Fordham Notes: August 2009

Monday, August 31, 2009

Fordham Students Raise Funds for Breast Cancer

Tanner Hartnett, a Fordham College at Rose Hill senior, wants the Fordham presence at this year’s Oct. 18th Breast Cancer Walk in Central Park to be huge. In fact, she’s planning an on-campus concert to raise awareness, as well as funds.

The concert is in the preparation stages and will take place sometime in October. It will feature several local bands.

Over the weekend, Tanner reached out to faculty and administrators through e-mail to encourage them to support this year’s effort by walking or contributing. The team wants to raise $10,000, doubling last year’s total of $5,000. They hope to increase participation, too (see last year's team above). Assisting Tanner as co-chairs of the Fordham team are fellow FCRH seniors Valeria Wynn and Madison Meyer.

“We’re hoping for 50 walkers, and a lot of supporters,” said Tanner, who said that Fordham’s Breast Cancer Walk group is not an official campus club so they must rely on donations for their events. “Breast cancer has affected most of us in some way, directly or indirectly. If we do fundraising now, hopefully it’s something our kids won’t have to worry about.”

If you can’t walk, you can donate money to support other walkers, or offer services: the organizers need help with photocopying, and they need volunteer speakers for their upcoming benefit concert on the Rose Hill campus. Tanner said anyone who has a personal story to tell or who could help transition the bands she is lining up is welcome to contact her.

Stay tuned here for details about the concert date. And sign up here to donate money to the Fordham Rams team.

- J.S.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Bee Watchers Abuzz Over Fordham Instructor’s Blog

Kevin Matteson (GSAS ’07) is watching out for those folks who watch bees.

For a couple of years now, Matteson, a Fordham instructor of biology, has been a coordinator in the Bee Watchers of New York City program, sponsored by the American Museum of Natural History and the New York City Parks Department. Each summer the program enlists volunteers in all five boroughs to do bi-weekly counts of the number and types of bees landing on plants and flowers around the city. But with so many different kinds, sometimes it's hard to tell a bumblebee from a bottle fly.

Recently Matteson started “The Great Pollinator Project Blog” to help volunteers and others identify the 220 different species in the area. He pens a “Bee of the Week” column with pictures, writes about the most pollinator-friendly streets, parks, and gardens in the city, and posts information about other pollinators as well.

Link here to Matteson’s latest blogs on the Bombus Impatiens, otherwise known as the Eastern Bumble Bee, and that sneaky cookoo bee, triepeolus-lunatus.

Matteson is co-author of “Bee Richness and Abundance in New York City Urban Gardens,” published recently in the Annals of the Entomological Society of America. The Bee Watchers project enlists 200 volunteers and runs through the end of September.

-- J.S.

Fordham alumn nominated for New York Innovative Theatre Award

When the New York Innovative Theatre Award for outstanding performance art production is announced on September 21, one of those vying for the honor will be Fordham University's own Joe Galan, FCLC '02.

Galan was nominated for his work as a producer of Cirque du Quoi?!?, which was described as a marriage of the outrageous shock comedy of the Comedy Troupe and the elegant aerial dancing skills of Lady Circus.

The other Fordham alumni who contributed to the show are: Sarah Bell ‘04; Jon Crane ‘03; Brian Gillespie ‘06; Ian Lassiter ‘05; Janio Marrero ‘04; Graham Skipper ‘05; Jeff Glaser ‘05; and Kate Swan ‘05.

"[I hope] the rest of the alumni the recognition that they deserve," Galan said. "The IT Awards only named me because I was the one who filled out the application for the show. This was a real group effort..."

The show, which paired eight comedians who'd learned aerial skills like trapeze and silk hanging with glamorous women of the Lady Circus, was produced by Human Flight Productions, Inc. & Gramily Entertainment. It was nominated at a ceremony attended by 500 guests at the Carmine Street Recreation Center on July 20.

The IT Awards, which are in their fifth year, are given annually to honor individuals and organizations who have achieved artistic excellence in Off-Off-Broadway theatre. It's not the first time a Fordham graduate has been nominated, as Maria McConville, FCLC '04, won outstanding actress in a lead role in 2005 for her work in First Time Out of Bound.

For more information, visit the NYIT awards page.
—Patrick Verel
Updated Friday, August 28, 2009

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Twin Biology Majors Net Prestigious Fellowships

Biology apparently is destiny, at least for twin sisters April and Kim Barnum, Fordham College at Rose Hill juniors, both of whom are biology majors, and both of whom spent the summer in Germany on prestigious DAAD RISE fellowships.

Barnum & Barnum studied at Universität Bayreuth under the German Academic Exchange Service (in German, Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst—DAAD) Research Internships in Science and Engineering (RISE), which gives undergraduates the chance to work with doctoral students for a summer, including the opportunity for hands-on experience in the field and laboratories.

Donna Heald, Ph.D., associate dean for science education and director of pre-health professions advising at FRCH, called the juniors "amazing students and delightful people."

Kim Barnum is in the pre-medical program at Fordham and plans to medical school. This summer she researched “Selective Use of Plant Provenances: A Potential Tool for Climate Change Adaptation?” Her major area of interest is biogeography.

April Barnum plans to minor in chemistry. This summer she conducted research on the microbially catalyzed formation of thioarsenic species during the dissolution of arsenic-sulfur minerals. She also presented at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) last week in Washington, D.C., a rare honor for an undergraduate.

Both April and Kim blogged about their experiences in Bayreuth (see links above). In the image above, the pair are preparing to descend into an old mineral mine in Seiffen. April is on the right. The Sisters Barnum will be joined at Fordham by their younger brother, Ricky, who will be entering Fordham College at Rose Hill as a freshman in September.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Rams Quarterback on NFL Radar

Today's New York Daily News has a very cool piece on quarterback John Skelton, Fordham QB John Skelton muscles way into NFL Draft conversation:

[NFL Scouts are] all coming to see Skelton, who is rapidly emerging as one of this year's most intriguing quarterback prospects. He's hardly a household name like Florida's Tim Tebow, but if he leads the Rams to a solid season in front of all those scouts, he just may find himself battling Tebow and others for position in the 2010 NFL Draft.

Fordham Student 'Jams' For a Smarter Planet

Fordham University junior Bianca Rodrigues was recognized by IBM for her contributions to the 2009 Smarter Planet University Jam.

The event, a massive brainstorming session in which students and faculty from nearly 200 universities in 40 countries came together to think about ways to promote a smarter planet, took place online for 72 hours this past summer.

A political science major at Fordham College at Lincoln Center, Rodrigues was among an exclusive group of 20 student award recipients from a pool of nearly 2,000 “jammers.”

“IBM experts and leaders from the Jam sifted through the more than 2,700 posts on topics including smarter planet skills & education, smart water management and green planet, smarter healthcare, smart grid and smart cities,” said Michelle Morrison, an IBM spokeswoman. “We identified Bianca as a jammer with high quality, progressive insights and a clear passion for making our planet smarter.”

Rodrigues said she enjoyed the experience.

“The University Jam was one of the most innovative ways I have seen that we can all contribute to issues pertinent to modern society,” Rodrigues said.

According to polls conducted by IBM, “jammers” were very enthusiastic about creating a smarter planet and were optimistic about the future. Nine out of 10 students believe 100 miles per gallon cars will be the norm by 2025, and 64 percent of believe that the world has a chance to reverse carbon emissions by 2025, according to the polls.

“Jammers” also came up with hundreds of progressive insights and innovations on topics like the skills students need to be competitive in the globally integrated economy, environmental protection, fostering pollution-free and inexpensive energy and improving healthcare.

IBM is planning to create a student advisory council in order to continue the dialogue with students on Smarter Planet topics, Morrison said. Rodrigues was invited to join this student advisory council, and she has accepted the invitation going forward.

For more information on the Smarter Planet University Jam, visit

-Gina Vergel

Graduate School of Education Launches Blog

Fordham’s Graduate School of Education (GSE) officially launched its blog on Aug. 25 at The blog, maintained by GSE’s Office of Admissions, Marketing & Media Relations will feature news and event listings, including:
  • Announcements of new program launches and other GSE academic news.
  • Notices from admissions, division offices, and the dean's office for prospective and current students, such as open houses, information sessions and deadlines.
  • Notice of events open to GSE students, including lectures, conferences, happy hours, and other social events.
  • Links to websites or current articles of interest to students and faculty in all divisions.
  • Links to other Fordham blogs, as well as to faculty blogs or websites.
  • Video clips
  • Notice of faculty publications, as well as any additional faculty and student accomplishments.
  • Graduation and honor society induction information.
  • Student life information, including University and GSE services and resources available to GSE students.
GSE is seeking contributions from faculty, students and staff, including news items, publications, events, program updates, or other information. Send submissions for consideration to Michelle Adams at

Friday, August 21, 2009

Fordham Mourns the Loss of CBA Alumnus

John William Gilder, a 2008 graduate of Fordham’s College of Business Administration (CBA), died on Aug. 18 in his sleep due to an undiagnosed heart problem. He was 23.

Gilder was born in New York City and raised in Greenwich, Conn. He attended North Mianus School, Eastern Middle School and graduated from Greenwich High School in 2004. While in high school, he attained the rank of Eagle Scout and won first place in the Junior League’s Public Service Film Contest for his film on the dangers of smoking.

At Fordham, Gilder earned a bachelor of science in business administration. Most recently, he was working for Warner Brothers Pictures.

He lived on City Island with his grandfather.

“John was a humble yet confident young man who offered his friendship to many,” according to an obituary written by his family.

Gilder is survived by his parents, Mark and Karen Gilder, sisters Kerry and Kathleen Gilder, and his grandparents—William T. McGee and John and Margaret Gilder. He is also survived by many aunts and uncles. Gilder will be missed by longtime girlfriend Elizabeth Murray, a 2009 graduate of Fairfield University.

A wake will be held at from 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 21 at:

Schuyler Hill Funeral Home
3535 East Tremont Ave., Bronx, N.Y.

Funeral services are set for 11 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 22 at:

St. Mary’s Star of the Sea Church
590 City Island Ave., City Island, N.Y.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the John Gilder Memorial Scholarship Trust, c/o 32 Fado Lane, Cos Cob, CT 06807.

—Gina Vergel

Press Celebrates Grand Concourse Birthday

Intersections: The Grand Concourse at 100, published by Fordham University Press, celebrates the history of the famous Bronx boulevard through a collection of pieces written by historians and contemporary museum curators.

The book, edited by Antonio Sergio Bessa, includes two original texts by Alsatian-born engineer Louis Risse, who designed and oversaw the construction of the Grand Concourse. It is co-published with the Bronx Museum of the Arts, where Bessa is director of programming.

November 2009 marks the 100th anniversary of the Grand Boulevard and Concourse, which stretches more than four miles from 138th Street to the Mosholu Parkway. The Concourse was modeled on the Champs Élysées in Paris and described in the 1939 WPA Guide to New York as “the Park Avenue of the middle-class,” it offered residents amenities not seen before in the city, including private bathrooms and central heating.

Friday, August 14, 2009

African Immigration Research Lecture Series Gets Green Light

Although they are separated by thousands of miles, The Bronx and the African continent have deep ties to each other. Just how tight that bond is will be explored in new lecture series, courtesy of Fordham’s Bronx African American History Project.

Thanks to a recently awarded $11,700 grant from the New York Council for the Humanities, six lectures, which will be open to the public, will be staged during the 2009/2010 academic year.

Jane Kani Edward, Ph.D., Director of African Immigration Research for the Bronx African American History Project and a post-doctoral fellow, tells us that topics to be covered include: African women and Art, African-owned businesses, religion and African immigrant community, African immigrant families and issues of cultural continuity and change, African musicians and music, and Migration and Remittance.

The lectures will be held at the Rose Hill campus, and other venues around the borough, including the Bronx Museum of the Arts and P.S. 140, on Eagle Avenue and 163rd street. Coming as it is after the success of last years’ lecture series, “The Bronx is Building: The Bronx as Site of Political Mobilization and Cultural Creativity,” we’re looking forward to what this series has to offer.

For more information, visit
—Patrick Verel

Thursday, August 13, 2009

IPED in South Africa

Sixteen Fordham students are currently studying in South Africa as part of an Emerging Markets Travel Program sponsored by Fordham's Graduate Program in International Political Economy and Development (IPED).

Fordham students in South Africa at the Nelson Mandela Square
in Sandton, the financial district of Johannesburg, South Africa.

Housed at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, the students are divided into five teams and spend most of their mornings collecting and analyzing South African economic and financial data. Their afternoons and Fridays are spent meeting various policy makers.

At the U.S. Embassy Fordham students discussed the challenges and opportunities facing the South Africa economy with the head of the U.S. Commercial Service. At the National Union of Metulurgy Workers, the students debated with the president of one of South Africa's largest unions over the appropriate government policies needed to deal with South Africa's severe unemployment problem.

At the South African Reserve Bank, the students analyzed South African monetary policy and the regulation of South African banks with one of their chief economists. The students will also be meeting with leaders from the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Besides academic pursuits, the Fordham students have attended several social events, including a gala to recognize women of achievement in the South Africa economy, at which the students met the former first lady of South Africa, Zanele Mbeki, the governor of the South African Reseve Bank and all the CEO's of South Africa's major banks.

IPED's Emerging Markets Travel Program in South Africa is very grateful for the strong support that we have received from the University of Pretoria, the government of South Africa, and the government of the United States.

—Henry Schwalbenberg, Ph.D.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

New Play by History Professor to Play NY Fringe Festival

Besides teaching history, Doron Ben-Atar, Ph.D., chair of the history department, is an author and playwright. In 2007, Ben-Atar’s play, Behave Yourself Quietly, explored the lives and dreams of three women prisoners at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Ben-Atar’s latest venture, Peace Warriors, is both a dramatic look at how one couple wrestles with the disparity in their career success, and an exploration of anti-Israeli sentiment in American intellectual life. According to a description, the drama “gets personal when four academics and a teenage girl spend a tumultuous night flaunting their politics and confronting their passions and jealousies.”

The play premiered on July 10 at the Capital Fringe Festival in the District of Columbia and has received good reviews. Ben-Atar has garnered some other media attention.

This Friday evening, August 14, Peace Warriors will have its New York City premiere at the International Fringe Festival. It will run for two consecutive weekends at The Player’s Theatre, 115 MacDougal Street. You can get the full schedule of performances and purchase tickets here.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Fordham University YouTube Channel Debuts

First came

Then this blog followed, and like an old testament chapter, it begat Fordham's Twitter account, which then begat our own Facebook profile. And now, Fordham has unveiled its own YouTube portal, chock full of videos as short as several minutes and as long as an hour.

The site, which already has 41 videos archived on it, is an exciting addition to our list of media outlets, because it allows what we in the news and media relations department have long seen up close: The seemingly never ending instances of fascinating conversations and debates that fill the halls and rooms of the Rose Hill, Lincoln Center and Westchester campuses.

A small sampling of the videos already up include luminaries such as Michael Bloomberg, Tim Russert, Mike Wallace and Walter Cronkite. With the 2009/2010 academic year fast approaching, we've got high hopes for this new portal.
—Patrick Verel

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

New Executive MBA Class Starts Classes

The calendar may still say summer, but for Fordham’s top-rated Executive MBA program, Thursday, Aug. 6 signals the start of another intensive two-month session.

According to Francis Petit, Ed.D., assistant dean and director of executive programs at the Graduate School of Business Administration (GBA), the class of 2011, which will be the program’s seventh cohort, consists of 36 students.

As with past classes, the class is notable for its diversity and work experience. The mean age of the class is 33, the mean experience is 11 years, and the companies represented include Deloitte Services LP, Credit Suisse, McKinsey, KPMG, AT&T, BMW of North America, Hyperion Publishing, The Embassy Suites Hotel, Source Media, MTV Networks and Ann Taylor.

The student’s personal backgrounds are just as diverse, as they hail from Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Jamaica, and Pakistan. Also notable is the fact that it has its’ first student from the Fordham Vets Initiative, a veteran who has served two tours of duty in Iraq.

—Patrick Verel

Monday, August 3, 2009

Book Signing for The Rat that Got Away

Mark Naison, Ph.D., professor of African American Studies and History and director of the Bronx African American History Project, and Allen Jones, a Bronx-born manager for foreign currency exchange at Dexia Banque Internationale at Luxembourg, will celebrate the publishing of The Rat that Got Away: A Bronx Memoir (Fordham University Press 2009) on Wednesday, Aug. 19 at 6 p.m. at Books in the Hood, 815 Westchester Ave., The Bronx.

In the book, Jones recounts how he grew up in a public housing project in the South Bronx in the 1950s, when that neighborhood was a place of optimism and hope for upwardly mobile Black and Latino families. But although he came from a two-parent household with many mentors, Jones—like many of his neighbors—saw his neighborhood battered by job losses and white flight, and a crippling drug epidemic lured him to heroin, first as a user, then a dealer.

He spent four months on Rikers Island, where he experienced a crisis of conscience and a determination to turn his life around. Sent to a New England prep school upon his release, Jones used his basketball skills and street smarts to forge a life outside the Bronx, first as a college athlete in the South, then as a professional basketball player, radio personality, and banker in Europe.

For more information, contact Books in the Hood at (347) 270-1215 or at

—Patrick Verel

Fordham’s Jesuit Community Goes Green – Again

For the past eleven years, Fordham’s Jesuit community has been at the forefront of the urban gardening movement. The community has a sizable and flourishing garden on the rooftop of their Rose Hill residence. Each year, under the supervision of Father Nicholas Lombardi, S.J., Ph.D., the community enjoys an array of fresh produce – tomatoes, Sicilian eggplant, peppers, romanesca, cucumbers, strawberries, melon and some petunias and colius.

Father Lombardi began gardening as a child in Queens, and today grows all of the fruits and vegetables from seed. He starts the plants in pots in early spring, and transfers the seedlings after the last frost.

Despite the Northeast blight on tomatoes and potatoes, Father Lombardi says the Jesuits’ community garden is doing well. By the end of growing season, he expects to have harvested close to 150 pounds of tomatoes.

“We ought to move to rooftop farming in all our cities,” says Father Lombardi (pictured above). “Otherwise it's wasted space.”


Late Philippine President Aquino Was Honorary Degree Recipient

This weekend, Fordham University noted the death of Former Philippine President Corazon Aquino: University Mourns Philippine Leader.

The University has bestowed honorary degrees upon at least three Philippine presidents since the Republic of the Philippines was formed in 1946: President Maria Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo received an honorary doctorate of laws from the University in 2003, and her father, President Diosdado Macapagal, also received an honorary doctorate of laws on Oct. 9, 1964. Corazon Aquino was awarded an honorary degree in 1986.