Fordham Notes: March 2013

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Memorial Lecture Honors 'Science Son'

A memorial lecture in the natural sciences department at Fordham College at Lincoln Center honored a professional dancer turned medical student whose promising career was cut short by cancer.

“From Dancer to Doctor” paid tribute to Jose Bercero, M.D., PCS ’05, who took pre-med classes at Fordham while dancing full time with the Metropolitan Opera. After Fordham, Bercero went to medical school in Puerto Rico, where he was elected president of his student body. Tragically, he died in 2010 of throat cancer.

"He was our science son,” said Fordham chemistry professor Joan Roberts, Ph.D., who organized the lecture, sponsored by Robert Grimes, S.J., dean of Fordham College at Lincoln Center. Roberts said she had expected Bercero to one day improve the medical systems of Puerto Rico, the United States, and beyond. “He had that kind of charisma,” she said. “The department of natural sciences grieves, and I grieve.”
Alex Ritter, M.D.

The lecture was given by Alex Ritter, M.D., PCS ’09, who did not know Bercero, but felt he could talk about his career trajectory because it was one he had pursued himself. A former dancer with the New York City Ballet and the American Ballet Theatre, Ritter always had the "other idea" of being a physician. He began taking classes at Fordham after a dancing injury.

"You can really get to medicine from any path," Ritter told a group of about 40 science students, among them some dancers, in the Lowenstein Center on March 21. He drew on many similarities between dancing and practicing medicine—particularly on the strengths needed to succeed in both professions. 

“You need discipline and perseverance and hard work,” said Ritter, currently in his last year at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. “And there are other things, such as being present—when you’re on stage or when you’re with a patient—so you can be open to people around you. There’s also the aspect of always trying to improve your technique.”

Ritter encouraged students to take advantage of their time in New York City. “Go to museums,” he said, “Look at art. Develop your observation skills.”

Professor Roberts said that many full-time dancers in the New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theatre choose to take classes—often pre-med or pre-law—at Fordham because of its proximity to Lincoln Center. Fordham has even organized a full-day schedule of classes for them on Mondays—their day off from performing and rehearsing.

“They have such focus and discipline,” said Roberts. “And they are looking for another equally creative, high-powered professional career.”
— Nicole LaRosa

Monday, March 25, 2013

PCS Student Sandra Arnold on NPR

As Fordham student Sandra Arnold continues work on the first online database of enslaved African-American burial sites, she gave this interview about the project to NPR.

FUA Hosts Annual Easter Egg Hunt

The Easter bunny made a special appearance at Rose Hill on March 23. More than 160 youngsters and their families braved the chilly March weather for the Fordham University Association's annual Easter Egg Hunt. The effervescent egg hunters were also treated to a magic show performed by John the Magician.

Photos by Michael Dames

Friday, March 22, 2013

Mentoring Latinas Program on Mundo Fox

Possible Winner Emerges in Final Weeks of Recyclemania

With two weeks left in the annual Recyclemania Challenge, Rose Hill's Campbell Hall has taken the lead in both the paper/cardboard and glass/metal/plastic categories, at .76 pound per person and .67 pounds per person, respectively.

According to results released on Tuesday, March 19 by consultant Wake Forest, Campbell Hall residents knocked next door neighbors Salice-Conley Hall out of the top spot in the glass/metal/plastic category, which it had occupied for four weeks.

Lincoln Center's McMahon Hall continues to generate the least amount of trash of anyone, a mere 1.37 pounds per person.

Rose Hill's Tierney Hall generated the least amount of trash on campus, 2.18 pounds per person. That was tempered by the fact that the building also recycled the least amount of glass metal and plastic, .6 pounds per person. Only three residence halls collected less paper and plastic than Tierney, which at 152 residents is the second smallest on campus.

As for the top garbage generator, the folks in Martyr's Court took top billing, with a whopping 4.45 pounds of trash per person. Nearby Queens Court gave them a run for the money, with 3.81 pounds per person, but apparently Martyr's folks know garbage. Might want to take a tip form the folks over in Campbell guys!

Recyclemania continues through April 1. For more information,

—Patrick Verel

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Giving Thanks for a New Pontiff

On Tuesday, March 19, members of Fordham's Jesuit community and the Office of Mission and Ministry sponsored masses on all three campuses celebrating the installation of the new pontiff, Pope Francis.
At the Rose Hill campus, Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham, presided. (Photos by Dana Maxson)


Fordham GSE Hosts Discussion on Education Reform

John B. King, Jr., Ed.D., commissioner of education for the
New York State Education Department, discusses New York's
comprehensive education reform.
Photo by Bruce Gilbert
More than 30 of New York’s top voices in education convened at Fordham on March 19 for a second conversation on comprehensive education reform throughout the city and state of New York.

Members of the New York State Board of Regents joined education deans from colleges and universities in the New York metropolitan area to evaluate progress made since their initial gathering in 2011 and to address areas that still need work.

John B. King, Jr., Ed.D., commissioner of education for the New York State Education Department (SED) attended the meeting, which was co-chaired by James J. Hennessy, Ph.D., dean of the Graduate School of Education (GSE) and Joan Lucariello, Ph.D., dean of education at the City University of New York (CUNY).

“We set out to create a comprehensive reform agenda that would try to tackle our biggest challenge—our failure as a state to ensure that all our high school graduates were college- or career-ready,” King said about the group’s 2011 gathering.

Since then, King said, New York joined 45 other states in adopting a Common Core State Standards curriculum; the state procured $700 million for efforts geared toward the federal Race to the Top initiative; and teacher evaluations and support were revamped.

Nevertheless, state statistics remain troubling, he said. Many high school graduates still lack the skills to enroll in first-year college courses, and 80 percent of students entering a CUNY institution take remedial courses.

“Overall college graduation rates have been relatively flat, and despite having some of the strongest school districts, there are still places around New York where less than half of students even graduate,” he said.

The group focused the March 19 meeting on teacher preparation, with particular attention to how the SED can synchronize reform efforts with education curricula at institutes of higher learning.

Among the major points discussed were:
  • Providing education programs with resources to prepare faculty and students for the new certification exams taking effect in May 2014;
  • Carefully evaluating the plan to publish outcomes of graduates from education programs; and
  • Improving communication between the SED and school districts regarding reform agenda items.
Several deans raised concerns about how students in education programs currently gain clinical experience. They deliberated, for instance, whether to require student teachers to complete a semester-long placement in one school, or to continue with the current format of doing shorter placements at different school sites.

The group also discussed the dilemma some school districts face regarding whether to work with colleges and universities and take on student teachers, even though their shrinking budgets make it nearly impossible to hire any of those students in the near future.

Alfred Posamentier, Ph.D., GSAS ’73, dean of
Mercy College School of Education, advocates for the
use of video taping in classrooms to train student teachers.
Photo by Bruce Gilbert
In the meantime, the deans asked that the SED to communicate with school districts about the methods education programs use to train aspiring teachers. For example, some districts prohibit videotaping in classrooms—even though video is a key educational tool that helps young teachers self-evaluate.

“Nothing is more important than seeing yourself through the eyes of others,” said Alfred Posamentier, Ph.D., GSAS ’73, dean of Mercy College School of Education. “I’ve seen many young teachers who didn’t quite understand what they were doing right or wrong, until they saw themselves doing it.”

— Joanna Klimaski

Monday, March 18, 2013

VIDEO: 2013 Fordham Founder's Presidential Scholars

Fordham Founder's Award Dinner 2013: Photo Gallery

Fordham Board Chair Robert Daleo; E. Gerald Corrigan, Ph.D., GSAS '65
and '71, 2013 Founder's Award honoree, and his wife, Cathy Minehan;
Patricia Anne Heller and John Ryan Heller, PAR '03, '07, and '11,
2013 Founder's Award honorees; Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham

Bob Daleo, Jerry Corrigan, and Father McShane

Father McShane; Amy (Heller) Mower, FCLC '03; John and Patti Heller,
Michaela (Heller) Giovengo, FCLC '07; Tim Heller, GSB '11

2013 Fordham Founder's Presidential Scholars

 John and Patti Heller, center, with their children and Patti's parents.

Jerry Corrigan and Cathy Minehan

The Most Rev. Frank J. Caggiano, auxiliary bishop and vicar general of the Diocese of Brooklyn,
gave the evening's invocation.

Chantal Freeman, FCLC '13, performed the National Anthem.

Fordham's a capella group, the Ramblers, gave an elegant rendition of
"New York, New York."

2013 Fordham Founder's Presidential Scholar Courtney Markes, FCRH '13, expressed
deep gratitude to the Founder's donors on behalf of all the scholarship recipients.


Antoinette Freeman, GSB '03

Gabriele and Milton Longobardi, GBA '80

2013 Fordham Founder's Presidential Scholars

2013 Fordham Founder's Presidential Scholars

Alexandria Garino and Frank Sirianni, Ph.D., Fordham vice president and
chief information officer

Stella Ayers, proud mom of Founder's Presidential Scholar Robyn Ayers,
FCLC '16

Rebecca Harrington Simone, GSB '07

Jacqueline Murphy, mom to Founder's Presidential Scholar Alexandria
Johnson, FCLC '14, and Johnson's grandfather, Waldo Murphy
Harry Garland and Roberta Garland, TMC '73, member of the
Fordham President's Council

Barbara Costantino, Dennis Kenny, and John R. Costantino, FCRH '67,
LAW '70, Fordham trustee emeritus

Fordham Founder's Presidential Scholars

Liz and Gerry Byrne, FCRH '66

Father McShane and Roger  Milici, vice president for development and
university relations

Gailanne and Gerard Grosso, FCRH '64

Erin Hoffman and Conor O'Kane, Fordham Campus Ministry

Peggy Smyth, FCRH '85, Michael Puglisi, GSB'72, and Valerie Puglisi

Jerry Corrigan

Bishop Frank J. Caggiano

The Most Rev. Francis A. Chullikitt, apostolic nuncio, permanent observer of the 
Holy See to the United Nations

Fordham Marches Up Fifth Avenue for St. Patrick’s Day

Maroon sashes flashed between white snowflakes on March 16, as the Fordham University contingent marched up Fifth Avenue for the 252nd New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

With temperatures hovering in the mid-30s and light snow falling over Manhattan, nearly 500 Fordham alumni, friends, and families, braved the weather—perhaps warmed by recent news of the election of the first-ever Jesuit pope, Pope Francis.

“We’re secretly—no, not so secretly—very proud,” said Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham, as he welcomed 150 alumni and friends to a pre-parade brunch at the Yale University Club of New York City. The Rev. Msgr. Thomas J. Shelley, professor emeritus of theology at Fordham, shared jovial and informative stories of Irish Catholic history in New York City, and asked the Fordham group to remember “all of the contributions [Irish Americans] have made to the multicultural and polyglot communities that make up the Catholic Church today.”

For the march, alumni and their families donned Fordham hats (embroidered with shamrocks) and Irish fisherman’s sweaters—and reveled in the frequent cheers from the sidewalk crowds.

“We love it,” said Tamara Conway, LAW ’06, who marched with her three children, Aishlynn, Fiona, and Ronan. “They have a great time.”

For Katie Fitzgerald, FCRH ’06, it was a day for some father-daughter bonding. “We loved the atmosphere and energy of the crowd and passing by St. Patrick’s Cathedral,” she said. “It will certainly be memorable for both of us.”

Mark O’Connor, FCRH ’73, whose two sons are undergraduates at Fordham, was making it a Fordham-filled weekend. O’Connor attended the brunch and carried an American flag during the march.

Later Saturday night, he cheered on the women’s basketball team at the Atlantic 10 Championship game at the Barclays Center (the Rams lost to the Saint Joseph’s Hawks 47-46)—and will be attending the Fordham Founder’s Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria this evening.

“I check the Fordham website every day and then I saw this event and thought ‘great.’ I couldn’t go to sleep last night,” he exclaimed.

—Rachel Buttner

Additional photos by Chris Taggart.