Merchant of Venice and As You Like It, under the direction of Michael Winter. Students also met individually with the full faculty to discuss their progress. A tea party on Friday celebrated the successful completion of the programme.

This semester the London Dramatic Academy (LDA) hosted visits from Matthew Maguire, head of the Theatre Department at Fordham, who was seeing our work for the first time; and Alan Wade from George Washington University, who brought a party of students to hear a lecture/masterclass by Richard Digby Day on A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Other visitors have included a welcome return from LDA tutor Miriam Karlin.

The final theatre visits included a stupendous performance by the Mark Morris Company at the London Coliseum, showing in the way that only he can the perfect marriage of music (in this case Handel) and movement. There have been two visits to the National Theatre seeing highly contrasting works: Alan Bennett’s The Habit of Art, a meditation on the nature of artistic inspiration using WH Auden and Benjamin Britten as the principal characters; and Bulgakov’s The White Guard, a play set in Russia during the civil war following the Communist revolution. Faculty and students also visited the British Museum, the Royal Academy exhibition of Van Gogh’s letters and paintings, and Stratford-upon-Avon.

For programme information, please contact either Sara Karen Arlin at (212) 636-7714 in New York, or the London Centre (see below).

Important Application Updates

Our most up-to-date application forms (as PDF files) are available on our website: Completed forms can be e-mailed to

Spring 2011: October 1

Fall 2010/Academic Year: A few spaces are still open for the fall 2010 term, please contact us as soon as possible at

Since the number of participants is strictly limited, we strongly suggest you take advantage of our Priority Deadlines: September 1 for spring applicants and February 1 for fall and academic year applicants.

Students can audition either in person or by submitting a DVD recording. Students who cannot audition in person should send a DVD together with their application.

In-person auditions for spring 2011 will be held at Fordham University during the fall, at a date and time to be announced. To arrange an audition or meeting with Richard Digby Day in the United States, please contact us at

Finally, We wish the best to the LDA Class of spring 2010:

Evan Cucciniello, Catholic University of America
Danny Goodman, College of the Holy Cross
Kathryn Lawson, Fordham University
Alia Ledford, Occidental College
Caitlin Ludin, Bennington College
Josephine McAdam, Manhattanville College
Rem Myers, Hamilton College
Chris Olmsted, Bard College at Simon’s Rock
Tim Rogan, Catholic University of America
Zoe Rudman, Occidental College
Sean Tivenan, Catholic University of America
Megan Walker, Catholic University of America
Lauren Williams, Catholic University of America
Emily Woodhouse, Catholic University of America
Chad Zimlich, Catholic University of America

—Sabina Antal
London Dramatic Academy

Monday, May 3, 2010

Benjamin Moore Executive To Explain Company’s Overhaul

Ever wonder what it takes to overhaul a company to make it even more successful?

"Overhauling Operations at Benjamin Moore Paints with Jack Moore and Terry Phinney,” the Fordham’s Institute for Family & Private Enterprise’s upcoming seminar, will reveal what it takes.

The event, which takes place Wednesday, May 5 at 1345 Avenue of the Americas, is open to small business owners and C-suite executives of privately held companies.

Steven Nicokiris, Managing Director CBIZ MHM, LLC, will moderate the panel, which will feature Moore, a former director at Benjamin Moore Paints, an $800 million paint manufacturer founded in 1883. After modernizing operations, the company was acquired by Berkshire Hathaway in 2001.

He’ll be joined by Phinney, a partner at PhinneyMarcinak, LLC, who advised Benjamin Moore Paints for five years. He has worked with both family owned and publicly traded clients to address their most pressing business and organizational needs. In his capacity as a strategist, he has helped management improve the productivity and profitability of their organizations.

The seminar will cover three areas:

-Profile of the family business

-How the company doubled the bottom line to $80 million

-The sale of the company to Berkshire Hathaway

An open Q&A session will follow, along with cocktails and networking.

For more information, visit

—Patrick Verel

IT Executive Recognized as "One to Watch"

Fordham IT’s Jason Benedict, executive director of Information Security, has been chosen as one of 25 2010 CIO Ones To Watch by the CIO Executive Council. The CIO council honors the highest level of achievement among men and women in the next generation of top IT leadership, those that “epitomize the spirit of business technology leadership.”

During his 18-year career at Fordham, Benedict has been the director of computer services and the assistant director of information systems and planning at Fordham Law. Today he oversees a staff or two in managing IT security as well as IT risk and data integrity. His department protects the University from hackers, viruses, worms, spam, phishing schemes and identity theft.

“I did every role in IT on my way up,” Benedict said.

The CIO council is a business unit of International Data Group, the largest technology media company in the world. Benedict and the other recipients are being honored tonight at the annual 2010 CIO Leadership Event in Colorado Springs, CO. He will also be recognized in the May issue of CIO Magazine, the co-producer of the national awards.

Congratulations, Jason.