Fordham Notes: January 2013

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Volunteers Brave Freezing Temps to Help Sandy Victims

Photo by Cathy Lee, GSB '08, GBA '11
Though the temperature sank to single-digit degrees this weekend, a stalwart group from Fordham trekked to Breezy Point for the second in a series of "Sandy Saturdays" to help those recovering from Hurricane Sandy.

The cold forced the group of students, alumni, faculty, and staff to concentrate on indoor projects for the day, including removing damaged insulation, reinsulating, and bringing in new sheetrock.

"We ended up with 22 people in Breezy Point—more people than degrees!" said Gil Severiano, assistant to the vice president of campus ministry, who was one of the chaperones.

The group also brought donations and other supplies to residents, many of whom are still displaced three months after Sandy struck the east coast. Despite having found temporary shelter in apartments or with family and friends, many lack the comforts of home, making emotional recovery difficult, Severiano said.

Photo by Cathy Lee, GSB '08, GBA '11
"When something's wrong, a lot of us go to the kitchen and make food, because making food is such a nurturing act for your family," she said. "One woman told us that now, every time she reaches for something to use, there's nothing there. You think you have a measuring cup, or you think you have a frying pan, and you don't. The cookbooks you used all your life, that your mother handed down to you, don't exist anymore."

Several participants of the Jan. 26 trip, which was co-sponsored by the Office of Alumni Relations, were featured in a CBS news video, which can be viewed here.

Though the number of overall volunteers have decreased during the winter months, a devoted corps labored beside the Fordham group on Saturday, including a few New Orleans residents who wanted to repay the kindness of New York volunteers who came to help victims of Hurricane Katrina.

"Part of the trip involves going into somebody's home, seeing firsthand what happened, seeing somebody's reaction to their whole world being turned upside down, and offering comfort and support," Severiano said. "It was a good experience for the students, the alumni, everyone, because we actually did important work that day."

The trip was part of a series of one-day outings known as Sandy Saturdays that Fordham will sponsor throughout the spring semester. Volunteers will join organizations such as Habitat for Humanity to help clear debris, gut devastated homes, and assist in the beginnings of the rebuilding efforts.

Sandy Saturdays are set for:
  • Feb. 9
  • Feb. 23
  • March 9
  • March 23
  • April 6
  • April 20
Anyone interested in either chaperoning or volunteering should contact the Dorothy Day Center for Service and Justice at (718) 817-4510, or by going online here.

— Joanna Klimaski

Medieval Studies to Host "Interpretative Ideals and Polemical Purposes"

Kicking off its spring lecture series, Fordham's Center for Medieval Studies will host a discussion on the competitions and controversies surrounding early biblical interpretation, and what Byzantine exegetes had to say on the matter.

"All things are clear and open that are in the divine scriptures": Interpretative Ideals and Polemical Purposes in Byzantine Exegesis
Monday, Feb. 4
5:15 p.m.
Faculty Lounge, McGinley Center | Rose Hill Campus

This latest installment of the lecture series will feature Tia Kolbaba, Ph.D., associate professor of Byzantine studies at Rutgers University. Kolbaba is the author of The Byzantine Lists: Errors of the Latins (University of Illinois Press, 2000) and Inventing Latin Heretics: The Byzantines and the Filioque in the Ninth Century (Western Michigan University Medieval, 2008).

The event is co-sponsored by the Orthodox Christian Studies Center.

 — Joanna Klimaski

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Former Fordham Prof Makes Met Debut Via Vegas

Former Fordham professor Michael Mayer directed the new production of Rigoletto.
Photo Courtesy Metropolitan Opera.

The Metropolitan Opera's new production of Giuseppe Verde's Rigoletto, which opened Jan. 28., is a neon-infused spectacle directed by former Fordham professor Michael Mayer, in his Met debut.

Best known to Broadway audiences for his rock musicals Spring Awakening and American Idiot, Mayer brought swagger to the Met production by transposing the opera's 19th-century Venetian setting to 1960s Rat Pack Vegas.

On opening night, it may have struck a few in the Met's "Penguin section" (the tux-clad patrons of the Dress Circle) as sacrilege, indeed one traditionalist booed the setting in the second act, but Fordham Theatre Program Chair Matthew McGuire said that Mayer's M.O. isn't to provoke, but to relate.

"I think he's always had an iconoclastic approach to the classics," said Maguire. "He tries to figure out how to relate the material to audiences, often through metaphor."

Maguire shared an office with the former assistant professor for nearly two years before Mayer left to direct the national tour of Angels in America. He recalled an equally accessible approach to Moliere’s Tartuffe that Mayer directed here at Fordham.

Though not always in an obvious manner, Fordham maintains solid ties to Lincoln Center. There are, of course, official relationships, like the professor exchange between Fordham and Juilliard, such as Bill Baker's class on the Performing Arts in the 21st Century. And other quietly nurtured programs operate without much fanfare, like PCS's relationship with the New York City Ballet.

Maguire said he expects the relationship to grow. He has reached out to Rigoletto set designer Christine Jones and hopes to see her teach a class here next fall. For his part, Mayer has been back to Fordham a couple of times as a guest director, and he cast Fordham alumna Frances Mercanti-Anthony, FCLC '02, in Spring Awakening.

For now, the Fordham community will have to satiate themselves with Mayer's talent in what promises to be one of the hottest tickets of the Met's spring season.

-Tom Stoelker

Monday, January 28, 2013

Happy 200th Birthday, Pride and Prejudice

Dig in, Jane Austen fans. Fordham's Susan Greenfield, Ph.D., associate professor of English and the author of Mothering Daughters: Novels and the Politics of Family Romance, Frances Burney to Jane Austen (Wayne State, 2002), has been writing about Austen for some time. In addition to her book, op-eds, and scholarly articles, Greenfield recently penned a weekly blog on Austen in the Huffington Post.

In commemoration of the 200th birthday today of Austen's most famous novel, Greenfield has published an essay, co-written with Audrey Bilger, in the Los Angeles Review of BooksPride & Prejudice Forever, and is featured today in a WFUV interview .

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Energy Kitchen Opens at Lincoln Center Campus

Photo courtesy of Toone Communication.
The Lowenstein Center’s Ram Cafe underwent a transformation over the winter break, as workers transformed the food service area into a much more fast-paced environment.

A new menu has also been unveiled, as Sodexo, the University’s food service partner, has signed a franchise agreement with Energy Kitchen, an up and coming chain that eschews fried foods in favor of dishes that are grilled, baked or steamed. 

Among the new offerings are turkey burgers, 90% lean sirloin burgers, and chicken fajita wraps. Sides include baked sweet potato fries, and black bean and mango salads.

The company, which has seven locations in Manhattan, one in Syosset, one in White Plains and one at St. John’s University, was chosen after Fordham and Sodexo spent the past 16 months consulting with the United Student Government’s food services committee.

“It’s quick, fast, low calorie, and healthier than a lot of other fast food options. It also fit the bill as far as what students were looking for in that cafeteria,” said Keith Eldredge, Dean of Students at the Lincoln Center Campus.

Photo courtesy of Toone Communication.
“We’re so limited with space and other resources. You can’t get a food court like you might see at a big state institution, but this gives us some fast, healthy alternatives, which is what our students are looking for.”

The new layout, which eliminated a service island and a turn style, also gives greater emphasis to the preparation.

“There’s this idea of preparing the food in front of you, so people can see what you’re putting into it, it’s fresh and not stuff in the back somewhere that’s been sitting in trays, drying out,” Eldredge said.

Brian Poteat, general manager at Sodexo, said Energy Kitchen appealed to students because of its emphasis on healthy options, including vegetarian dishes.

“Today’s students are a lot more savvy when it comes to what they’re eating, and we have such a small and limited space here,” he said.

Energy Kitchen joins Red Mango as the second brand name vendor at the Lincoln Center campus. The Rose Hill campus once featured a Sbarro, and currently features a Starbucks. Poteat said a Jamba Juice Express is expected to open there in the next few weeks, at the McGinley Center.

“We’re looking where we can fit into our existing spaces those concepts that we feel match the demographics of the students. Even five years ago, students were looking for different things than they are now,” he said.

Alexa Rodriguez, president of United Student Government, Fordham at Lincoln Center, said the quality of the food and the pricing, which is lower than the Energy Kitchen’s other locations, were the biggest concerns for students.

“So far the feedback has been pretty positive. Students really like the fact that its healthier,” she said.

—Patrick Verel

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Ministering to Youth from Across the Generational Gap

Harold "Bud" Horell, Ph.D., assistant professor
of religious education.
Photo by Joanna Klimaski
For the youth ministers, religious education directors, and other educators who gathered at Fordham's Westchester campus on Jan. 18, one question set the tone for the day: Does a generational gap prevent adults who work in youth ministry from truly connecting with adolescents and young adults?

As part of a lecture series sponsored by the Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education (GRE), GRE faculty members Harold "Bud" Horell, Ph.D., and Kieran Scott, Ed.D., took on the topic, "Youth and Young Adult Ministries in a Complex, Global Age."

According to Horell, an assistant professor of religious education, adults can connect with young people by drawing on their own experiences. Citing Erik Erikson's epigenetic cycle of development, Horell said that all human beings undergo a similar process of physical, psychological, and social development—as well as the challenges that come with this process.

"On the one hand, we can connect because we've been their age. But on the other hand, the world has changed. They face the same issues we did, but they face them in a different way," he said.

Kieran Scott, Ed.D.,
associate professor of theology
and religious education.
Photo by Joanna Klimaski
Shifting societal norms present new challenges to each generation, making the context in which young people develop radically different from the previous generation's experience.

As a result, Horell argued, youth ministers need to adopt a balanced, "both/and" approach to their ministry.

"I think we can share the wisdom of our faith traditions with young people today and have confidence that it will have some relevance to their lives," he said. "But we also need to allow them the space they need to reshape, refashion, and in some cases completely re-envision our faith practices so that they are relevant to their lives and unique concerns."

But Scott, an associate professor of theology and religious education, took a different approach in his response to Horell's talk. Changing social norms are the not the only challenges for youth ministers. The tendency of today's youth—a generation known as millennials—to be anti-institutional and apathetic toward tradition also complicates their relationship with an older generation of youth ministers, Scott said.

"For many millennials, institutional religions are not responding adequately to changes in the world. They're out of sync with shifting attitudes on sex and marriage, and are perceived as cold, impersonal, and empty structures. Millennials look beyond religion and seek a personal faith, more authentic ways of connecting with God, self, and other," he said.

However, Scott argued, these structures are necessary to ground faith in real, practiced traditions. Without traditions and the institutions that foster them, vague spiritualities risk floating away into abstraction.

Thus, the primary task of youth ministers is not to bridge the generational gaps, but to pass along traditions that help young people develop their spiritual lives.

"Our culture is overdosing on change—we know very well how to change, but we have lost the art of preservation," Scott said. "Schools and churches ought to serve as society's memory bank."

"All our religious efforts should be directed toward... offering our people an institutional church life worthy of their allegiance, and gifting them with a renewed, reinvented Roman Catholic tradition for their time and for each generation," Scott continued. "All people—young and old—deserve no less."

—Joanna Klimaski

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

New Cohort Ready for Rigor at WEMBA

There will be little cavorting for the fifth cohort of Fordham Westchester's Executive MBA (WEMBA) program. The Class of 2014 began the intensive program just after New Year and will spend the next 22 months hunkering down.

"Part of my job is to keep them sane through the process," said Francis Petit, Ed.D., associate dean for executive programs at the Graduate School of Business Administration (GBA). 

Petit said that the rigorous program is a good fit for the 22 new students, most of whom are already working in business and are seeking to further their careers with a Fordham MBA.

Executive MBA (EMBA) students tend to be a bit older, with this group's average age coming in at 36. A more senior cohort means a more senior salary, with the average salary for this year's group coming in at $125,000.

Petit was charged with putting together like-minded execs who will spend one weekend a month together on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 9 to 5.

"The classmates make up a big part of the experience, so we recruit a higher level," said Petit.  "They survive the process together." 

Petit said that corporate sponsorship, once a given for working executives, has waned in recent years. But, in general, companies still want general managers to have an MBA.

"It is a changing market and one of the things that happens is that since students are paying more out of pocket, their level of commitment is that much stronger," he said. 

As Dean David Gautshi, Ph.D., pointed out in his webinar last month, GBA has been well known for its part-time MBA program for over 40 years.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Fordham Mourns Passing of Noted Alumnus

Emil Francis Fardellone, SDB

The Rev. Emil Francis Fardellone, SDB, GSAS '50, died December 30, at the age of 96 in the hospice section of Wynhoven Health Care Center in Marrero, La. He had entered hospice at the  on Nov. 9 after suffering a fall and then being diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus.

Father Fardellone was born in Manhattan on November 10, 1916 and was baptized and confirmed at the Salesian parish of Mary Help of Christians on East 12th Street. He enrolled at Don Bosco Seminary in Newton, N.J., as a junior in high school in July 1931. He went on to the novitiate in September 1933 and made his first profession of vows on September 2, 1934. He graduated from Don Bosco College Seminary in 1938 with a B.A. in philosophy.

He was ordained on July 2, 1944, in Newton by Bishop William F. O’Shea, M.M., titular bishop of Naissus and former vicar apostolic of Heijo, (North) Korea.

Father Fardellone continued his studies at Fordham, earning an M.A. in English literature and modern history in 1950. His thesis was titled “The Religious Beliefs of Robert Browning.”

He taught at Mary Help of Christians School in Tampa from 1944 to 1948 and at Salesian High School in New Rochelle from 1948 to 1950. He also served as director of Mary Help of Christians in Tampa from 1950 to 1956, director of  Don Bosco Technical High School in Boston from 1956 to 1959 and director of Salesian High School in New Rochelle from 1959 to 1963. 

He was appointed the New Rochelle Province’s superintendent of schools, where he served from 1996 to 1967, and Don Bosco Tech’s director of development from 1967 to 1970.

In 1970 Father Fardellone took on parochial ministry, serving as pastor of St. Rosalie’s Church in Harvey, La., for 13 years. In 1982, he was asked to establish St. John Bosco Church, also in Harvey, initially as a mission of St. Rosalie and shortly after as a parish. 

He was the founding pastor and builder, remaining there until 1994. He and the St. John Bosco parishioners were happy to be able to celebrate the burning of the church’s mortgage in 1986, a mere three years after the start of the 700-seat church’s construction. The parish also built a middle school, which is affiliated with St. Rosalie’s elementary school, and a large parish family life center.

At age 78 he served on the staff at Don Bosco Tech in Boston, the provincial residence in New Rochelle, N.Y., St. Kieran’s Church in Miami,, and from 2005 until his final illness, at Archbishop Shaw High School in Marrero, La. As long as he was able, he continued to offer his priestly services and adult religious education.

In 2011 He told the Clarion Herald newspaper, “The Bible says, ‘You are a priest forever.’ There’s no retirement from the priesthood.” 

Recalling his decision to enter the seminary at age 15, he said, “Since 1931 to this date, I don’t regret a second of it. Not a second.”

Father Fardellone is survived by his older brother John Fardellone and by his nieces and nephews Margaret Ahearn, Michael Archacki, Stanley Archacki, John Fardellone, Paul Fardellone (Rochester, N.Y.), Patricia Fardellone (New Port Richey, Fla.), Lucille Savarino (St. Croix, U.S.V.I.), and Donna McTiernan (Long Island, N.Y.).

Funeral rites were celebrated at St. John Bosco Church in Harvey, La., on January 2 and in the chapel of Salesian High School in New Rochelle on January 4. Father Fardellone was buried in the Salesian Cemetery in Goshen, N.Y., on January 5.

—Patrick Verel and Reverend Michael Mendl, SDB