Fordham Notes: October 2013

Thursday, October 31, 2013

IIHA Founder Celebrates Book Launch

Kevin M. Cahill, M.D., University Professor and Director of the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs, was honored on Oct. 28 with a party celebrating the publishing of the second edition of To Bear Witness, (Fordham University Press, 2013). 

The book, which is the latest release in an International Humanities Affairs series edited by Dr. Kevin Cahill, followed the spring publishing of History and Hope.

The party took place at the 21 Club in Midtown Manhattan and was hosted by Tom Brokaw, Roy Lennox, and Bob Pittman. Also in attendance was Stephen Freeman, Ph.D., Fordham's Provost and Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

—Patrick Verel

Once Upon a Midnight Dreary...

In 1846, Fordham gained a thoughtful, well-mannered neighbor who would become a regular visitor to the Jesuit fathers on campus. In June of that year, he moved into a white three-room cottage on Kingsbridge Road, overlooking the campus of Fordham (then named St. John’s College).

When his wife died seven months later, he began the long walks that would lead him to the campus of St. John’s. There, he befriended college president Auguste J. Thebaud, S.J., as well as future president Edward Doucet, S.J., with whom he often walked the campus grounds, unburdening himself and taking a break from his literary efforts.

The Jesuits often gave him free rein in their library, where he would stay late into the night. “He was well informed on all matters” and was “a gentleman by nature and instinct,” Doucet said of the man, who had the now-familiar name of Edgar Allan Poe.

The Edgar Allan Poe cottage on Kingsbridge Road in the Bronx.

— Chris Gosier

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Feared Zombie Takeover of Rams Fitness and Rec

Zombies are expected to take over the Recreation and Fitness Center tomorrow, Oct. 31, 6:30 p.m. at Fordham's Rose Hill Campus, according to Sarah Bickford, administrator of Fitness and Recreation.

"Normally we have a hip hop fitness class, but instead we're doing the Michael Jackson Thriller dance," explained Bickford, who added that there will also be a Spooky Spin cycling class at 6 p.m. set to scary music.

"I'm hoping the students will come before they go out trick or treating," she said.

The session will be taped so that students will get a chance to post later.

The Halloween-themed event is part of Bickford's effort to focus on themed classes. She added that there are other holiday opportunities, such as seasonal meal planning with the Center's nutritionist, something she said is not always available in the real world.

Both the spin and dance classes are costume optional.

For more info contact: Sarah Bickford (718) 817-3815,

Tag your Halloween pics with #fordham #halloween!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Fordham to Mark Hurricane Anniversary with "Sandy Saturday"

Oct. 29 marks one year since Hurricane Sandy struck the east coast, causing more than 100 deaths and as much as $65 billion in damages. In New York alone, hundreds were displaced as flooding, severe winds, and, in some cases, fire destroyed entire neighborhoods.

Fordham University is marking the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy with a service trip to help local individuals and families who continue to struggle, and to raise awareness about the continued physical, financial, and spiritual needs of these communities.

On Saturday, Nov. 2, the Fordham University Sandy Solidarity Committee will sponsor its final “Sandy Saturday” to work with affected communities. Volunteers will travel from campus to the Far Rockaways to join Habitat for Humanity in helping clear debris, gut devastated homes, and assist in the ongoing rebuilding efforts.

According to Gil Severiano, assistant to the vice president of campus ministry, the hope was that, by sponsoring a trip near the anniversary of the storm, Fordham could turn a spotlight on the devastation that hurricane victims continue to grapple with.

“There is still a lot of work to be done,” Severiano said. “There are whole lots that are still empty, and people who are have only just begun returning to their homes.”

Since the storm hit, the University has run more than a dozen trips to the Rockaways, Breezy Point, and other affected areas. More than 400 students, staff, faculty, alumni, and friends have participated in these official Sandy Saturdays, although Severiano said the unofficial number is much higher.

“The Fordham response was immediate and sustained,” she said. “In addition to our trips, people were going out in solo groups. The Lincoln Center students, for example, did a phenomenal job of organizing themselves to collect donations and run trips.”

The University will also hold a prayer service Oct. 29 at 6 p.m. on the Gabelli Plaza, outside Hughes Hall. A reception and reflection will be held in the McGinley Ballroom directly following the service.

In addition, the collection at this Sunday’s Mass was dedicated to the hurricane victims.

“Campus Ministry is happy to continue accepting donations on behalf of Catholic Charities, Habitat for Humanity, and others working in these areas. People can also donate directly to these organizations,” Severiano said.

“We live here, these are our neighbors. We need to support our local community.”

To register for Saturday’s trip, click here and fill out the registration form

For information about either the trip or the prayer service, contact campus ministry at (718) 817-4500.

To read about earlier Sandy Saturday efforts, read the article on Fordham’s news blog

--Joanna Klimaski

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Catholic Women and Ecological Theology

A recent article in The Atlantic spotlighted an unconventional group of Catholic nuns: “Green Sisters,” who live in self-sustaining agricultural communities and champion eco-justice. These communities represent a brand of environmentalism that is not only responsive to current ecological crises, but is also deeply spiritual, locating God within nature itself and requiring humans to be caretakers of the earth.

While some may consider such a lifestyle as remote in today’s consumerist society as the farmlands that these Sisters inhabit, many Catholic theologians are calling for greater attention to be paid to the natural world.

Next week, the topic of ecological theology will take center stage at Fordham’s ninth annual Rita Cassella Jones Lecture. This year’s lecture will feature Elizabeth Johnson, C.S.J., Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Theology.

“So Much is in Bud”:
Catholic Women’s Contributions to an Emerging Ecological Theology
Monday, Oct. 28
6 p.m.
Tognino Hall | Duane Library | Rose Hill Campus

The presentation will explore Catholic ecology as it is grounded in women’s theology. In particular, Sister Johnson will examine how this thinking considers the natural world as kin, values the sacredness of the body, forges strong links between the alleviation of poverty and eco-justice, and rethinks divine immanence as the Spirit dwelling within ecological processes.

A prolific scholar and internationally known teacher and lecturer, Sister Johnson is the past president of the Catholic Theological Society of America and the American Theological Society, and is the recipient of numerous honorary doctorates and awards for her contributions to academia and to the church.

She is a prize-winning author whose works include She Who Is: The Mystery of God in Feminist Theological Discourse (The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1992) and Truly Our Sister: A Theology of Mary in the Communion of Saints (Bloomsbury Academic, 2003). Her latest book, Ask the Beasts: Darwin and the God of Love (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2014), is forthcoming.

The annual Rita Cassella Jones lecture is sponsored by the Francis and Ann Curran Center for American Catholic Studies and by the Jones family. The lecture explores women’s issues in the North American Catholic community.

The lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, visit the Curran Center website.

— Joanna Klimaski

Monday, October 21, 2013

Media Clips of the Week: All About the Fordham Rams

The YES Network's Chris Shern talks Fordham Football

It’s only Monday, but it's safe to say we found our media clips of the week.

This past Saturday, Fordham football player Sam Ajala set a school record with 282 yards receiving as the Rams, ranked eighth in the Football Championship Subdivision, improved to 8-0 for the first time with a 52-31 victory at Yale. Not surprisingly, the media has taken notice. Here are a few excerpts from this past weekend’s coverage:

“There appears to be new blocks of granite at Fordham.”

“The successful start has raised echoes of the great Fordham teams of the 1930s, featuring linemen known as the Seven Blocks of Granite. One of those “blocks” was Vince Lombardi, who would become a renowned coach. Appearances in major bowls followed in the early 1940s, but Fordham dropped football in 1954, and it returned as a varsity sport only in 1970, at a lower level.”

The Rams, 1-10 two years ago before Moorhead took over, are now 7-0 -- their best start since 1930.

“…if the Fordham scouting report was required reading last week, the [Yale] Bulldogs realized that their opponent Saturday was offensively inclined and prolific.

If Lombardi, who went on to become maybe the most famous football coach in history, and the rest of the blocks were still around, they might have had a hard time recognizing the game being played by Fordham these days. There’s no doubt, however, they’d love the results.

“The most successful college team in the tri-state area can be found at Fordham University.”

Watch the full YES Network segment, which includes interviews with Coach Joe Moorhead and students, here.

-Gina Vergel 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Corrigan Conference Center Officially Unveiled

The Lowenstein Center’s 12th floor was officially christened the E. Gerald Corrigan Conference Center in a ceremony held on Oct. 17.

The ceremony, which was postponed from last year due to Hurricane Sandy, honored E. Gerald Corrigan, Ph.D., GSAS ’65, ’71.

Corrigan, a former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and a managing director of Goldman Sachs, was honored at a dinner attended by Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham; Stephen Freedman, Ph.D., provost; Msgr. Joseph G. Quinn, vice president for mission and ministry; David Gautschi, Ph.D., dean of the Graduate School of Business Administration; and
Nancy Busch, Ph.D., dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Also in attendance were recipients of the endowed scholarship fund that Corrigan established in 1999 and which has provided financial support to undergraduate students for nearly a decade.

Corrigan has served on the Fordham University Board of Trustees and has been a mentor and educator to Fordham students. In 2007, he made a $5 million gift that funded the E. Gerald Corrigan Chair in
International Business and Finance in the Schools of Business, and he continues to generously support university initiatives.
Michael Sansarran, GSB '13, former Corrigan Scholar, Nicole Campiglia,
FCLC '13 former Corrigan Scholar, Matthew McDonnell, FCRH '14,
 current Corrigan Scholar, E. Gerald Corrigan, Maygan Anthony, FCRH '14,
 current Corrigan Scholar, and Mark Espina, FCRH '16, and current
Corrigan Scholar. (Photo by Bruce Gilbert)
—Patrick Verel

Media Clip of the Week: Father McShane in Crain's New York

Father Joseph McShane, S.J.
Photo by Bruce Gilbert

Crain's New York recently published an education report that included "People to Watch in Higher Education." Father Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham, made the list.

The leaders profiled "play a critical role in the city's culture and economy," it said in the Oct. 14 issue.

Crain's writer Judy Messina described Fordham's growth strategy as ambitious.

"Under its president, the Rev. Joseph McShane, 64, Fordham is in the middle of a $1.6 billion, 25-year effort to expand its Bronx and Lincoln Center campuses. It is part of a larger strategic plan to raise the rankings of its graduate programs, attract a more national and international student body and turn the 172-year-old institution into the country's pre-eminent Catholic university. 

"We want to be a destination for the brightest kids in the country, Catholic and not," Father McShane said.

The article pointed out the "growing allure" Fordham's location in the heart of New York City.

"Our mission is to graduate students who are going to be the leaders in American society, and New York is a laboratory that makes it possible for us to deliver on that promise," Father McShane said. "Notre Dame has the money and the name. I've got New York City." 
Read the piece here (subscription may be required) or pick up the issue in news stands.

-Gina Vergel 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Oct. 22: Meet Veterans and Hear Their Stories

On Tuesday, Oct. 22, Fordham's Veterans Writing Workshop will celebrate the publication of the 10th anthology of writings, Afterwards-The Ones We Save, produced by workshop participants. Held at the Fordham Westchester Campus weekly, the workshop is one of the services to metropolitan area veterans offered since 2009 by the FordhamVets Initiative.   

A reception and reading will begin at 7 p.m. at the Westchester campus, 400 Westchester Ave., West Harrison, N.Y. RSVP to 

If you'd like to know more about the writing workshop and hear excerpts from the veterans' past writings, you can view last year's reading here or you can purchase one of the series here.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Switzerland, Aide Workers, and Humanitarian Challenges:Two Perspectives

On Tuesday, Oct. 15, Fordham's Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs will present a panel discussion on neutrality, humanitarian principles, and more, co-sponsored with the Consulate General of Switzerland in New York: "Current Humanitarian Challenges--Two Perspectives: Switzerland and the ICRC," features a discussion between speakers Ambassador Francois Garras, consul general of Switzerland in New York, and the IIHA's Executive Director Brendan Cahill.

Panelists commenting include Ambassador Manuel Bessler, head of the Humanitarian Aide Department for Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, and Walter F├╝llemann, head of delegation to the United Nations, International Committee of the Red Cross. 

Larry Hollingworth, visiting professor at Fordham's Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs, will moderate. 

2 p.m. | 12th-floor Lounge/Corrigan Center, Lowenstein Center, Lincoln Center Campus

Those interested in attending should contact Kasia Laskjowski at

Fordham's Laura Gonzalez on Janet Yellen's nomination as Fed Chair

Fordham professor of finance, Laura Gonzalez, spoke to Reuters about Janet Yellen's nomination as chairwoman of the Federal Reserve.

Alumna Honored at Women and Sports Summit

Mobalaji Akiode, GSB ’04, founder of Hope 4 Girls Africa, was honored as an Everyday Hero at the fourth annual espnW: Women + Sports Summit in Dana Point, Calif., on Oct. 9.

Sage Steele, ESPN SportsCenter Co-Host, and
Mobalaji Akiode, GSB '04 (right), with her
Everyday Hero award.
Photo by Phil Ellsworth/ESPN Images
The Everyday Heroes program, a new program created by espnW in collaboration with Toyota, honors women who are working to promote and grow sports for girls and women in their local communities. Akiode was one of three people to receive the award during a special presentation at the summit.

“Receiving the honor is amazing,” says Akiode. “You never start out to give back thinking someone will recognize you for it; you do it because it’s the right thing to do and because you love it.”

A standout of the Fordham women’s basketball team 10 years ago, Akiode later played for the 2004 Nigerian national team, which earned Africa’s first-ever Olympic women’s basketball win. That experience sparked Akiode’s dream to return to her native Nigeria to build Hope 4 Girls Africa, a nonprofit that aims to empower and inspire disadvantaged young African women through basketball. Hope 4 Girls offers a national basketball camp and an academy to promote female sports development in Nigerian schools.

“Most times we think, women have arrived, what else is there left to accomplish? This women and sports summit reminds us that there is still much work to be done. To be around many of the women shaping that story is a privilege,” says Akiode.

One of the many sports industry leaders at the summit was Christine Driessen, GSB ’77, executive vice president and chief financial officer of ESPN, and a Fordham University trustee fellow. Driessen had a hand in helping Akiode get a job as an accountant at ESPN, after listening to Akiode speak about mentorship on a student-athlete panel at Fordham. “I look at her as a great role model,” Akiode said of Driesen during a FORDHAM magazine interview in 2010.

—Rachel Buttner

Thursday, October 10, 2013

UPDATE: Christiana Peppard, Paul Levinson to speak at NY’s Comic Con

Paul Levinson and Christiana Peppard

* This post was updated on Oct. 11. See updates at the asterisks. 

Fordham professors speak at several conferences throughout the year, and sometimes they’re high up on the pop culture scale.

Last May, for instance, Thomas Beaudoin, Ph.D., associate professor of theology at Fordham’s Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education, gave a presentation on “Secular Music as a Quest for More” as part of a panel at the very buzzworthy South By Southwest (SXSW) tech and music conference in Austin, Texas.

This Saturday, Oct. 12, Christiana Peppard, Ph.D., professor of theology, science, and ethics, will join a panel at New York’s Comic Con. *Paul Levinson, Ph.D., professor of communications and media studies, has recently been added to the panel. 

Hosted by Academy Award-nominated actor, James Woods, the panel will focus on “Tech Toys from the Future.” It is presented by Futurescape, a six-part series on the Science Channel.

According to show organizers, this “tech road show from the future” will feature notable “‘rock stars of the gadget world’ as they unveil the ‘latest and greatest’ in the world of technology.”

Attendees will also see exclusive footage from the upcoming season of Futurescape with commentary from the producers.

“Each episode of Futurescape will look at one idea or discovery that will critically alter life as we know it: Synthetic Biology, Predictive Analytics, Habitable Planets, Nano Technology.

“Woods will ask the big questions, ignite debate and reveal a stunning image of the future.”

That’s where Peppard will come in, as she’ll discuss some future aspects of synthetic biology. *Paul Levinson will discuss the civil rights of robots. (Yes, you read that right.) Here's how describes it:

"We invent robots to be our servants -- to do dangerous or tedious jobs that we would rather not do," Levinson says. "We try to make them more and more intelligent, so they do their jobs better. What happens when we make our robots so intelligent that they are sentient beings? Are we morally entitled to continue treating them as slaves? Or will our future robots be entitled to civil rights?"

Two Fordham professors and an Academy Award-nominated actor discussing the future? Sounds good to us!

New York Comic Con is the East Coast's biggest popular culture convention. Its show floor plays host to the latest and greatest in comics, graphic novels, anime, manga, video games, toys, movies and television. 

-Gina Vergel

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Bronx Summit to Step Up for Start-ups

“Even though the Bronx has all these great mom and pop businesses, for real sustainable growth and job creation, high tech industries must play a critical role," said W. "R.P." Raghupathi, founding director of Fordham’s Center for Digital Transformation.

Raghupathi, professor and director of the master’s program in business analytics at the Graduate School of Business Administration, will address the promises and challenges facing start-ups in the borough with experts in the field at the Second Annual Summit on Technology Innovation and Start-ups in the Bronx.

October 16, 2013 – 8:30-1:30pm.
Hughes Hall
Rose Hill Campus

While Manhattan and Brooklyn get the lion's share of attention from the burgeoning tech start-up scene, Raghupathi said the Bronx holds promise.  However, he noted that even though the borough hardly lacks for physical infrastructure—competitive real estate costs and great transportation—it must catch up when it comes to bandwidth and other digital necessities.

Ragupathi pointed to the presence of universities, hospitals, medical colleges, the Botanical Garden, the Bronx Zoo, and nonprofit agencies as lures to the area, to say nothing of Fordham's own initiatives of Bronx Science Consortium and Fordham Foundry. 

The Center for Digital Transformation, the Schools of Business, the urban studies program, and the Urban Law Center are co-sponsoring the event.

To register click here.
-Tom Stoelker

Monday, October 7, 2013

Family Weekend Bolsters Rams' Big Win

Fordham students got a chance to show off their home-away-from-home to parents, family members, and friends on Oct. 4, 5 and 6 at the University's Family Weekend. It didn't hurt that the Fordham Rams whomped Lehigh University on Saturday, Oct. 5 in front of a sold-out crowd on Rose Hill's Coffey Field--in what was classic Indian Summer weather. Sample some of the fun here . . .

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Help Wanted: The Fordham Fund Student Philanthropy Committee

Fordham University is seeking students to join the Fordham Fund’s Student Philanthropy Committee. Students from all years, majors, and campuses, are welcome.

Members of the Student Philanthropy Committee are ambassadors for Fordham who help raise monetary support for their school. By being a part of this group, members strengthen their Fordham experience while enhancing the value of their degrees.

It is an opportunity to learn how institutions and non-profits work. It will also help students hone business acumen, marketing, and event planning skills.

Applications are being accepted until Oct. 15:

For more information, contact Sarah Waino, assistant director of the Fordham Fund at: or 212-636-7638.