Fordham Notes: May 2013

Friday, May 31, 2013

GBA's EMBA Rakes in the Ranks


The Graduate School of Business Administrations Executive MBA program is on a global ranking roll, having been continuously ranked by several publications since 2008. The website Poets and Quants placed the program amongst their top listings and CEO Magazine acknowledged the program for the fourth year in a row.

"We continually innovate our EMBA program and we are doing so by offering additional international elective courses," said Francis Petit, Ph.D., adding that the program offered an elective course in Istanbul, Turkey in April and will be offering a similar course this July in Galway, Ireland. 

Poets and Quants placed the program at 41 worldwide, and CEO placed the program among their Tier 1 rankings.

"We're always honored to recieve a ranking, it helps keeps up our momentum," said Petit.

Fordham Mourns the Loss of William “Bill” Filonuk Jr.

BNY Mellon Executive was Staunch Supporter of Fordham Schools of Business

William “Bill” Filonuk Jr., FCRH ’77, GBA ’83, a committed advocate for the Fordham Schools of Business, died on May 25 after a brief and sudden illness. He was 58.

“He was quite a force,” said David Gautschi, Ph.D., dean of the Fordham Graduate School of Business Administration (GBA), where Filonuk served as first vice chair of the Board of Overseers. “Over the three years that I’ve been here his interests have really expanded.”

A managing director at BNY Mellon, Filonuk lent his considerable expertise to several GBA projects, helping to launch the Fordham Innovation Fund and taking an active role in GBA’s career services. He served as an adviser to the school’s quantitative finance program and arranged for internships for some of its students at BNY Mellon. In 2012, he helped lead a group of quantitative finance students in a research study that was published in the Journal of Fixed Income.

Filonuk spent three decades at BNY Mellon, including six years in Brussels. He brought a global perspective to his work on the internationally focused Fordham Consortium and was active on the Fordham Wall Street Council. He also supported the work of the entrepreneurship programs at the undergraduate Gabelli School of Business and brought BNY Mellon executives into the activities of GBA’s Fordham Accelerator for Business.

A Connecticut resident, Filonuk earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Fordham College at Rose Hill in 1977 and his M.B.A. in finance and economics from GBA in 1983. He met Fordham Trustee Ed Stroz, GSB ’79, through his service on the GBA Board of Overseers, which Stroz chairs. The two had lunch together a few weeks after meeting.

“We ate at a French restaurant in Manhattan, and Bill impressed me as he spoke fluent French with the waiter,” Stroz said. “GBA benefited greatly from Bill’s contributions. He was a perfect gentleman in his manner with people, and he was a true executive in his approach and the rigor he brought to our work.

“He wanted to give something back to Fordham, and to assist the people he knew he could help,” Stroz said. “I will miss him greatly, and so will Fordham.”

Gautschi called Filonuk’s death “a tremendous shock and loss.”

“This man was gentle, caring, generous with his time, very, very smart and thoughtful, and probably one of the most gracious people I’ve ever met,” he said. “We’re very interested in doing what we can to keep his spirit alive.”

In honor of their colleague, the Board of Overseers, the administration, faculty, and staff of the Graduate School of Business Administration have established the William Filonuk Jr. Memorial Scholarship at Fordham GBA. Those who wish to contribute may do so at www.fordham.edu/onlinegiving (Select “Graduate School of Business Administration” and “GBA Annual Fund” from the drop-down menus. Under “Additional Gift Instructions,” please type “William Filonuk Jr. Memorial Scholarship.”). Checks may be made out to Fordham University/William Filonuk Jr. Memorial Scholarship and mailed to Mary Ann Routledge, Director of Development, Graduate School of Business Administration, Fordham University, 888 Seventh Avenue, 7th Floor, New York, NY, 10019. For more information, contact Mary Ann Routledge at mroutledge@fordham.edu or 212-636-7184.

Filonuk is survived by his wife of 35 years, Susan Elizabeth Filonuk; his son, David T. Filonuk, of Pittsburgh, Pa.; his father, William Filonuk Sr.; and his brother, James Filonuk, James’ wife, Jo-Anne, and their children. A memorial visitation will be held on Monday, June 3, from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Hoyt Funeral Home, 199 Main St., New Canaan, Conn.

–Nicole LaRosa

Family Money Trees

After graduating from business school, Jean Howard walked away from her family's business, an electroplating company, for what she thought would be greener pastures. But if she had to do it over again she said she "absolutely" would have diverted her post-grad time and efforts back to the family business.

"Many students who are from family businesses want to strike out on their own, but it's important for them to put to look at these business opportunities pragmatically," said Howard.


Howard, who works on special projects for the Graduate School of Business Administration, is putting the final touches on a Tuesday, June 4 symposium, Turning the Family Tree into a Money Tree. The Fordham Institute for Family and Private Enterprise will host the event, through Fordham Accelerator for Business, in the 12th-floor Lounge/E. Corrigan Conference Center at Fordham's Lincoln Center campus.

Two family-owned businesses will be on hand to discuss their companies' challenges and successes. The Fabrega Family has restored an historic building, transforming it into a successful "eco-fairy castle" hotel. Solen and Habibe Altop will share their stories as women running a successful bed manufacturing company in a conservative patriarchal environment in Istanbul, Turkey.

The keynote speaker will be Sarah Hemminger, Ph.D., founder of the Incentive Mentoring Program. While most of the speakers will focus on traditional family structures, Hemminger is interested in non-intentional families that might choose to support someone from a broken family unit, such as teachers who band together to help a student struggling due to problems at home.

"Hemminger's innovative thinking bridges cultures and households," said Howard. "It is healthy mentally, physically, and economically and it's really the wave of the future."

To register for the symposium click here

Here's a video of Hemminger giving a TED talk about her work...



-Tom Stoelker

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Orthodox Christian Studies Center Represented in Romania



Members of Fordham’s Orthodox Christian Studies Center joined the world’s leading Orthodox scholars at an international conference held May 23 to 26 at the University of Babes-Bolyai in Cluj-Napoca, Romania.

The conference, “Can Orthodox Theology Be Contextual? Concrete Approaches from the Orthodox Tradition,” featured dozens of theologians and Orthodox scholars from around the world. Co-sponsored by the Orthodox Christian Studies Center, the conference examined the present challenges facing Orthodox theology and the future of its patristic heritage.

“Orthodoxy has a message, but it is still missing the language,” said Radu Preda, Th.D., director of the Romanian Institute for Inter-Orthodox, Inter-Confessional, and Inter-Religious Studies, located in Cluj-Napoca. Preda offered an introduction to the conference. “In order to learn it, Orthodoxy has to realize profoundly the problematics and expectations of modernity.”

Among the presenters were Fordham’s Aristotle Papanikolaou, Ph.D., professor of theology and co-founding director of the Orthodox Christian Studies Center, and Crina Gschwandtner, Ph.D., visiting associate professor of philosophy.

Aristotle Papanikolaou presents at an
international gathering of Orthodox scholars
in Cluj-Napoca, Romania.
Papanikolaou’s talk, “Personhood, Virtue, and War,” proposed an Orthodox theology of personhood that drew on St. Maximus the Confessor’s description of virtue as learning how to love, focusing especially on how this theory pertains to the ethics of war.

Gschwandtner argued in her presentation that philosophy serves an important purpose in the Orthodox tradition. She suggested that philosophy—especially the hermeneutics and phenomenology of contemporary French philosophy—could provide tools for theological thinking and thus assist contemporary Orthodox theology as it finds its place in the postmodern world.

The conference was organized by the Volos Academy for Theological Studies, Greece, and, in addition to Fordham, was co-sponsored by:
  • the Romanian Institute for Inter-Orthodox, Inter-Confessional, and Inter-Religious Studies; the Chair of Orthodox Theology at Münster University, in Germany;
  • the Christian Cultural Center of Belgrade/Institute for the Study of Culture and Christianity, in Serbia;
  • the St. Andrew’s Biblical Theological Institute, in Moscow;
  • the European Forum of the Orthodox Schools of Theology, in Brussels; and was supported by
  • the Orthodox Metropolis of Cluj and the Faculty of Orthodox Theology of Babes-Bolyai University, in Romania.
— Joanna Klimaski

Friday, May 24, 2013

Theatre Program Hosts Design Meeting 2013

Barbara Samuels, FCLC '08, is a graduating grad student at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.
Barbara Samuels' academic journey came full circle on May 24, when she returned to  Lincoln Center's Pope Auditorium for Design Meeting 2013, a conference that brings together MFA graduates in theater design from Yale, CalArts, and NYU. Samuels studied design and production at Fordham's theatre program, the event's sponsor.  She then went on to the MFA program at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.

"I worked at least six plays in this room, three-quarters of my time at Fordham was spent here," she said.

Samuels said she remembered attending an earlier iteration of the event at Fordham when it was still known as the Clambake. Started by world-renowned theater designer Ming Cho Lee, the name change occurred after Lee retired and Fordham Assistant Professor Kris Stone teamed up with other students who studied under Lee at Yale. The legacy continues on the "neutral" playing field of Pope Auditorium.

"It's a neutral space where we can be celebrated as designers and not as individual schools," said costume designer M. Meriwether Snipes, also an NYU grad. "Ultimately, we're all going out to the same workforce."

Stone said that's the point.

"We wanted to create an environment that was more conversational and less competitive," she said, adding that school rivalries "just aren't healthy."

Clearly, the professionals agree. Thursday afternoon, the low-stress environment attracted directors, designers, and other theater professionals who were not only checking out out the fresh talent, but also fitting in some low-key networking of their own.

Tony-winning scenic designer Scott Pask, who is nominated again this year for Pippin, said that he got his first job out of Yale through the event. Now he comes to look for students whose work that he'd "like to champion."

"The set-up here at Fordham is not overwhelming, and I mean that in a good way," he said. "The flow is great, the location is great, you can move through at your own pace and spend a little time with the designers."

The event is staffed by Fordham theater students, whose role has grown with the event over the past four years. The design and production concentration of Fordham's theater program has also grown. Fourteen more students will be added to the track this fall, bringing the total to 39.

In addition to providing support for the grad students, the undergrads also get to rub shoulders with world class talent. Megan Lang, FCLC '13, said that it was faculty connections like these that brought her to Fordham.

"Our professors know people in theater and they pull us up with them, and having the design meeting is just another example of how they help us meet people," she said.


Evi Ellias

Vincent Richards "The Magic Flute"

Edward Morris "Tales of Hoffman"




Anna Yates & Yuki Nakase

Kristin Robinson


M. Meriwether Snipes "Macbeth"

Peiyi Wong

Nikki Delhomme

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Kaushik Basu's GBA Commencement Address

Basu delivers the commencement address to GBA's Class of 2013.
Kaushik Basu, Ph.D., chief economist and senior vice president for development economics at the World Bank, received a doctorate of humane letters, honoris causa, and gave the keynote address at the diploma ceremony for the Graduate School of Business Administration, held Sunday, May 19, at Avery Fisher Hall. 

A Paean to Reason and Empathy

I want to begin by expressing my deepest gratitude to Fordham University for the invitation to give this year’s commencement address and for conferring on me the Doctorate of Humane Letters, honoris causa. Being an academic and a researcher, I cannot deny that few honors match the satisfaction that comes from getting recognition from one of the leading universities of America. Thank you, Fordham.

An invitation to give a commencement address is a carte blanche to the speaker to inflict unasked for advice on graduating students. A nobler person may have resisted the opportunity. I will not. This also means there will be collateral damage on unsuspecting faculty and family who may have gathered in the auditorium. But to deflect the charge that I am inflicting this speech on others’ family, I have brought along with me to this event not only my children, daughter-in-law and wife, but also my mother-in-law. So, in case you too have brought your mother-in-law to the commencement and she complains, you now have a line of defense.

Dear graduating students, congratulations. You are about to go out into a big, wide, exciting world. There will be trials and tribulations. There will be periods of elation and also days of feeling down and low. On such days try to remember that life is full of uncertainty and that this cuts both ways.

I did my schooling at St. Xavier’s in Calcutta (now called Kolkata); then I went to St. Stephen’s College in Delhi for my undergraduate degree. Those were blissful years when I managed to delude my parents into believing I was studying. I moved on, geographically, subsequently but consider myself to have remain firmly rooted in the fraternity of St. Xavier’s and St. Stephen’s.

My academic interests were kindled in London, where I went for graduate studies. In 1975, soon after starting my PhD at the London School of Economics, I applied for the Young Professionals Program at the World Bank. I was delighted to be short-listed and flew to Paris for the final interview. There was great excitement among my friends and family. I did not get the job. What I did not know then was that this was one of the luckiest breaks in my life. I turned to research and discovered a passion which I had not realized I had in me. That is what I mean by uncertainty cutting both ways.

The lure of research, I have to admit, has little to do with the desire to do good and help society. It is driven mainly by an urge to aesthetics and pursuit of beauty in nature. For the researcher, research is an end in itself, akin to the creation of music or art. The benefit to society can be large but it is usually a by-product of this creative urge.

In my case, when nearly four years ago, I went into policy-making that was an act of sacrifice; I had to tear myself away from research and my total absorption with deductive reasoning to trying to make a contribution to the world around me. Though I did go into it in a spirit of deliberately trying to do good, telling myself “enough of self-indulgence”, in its own way the life of a policymaker has turned out to be fulfilling.

Drawing on my own experience let me give you, graduating students, some advice. I want to talk to you, in particular, about the art of reason and the importance of compassion.

One faculty we all possess and is the most under-utilized of human faculties is reason. Any good economist will tell you that good policy must be evidence-based. This message has now sunk in. All treasuries, ministries of finance, central banks and important international organizations have legions of researchers who collate data, and dissect and analyze them. Where we have deficiency, however, is in the use of reason—plain deductive reasoning. I believe there are huge gains to be made if our decision-making is not just evidence-based but also reason-based—more so than has been the case thus far. Moreover, this is true not just for national level policymaking but in the conduct of our personal lives.

Reasoning is a strange skill. Truths uncovered by reason have a magical quality. Pythagoras did not hit upon the theorem named after him by collecting evidence on right-angled triangles from around the world, but through pure thought. Bertrand Russell had once remarked that mathematics is a profession where you cannot tell apart a person at work and a person asleep. This is true for all kinds of deductive reasoning. And unlike mathematics, deductive reasoning is an art available to all. We must simply learn to hone this skill to think and use it well.

People in search of happiness read self-help books, seek counseling, practice meditation, and get medication. What they do not use adequately to battle the blues is the power of reasoning. Reason can’t solve all your problems but it can play a large mitigating role.

The first rule of reason is honesty. There are situations in life where kindness and concern for others make us hold back on certain kinds of speech. That is as it should be. Speech can hurt as much as physical violence. If the latter is wrong, so must be the former. But to ourselves, in our minds, we should practice the utmost honesty. Honesty in thought may be inconvenient but in the long-run it helps.

Consider what we are often told—that if there is a will, there is a way; with sufficient determination, we can achieve anything. But to believe in this you have to suspend reason. And my advice is don’t. There are things in life which through sufficient determination you can achieve; but there are also things which no matter how hard you try, you will never get. It is best to see this clearly and realistically and then make your own choices rationally. You will make better decisions.

Second, it is important to be modest about our knowledge and to know how little we know. There have been prominent philosophers in history, from Pyrrho of Elis some 300 years B.C., through Sextus Empiricus in the second century A.D. to David Hume in the 18th century, who have been skeptics in the sense of being deeply aware of the frailty of human understanding. There are important traditions in oriental thought that belong to the same tradition. The ancient Indian philosophy of maya and some early Chinese poetry capture this exceedingly well. Here is a famous poem from the 3rd century BC, attributed to the philosopher Chuang Tzu: “Once upon a time I dreamt I was a butterfly. Then I awoke. And now I do not know if I am a man dreaming I am a butterfly or a butterfly that has fallen asleep and dreaming I am a man.”

I would not recommend that you take this philosophy to the extremity to which some of these philosophers did. Pyrrho, it is believed, walked past a fellow Greek philosopher who had fallen into a ditch, without making any attempt to rescue him; and later explained that he could not be sure that the philosopher would be better off outside the ditch than in it.

Do not take skepticism to such extremes. But practiced in moderation, it can actually be liberating. To be aware that what we see with our naked eyes can be illusory stands to reason and can be a source of calm.

Third, when you get angry and upset with someone, in your personal or professional life, try to understand that people are products of their history, life experience, and environment. Once you learn to reason about the causes of human behavior, this will come naturally. This is not incompatible with taking steps to stop people from acting or speaking in certain ways. You can have distaste for certain actions but not for the actor. And let me assure you that to learn this art is to take a big load off your shoulder.

The art of empathy and compassion is related to a well-known axiom of welfare economics. This is called the principle of anonymity and refers to the need to treat individuals with the same respect, irrespective of their name, race, ethnicity. It asks us, when dealing with people, to pause and think “if I were you.” The principle of anonymity has been used by prominent philosophers, like Immanuel Kant. But I can do no better than to introduce you to this idea by quoting someone who, in my opinion, is the greatest living economist in the world, Kenneth Arrow. Arrow had quoted the epitaph of Martin Engelbrod to explain this principle.

Here lies Martin Engelbrod
Have mercy on my soul oh God
 As I would you if I were God
And you were Martin Engelbrod.

Rooted in the same principle is Gandhi’s famous advice. When in a dilemma about which action to take, think of the poorest and saddest individual you have known—nothing else about that person matters—and do what will be better for that person.

Compassion and empathy do not have any contradictions with reason and have reach beyond. This principle of empathy—being able to understand and reach out to people who look different from you—can make the world a better place. And this should not be a difficult art. Once we look a little deeper, beyond our superficial differences, it becomes evident that we human beings have similarities that transcend race, religion and ethnicity. This is no surprise because we all share the same genetic roots, from the people who set out from Africa some 70,000 years ago and settled all over the earth. I know it sounds sentimental and moralistic but it is true, that for one group to turn against another is for siblings to turn against siblings. There should be no place for that.

And if that is not persuasion enough, there is a selfish reason for compassion. Curiously, compassion can be empowering. It enables us to deal better with other people and so ends up being a source of our own strength, joy and, in the end, happiness. Whether you become an academic, the CEO of a corporation or a stock trader, do not abandon empathy for those with whom you interact.

I have gone on for a while, giving you reasons for greater happiness in life. I will not prolong this further because of one last reason—giving too many reasons can be self-defeating. They can nullify one another. An old tale illustrates this well. A man charged in court with inflicting violence decided to persuade the jury with a profusion of reasons. So he argued, “Here are three reasons why I should be acquitted. First, I was out of town on the day of my alleged crime. Second, my religion prohibits the use of any form of violence. And, third, he hit me first.”

On that note I draw my lecture to a close. Thank you.

Fordham Kiwanis Club Partners with UNICEF

Tom DeJulio, Fordham's General Counsel and Kiwanis
International President, 2012-2013
Photo by Bruce Gilbert
Members of the Fordham Kiwanis Club gathered on Tuesday, May 21 at the Rose Hill campus to celebrate the recent announcement that maternal and neonatal tetanus, one of the most deadly diseases a mother and her newborn can face, has been eliminated in more than half of affected countries targeted by UNICEF 13 years ago.

Since 2011, Kiwanis International has been working to raise $110 million for The Eliminate Project to eliminate the centuries-old disease, which kills one baby every nine minutes. The group, which has been serving the needs of children since 1915, has raised $30 million so far.

MNT results when tetanus spores, which are present in soil everywhere, enter the bloodstream. It is mainly caused by a lack of access to sanitary birthing conditions, unclean instruments used to cut the umbilical cord and unclean post-partum cord care. 

Tom DeJulio,  Caryl Stern, president and CEO of UNICEF
and Rosemary DeJulio,  Assistant To The President at
Fordham and member of the Fordham Kiwanis Club
Board of Trustees
Photo by Bruce Gilbert
MNT is easily prevented by giving women of childbearing age a series of three vaccine doses, which costs roughly $1.80. This cost includes vaccinations, syringes, safe storage, transportation and more. 

The countries that have eliminated MNT are Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, China, Comoros, The Republic of Congo, Cote d' Ivoire, Egypt, Eritrea, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Iraq, Liberia, Malawi;,Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Timor Leste, Turkey, Togo, Uganda, Vietnam, Zimbabwe and Zambia. 

The countries that are still working toward elimination include Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia, Central African Republic, Chad, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Guinea, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Kenya, The People's Democratic Republic of Laos, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, and Yemen. 

—Patrick Verel

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

GRE Professor Wins 2013 Excellence in Publishing Award

The Association of Catholic Publishers announced its list of Excellence in Publishing Award winners for 2013, which included Fordham’s own Claudio Burgaleta, S.J.

Father Burgaleta, an associate professor of systematic and pastoral theology in the Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education, won first place in the Spanish category for his book Manual de eclesiología para los católicos de hoy (Liguori Publications, 2012).

The annual awards recognize the best in Catholic publishing, offering first, second, and third place awards in several categories, including biography, prayer and spirituality, resources for ministry, Scripture, theology, and more. The awards will be given out on May 29 at the 2013 Religious Booksellers Trade Exhibit in St. Charles, Ill.

The Spanish category includes books from any of the awards category that are originally published in Spanish for the U.S. market, such as biographies of Hispanic or non-Hispanic figures, liturgy resources, and books for parish ministry.

Felicitaciones, Father Burgaleta!

— Joanna Klimaski

Monday, May 20, 2013

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara Honored by Fordham Law


The following remarks were delivered by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara at the Fordham School of Law Diploma Ceremony on May 19. He and fellow honoree Sally J. Bellet were awarded the degree Doctor of Laws at the ceremony, which was held at Radio City Music Hall.

Preet Bharara
Photo by Chris Taggart
Dean Martin, Father McShane, distinguished faculty, proud parents, family, friends, and most of all, to the graduating class of 2013, congratulations on your accomplishments today. 

Thank you for inviting me to speak here today. It is more than a privilege. 

I want to give a special shout out to one group of graduates present today – the students who supplemented their fine Fordham educations with some practical training as interns in my Office. I think there are 23 of you here. Congratulations to you and thanks for the free labor. 

I may not be an alumnus of this fine institution, but I was a proud teacher of legal writing here for two years before taking a job in Washington and I will always be grateful more for what I learned than what I taught at Fordham. 

So here we are, all dressed up on a Sunday morning. And it occurs to me that many of you, quite frankly, should be in church especially after last night’s parties. 

But I guess you have a pretty good excuse today. 

Now, if you would indulge me, even though we are not in church, I would like to spend my short time here talking about what I think is an important question of faith. 

But the question of faith that I have in mind does not relate to any particular book of scripture or doctrine of theology. 

Rather, I want to address the question of faith in the profession on which you are now embarking. 
Here’s a newsflash: not everyone is enamored of lawyers. I hope that’s not too much of a buzz kill on graduation day. 

And these days, it is understandably hard, sometimes, to have full faith in the legal profession. A lot of it we bring on ourselves – lawyers have no doubt done things to earn much of the mockery and disdain often dispensed upon us. 

Our reputation is that we talk too much; we argue too much; we sue too much; we bill too much. That we are too litigious, too scorched-earth, too materialistic, too self-interested. That we exalt form over substance; we cause more problems than we solve; and we are prepared to win at any cost.

But this dubiousness about lawyers and about what they are capable of contributing is not, by any means, a new phenomenon. Consider the story of the man who would become one of the most important and influential lawyers in U.S. history. 

That lawyer was Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., the late Supreme Court Justice. You see, his father, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., was a medical doctor. 

Almost a century and a half ago, after the son recovered from his third wound suffered in the Civil War, he decided finally to pursue a path in the law. As the story goes, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., knocked on the door of his father’s study to advise him of this decision. He announced to his father, “I am going to law school.” 

Bharara receives his hood from Joseph M. McShane, S.J.,
President of Fordham
Photo by Chris Taggart
The elder Dr. Holmes looked up from his desk, surveyed his son, and said, “What’s the use of that, Wendell? A lawyer can’t be a great man.” 

And so as Justice Holmes would himself often recount, he spent much of his life trying to prove his own father wrong, that a lawyer could indeed be a great man. 

Notwithstanding Justice Holmes’s remarkable lifetime rebuttal of his father’s narrow-minded remark, there are still too many today who may sympathize with the sentiments expressed by the elder Holmes so long ago. 

In my view, part of the cynicism about lawyers springs from a failure to appreciate the majesty and power of the law itself, especially as an embodiment of American values and as a source of American greatness. 

Now, our system of laws is not perfect and God knows there are imperfect practitioners within that system (you’re looking at one of them), but what the system aspires to do deserves respect, and perhaps even awe. 

And that system should never be taken for granted because what we have is truly exceptional. 
Among other things, in this country, the law is the great equalizer. In this country, no one is above the law, no matter who you are, who you know, or how much money and power you possess. 

And there are precious few countries, even in 2013, where that would not be a completely laughable statement. 

What’s more, the law not only equalizes; in this country, where more languages and cultures and cuisines coexist than anywhere else, the law also binds us together in ways that we too seldom appreciate. In a way and over time, the law has become part of the essential social and cultural glue of America. 

And so, we may not be in church this morning. But we are nonetheless, I think, celebrating something quite special and even sacrosanct.

Because whatever name you give your God; whatever book you deem scripture; whatever rituals of religious faith you observe; whether you are orthodox or reformed; whether you are devout or lapsed; whether you pray or not, if you are an American, you are bound to every one of your fellows in the greatest country that has ever existed by a pious faith in enduring principles of liberty and equality and the rule of law. 

That is the founding formula for our country, for our democracy, for our prosperity. 
That is the reason that people of all faiths and all colors and all cultures come here; that is the reason that those same people invest here and build here and stay here. 

That’s the reason my own family came. And it is the reason that I am standing before you today – the son of a father who came from virtually nothing, who was born 74 years ago in a colony still ruled in the name of the King of England, who later absconded to the U.S. with barely pennies in his pocket and with a young wife and an infant son with an unpronounceable name – who, less than forty years later, has somehow become the chief federal law enforcement officer in the financial capital of the world and is now improbably speaking before a captive audience of thousands in Radio City Music Hall. 

Now, how a kid like me, named Preet Bharara, who hails from Punjab, India – by way of Jersey(!) – is even permitted to be up here, at this podium, on this morning, for this occasion, is almost beyond my humble power to process. And yet here we are. 

Part of the reason that this can be, I believe, is that the United States has built a system of laws (even if flawed and frequently in need of repair) that enshrines the right to equal opportunity and embodies the sacred American ideal that every child – even a poor or orphaned or immigrant child – can rise higher than that child’s parents could ever have imagined. 

And so the law – provided that it is wisely fashioned and righteously applied and faithfully interpreted and nobly practiced by enough people of good will and good faith – provides the bedrock foundation for the freedom, the opportunity, and the prosperity that make America the greatest and most diverse nation the world has ever known. 

And that is why, though we lawyers are – as a group – much maligned, I continue to believe that to become a lawyer is to join a noble profession. 

And you are, every one of you, lucky beyond belief that you are today crossing the threshold from mere bystander to participant in the world’s greatest legal system. Why is that? 

Because there is no one better situated to promote equality, preserve liberty, and prevent cruelty than the person who has genuinely dedicated himself to becoming both a master and a servant of the law. 
And so I pray that you dedicate yourself to that in the years to come.

In the end, giving yourself to the law is an act of almost spectacular idealism, for it bespeaks an abiding faith in the possibility of self-governance, the power of rationality, and the peaceful resolution of disputes. 

And so the system of laws in this country, I believe, deserves deep respect. And we should have deep faith in it. But that faith should never be blind. 

Because, notwithstanding everything I have just said about the law’s majesty and power, the law can never – by itself – fully guarantee anyone’s rights and freedoms or ensure any nation’s greatness or secure any society’s fairness. 

The law is an amazing force, but any system of laws has natural limits. 
The law, for example, is not in the business of forgiveness or redemption. 
The law cannot compel us to love each other or respect each other. 
It cannot cancel hate or conquer evil; teach grace or extinguish passions. 
The law can never achieve these things, by itself. 

It takes people. 

And so if we want less hate and less strife; if we want more understanding and more harmony; if we want communities to heal and discrimination to end; if we want violence to ebb and freedom to expand and justice to reign; if we want the best of what the law promises its citizens, it will take good people – not merely good laws and good lawyers – to achieve it. 

Now, you graduates in the Class of 2013 are all very smart and successful. And each of you is receiving a coveted diploma as concrete proof of that. 

But there are lots of smart people. And there are lots of talented people. And lots of credentialed people. 
But in the end, if the law is to achieve its noble aims, character will always trump credentials. 
Character matters because the people in the process matter. 

Character matters because, every day, the law’s best aims are carried out, for good or ill, by human beings. 

The law may have a long arm, but it does not have an invisible hand. 
Justice is served, or thwarted, by human beings. 
Punishment is imposed, or withheld, by human beings. 

Mercy is bestowed, or refused, by human beings. 
After all, it is the flesh-and-blood lawyer who chooses how hard to work, which risk to take, which argument to push, which offer to accept, which line to draw in the sand, and which client’s cause to make his own. 

And likewise, it is the flesh-and-blood judge who decides, who rules, who sentences, and who ultimately succeeds – or fails – in doing justice. 
And that is why character matters. 

Because no amount of education or training or tutelage – even at Fordham – can take the place of wisdom borne of good judgment and character. 

And, equally, no statute or rule or regulation – no matter how well-intentioned or expertly-drafted – can guarantee that justice will be done in the individual case, if the people entrusted with the law’s enforcement or interpretation are not, at bottom, good people. 

And so whether you are one day privileged to wear a robe or wield a subpoena, defend a criminal or counsel a company, decency and discretion will always trump mere legal knowledge and well-written laws. 

One of our most respected jurists, Learned Hand, once made the point better than anyone. In a speech in 1944, he said this: 

“I often wonder whether we do not rest our hopes too much upon constitutions, upon laws, upon courts. These are false hopes, believe me these are false hopes. Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court, can save it.” 

And so please always keep liberty and justice in your hearts. And think from this day forward what you can do with the diploma you have just earned. Because what you can do is truly limitless. 

Because the potential power of a law degree is, I believe, unmatched in American society. 
Because the power of your degree confers on you a degree of power that few possess, fewer know how to use, and fewer still know how to put to good purpose. 

And I hope you will use that power – because this is the world we live in now. 
—We have maniacs who massacre young children as they sit in school; 

—We have terrorists who kill and maim innocent runners by converting pressure cookers into bombs; 

—We have violent gangs that are decimating populations; 

—We have schemers who steal the life savings of the elderly and the infirm; 

—Wall Street players who think that the rules apply only to everyone else; 

—Politicians who think bribery is a birthright rather than a bar to service; 

—We have corporations that look away from their duties to keep our air clean and our water pure; 

—We have nation states that are engaging in massive cyber espionage against U.S. industry; 

—We have discrimination, and even deadly violence, against people because of what they look like or whom they choose to love; 

—We have too much carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, too much deterioration in our infrastructure, too much red tape in our government, and too much gridlock in our Congress. 

—And the likelihood is that by the time the next Fordham class graduates, we will be facing other yet-unknown threats and challenges. 

Now I have spent some time painting maybe too bleak a picture of the world that you graduates are inheriting from the older generation. But what can I say? Your parents screwed up a lot of stuff. 

And so, given where the world is at this moment, I have a simple request (which is the prerogative of the commencement speaker): 

—From time to time in your career, find some small way to show that lawyers can make not just a living but also a difference; 

—Find some small way to show that lawyers can work the occasional little miracle; 

—Find some way to show that, at a time when so many cynics believe that so many attorneys are either demons or devils, that lawyers can, sometimes, be angels too. 

Now I know that for many people in the outside world, who sit at a distant remove from this celebration and who are not giddy from graduation, talk of lawyers as angels or as miracle workers is downright laughable. 

But I submit, a part of your responsibility – not only to your profession but also to yourselves and to your country – is to find ways to wipe the cynical smiles from those skeptics’ faces.

And you need to find ways to do that – not just to prove people like Dr. Holmes wrong – but because the world, as it is, needs good people now more than ever before. 
And you can find inspiration for action everywhere you look. 

The inspiration is there – in thousands of tiny acts of faith that quietly take place every day in courtrooms and client meetings all over the country – each a small miracle of service that helps to lift up a person or a person’s station or spirit. 

When a poor tenant is illegally evicted from an apartment and receives assistance in housing court, that’s a lawyer who helped give that woman her home back. 

When a man is unfairly fired because of his age or his color and is then reinstated after a court case, that’s a lawyer who helped give that man his job back. 

And when a woman is wrongly convicted of a murder she did not commit and is finally released after years in prison, that’s a lawyer who helped give that woman her life back. 

I believe that every time a mere lawyer can bring someone relief or shelter or hope or peace or justice, or a job, that’s a small miracle for the human being on the receiving end. 
Now, vanishingly few lawyers will ever prove themselves to be as influential as Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. 

Not every lawyer can be a great man or woman. But every lawyer can aspire to greatness. 
No lawyer can solve every problem or achieve every goal. But every lawyer can, and must, try. 
And every lawyer can do good things along the way. 

Because lawyers like you are better situated than anyone else to work, over time, small miracles of change and justice, provided you have faith in the law’s potential and, more importantly, faith in your own potential. 

In my office, every Assistant U.S. Attorney, after publicly swearing an oath to uphold the Constitution, is also given a framed copy of a passage written by one of my predecessors, Whitney North Seymour, Jr., when he was the U.S. Attorney more than 40 years ago. 

And at the end of that moving message about the special responsibilities that fall on every Assistant U.S. Attorney’s shoulders, Seymour offers a fitting word of advice aimed at the hearts of young idealistic lawyers upon the commencement of their public service careers. 

But, I think, his advice is just as fitting at this Commencement. 

And what Seymour preaches is this: “One’s basic credo should agree with Thomas Paine’s: ‘The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.’” 

And so, to the Class of 2013, whatever faith you otherwise profess, I hope that you also maintain faith in Thomas Paine’s credo, and I pray that doing good becomes part of your religion as well. 

Congratulations and good luck to all of you. 

Commencement 2013 Coverage Round Up

Fordham University's 168th Commencement took place May 18, 2013 at the Rose Hill campus. A complete list of all the stories, videos, photos and shout outs related to that day can be found below.

Official 168th Commencement Recap
http://www.fordham.edu/Campus_Resources/eNewsroom/topstories_2847.asp

The Best #Fordham2013 Social Media Posts from Storify
http://www.fordham.edu/Campus_Resources/eNewsroom/topstories_2840.asp

Shouts outs from the class of 2013
http://fordhamnotes.blogspot.com/2013/05/shout-outs-from-class-of-fordham2013.html
and
http://fordhamnotes.blogspot.com/2013/05/more-shout-outs-from-class-of.html

2013 Commencement Photo Album
http://fordhamnotes.blogspot.com/2013/05/commencement-2013-photo-album.html
and
http://www.flickr.com/photos/fordhamalumni/collections/72157633635337218/

Student Achievers: Faces in the Class of 2013
http://www.fordham.edu/campus_resources/enewsroom/inside_fordham/may_18_2013/faces_in_the_class_o/index.asp

Video: Creating Commencement 2013
http://www.fordham.edu/Campus_Resources/eNewsroom/topstories_2833.asp

Students Mark Successful Year Earning Prestigious Scholarships
http://www.fordham.edu/campus_resources/enewsroom/archives/archive_2832.asp

Encaenia 2013 Mixes Pomp With Quips
http://www.fordham.edu/Campus_Resources/eNewsroom/topstories_2846.asp

Gabelli Grads Feted in Ceremony
http://www.fordham.edu/Campus_Resources/eNewsroom/topstories_2845.asp

Fordham University Instagram 

Fordham University Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/FordhamUniversity

See more commencement coverage on our Twitter feed. Follow us at #Fordham2013
https://twitter.com/fordhamnotes.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Thursday, May 16, 2013

GBA Welcomes Families from Around Globe for Graduation


Incoming FISA president Kelsey Qianqian Si and outgoing president FISA Clare Mwange Mukolwe presented Dean Gautschi with a gift of appreciation.
Photo by Ken Levinson
There was an array of countries represented when the Fordham International Students Association (FISA) of the Graduate School of Business Administration (GBA) gathered on the rooftop garden at the Empire Hotel on May 16. Students from Zambia mingled with others from Saudi Arabia and China.

Outgoing FISA president Clare Mwange Mukolwe, who is from Zambia, welcomed the families of graduating GBA students, many of whom traveled thousands of miles to come to New York for commencement.

A few of the students drew stark comparisons to their home countries' manner of educating business students.

Hind Al Bakri said that as a woman in Saudi Arabia, she had to sit behind a screen during class lectures. Being able to talk to her Fordham professors face-to-face was a new experience.

Others drew distinctions in regional business styles. Eric Li said New Yorkers are a bit more aggressive in business than the Chinese, though he added that traditional Chinese humbleness seems to be morphing into a more international assertiveness, a notion that Kelsey Qianqian Si agreed with.

"Everywhere it's aggressive in business," she said. "It doesn't matter if it's London, Shanghai, or New York."

Quinqian Si, a native of Shanghai, is FISA's incoming president. Chinese nationals like her represent 30 percent of the GBA's incoming class of 1764 students. It's a distinction that Dean Gautschi drew attention to in his welcoming remarks.

"We see China as a friendly place," he said, before adding that fostering an international profile will be key to GBA's future. He noted regions of the world that the school is focusing on include China, the Indian Subcontinent, sub-Saharan Africa, Turkey, Europe, and the Middle East.

Mukolwe said that once the international mix comes together at Fordham, it looks a lot like New York City. She added that even within the club's Chinese majority, the differences are not nuanced, but are quite distinct with China's regional differences adding to the overall diversity.

"It's not a melting pot, it's more like a tossed salad, we bring all of our cultures together and everybody contributes to the taste," she said.
-Tom Stoelker

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

GSE Hosts Fifth Annual Betty Finn Psychoeducational Assessment Conference


Virginia Berninger, Ph.D., professor of
educational psychology at the
University of Washington
Photo by Joanna Klimaski
The fifth annual Betty Finn Psychoeducational Assessment Conference, hosted by the Graduate School of Education (GSE) on May 10, drew dozens of area psychologists and educational professionals for a daylong discourse on understanding the complexities of writing disabilities.

Virginia Wise Berninger, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist and professor of educational psychology at the University of Washington, offered the keynote address, “Assessment-Instruction Links within Interdisciplinary Frameworks.”

Widely published on writing-related disabilities, Berninger told participants that many children who struggle with some area of writing are diagnosed incorrectly as learning disabled because educators miss the nuance of their problem. In fact, their so-called learning disabilities may stem from a number of issues, including genetic abnormalities, environmental factors, or even cultural differences.

“Because we’ve had too much emphasis on symptoms outside of a profile, we’re missing what’s really going on in too many cases,” said Berninger, who was presented with the Alan S. Kaufman Excellence in Assessment Award earlier that morning.

The reasons for a disability involving writing vary, Berninger said. The problem may be related to a fine motor deficit, which could be corrected by physical and occupational therapy. Or, a child may have an underlying medical issue, for example, a brain injury or seizure disorder. Alternatively, learning disabilities may be purely environmental, for instance, caused by poverty, language or cultural differences, or family stressors.

Since the causes of disabilities are complex, not all children will benefit from the same remedial or special education curriculum. Thus, it is critical to conduct developmental, academic, and genetic assessments to correctly identify what is affecting a child’s ability to learn and tailor a therapy accordingly.

(From left) James J. Hennessy, Ph.D., dean of GSE, Berninger,
Zsuzsanna Kiraly, Ph.D., director of the
Hagin School Consultation and Early Childhood Centers,
and Vincent Alfonso, Ph.D., professor of school psychology.
Photo by Joanna Klimaski
“No single commercially available evidence-based writing assessment or instructional tool will work for all students with learning disabilities or learning differences,” Berninger said. “We need to consider individual developmental differences and socio-contextual (such as family and school systems) and cultural factors in identifying effective instructional approaches.”

The conference also featured Scott Decker, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology at the University of South Carolina, who presented, “Writing Assessment and Intervention: A Neuro-Cognitive Perspective,” and Dawn P. Flanagan, Ph.D., professor of psychology at St. John’s University, who presented, “Cross-Battery Assessment of and Interventions for Written Language Disorder Subtypes.”

The annual conference is named for the late Elizabeth “Betty” Ann Finn, Ph.D., former clinical associate professor in GSE.

— Joanna Klimaski

Monday, May 13, 2013

Little-Known Fordham Tradition Kicks Off Commencement Week

Fr. Dzieglewicz, Paramach, and Birone at the annual meetup.
It all started about thirteen years ago when the crew from Facilities Management were hanging the banners from Keating Hall for commencement. As their cherry picker passed by the third floor office window of Robert Paramach, Ph.D., assistant dean for freshmen, they spotted a bowl of candy.

"We popped open the window and grabbed the candy," said Victor Birone, the carpentry shop foreman.

Thus began an annual tradition that unofficially kicks off commencement week, but officially launches the celebratory mood of the week. Every year since, John Dzieglewicz, S.J., joined Paramach in leaving sweets within arms reach of the cherry picker.

"Now they just load up the window for us," said Birone.

Mike Raucci made off with a box of cereal, while Jimmy Sanchez took home beef jerky. 

Banner up!
The hand-off.
-Tom Stoelker