Fordham Notes: November 2013

Friday, November 22, 2013

Righteous Extremism and Educational Leadership

Olga Welch, Ed.D., delivered the first Barbara Jackson lecture.
"These people don’t know it, but they’re about ready to go to church," was what civil rights activist Clarence Jones said before Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his I Have A Dream speech.

The same could have been said about Olga Welch, Ed.D., dean of education at Duquesne University, upon delivering the first Barbara L. Jackson Memorial Lecture at Fordham. Welch, who evoked King's oratory, as well as the messages of Gandhi and Mother Teresa, roused a crowd of educators to their feet with her talk on Nov. 19. The Graduate School of Education sponsored the event.

Welch cited the lecture's namesake, Barbara L. Jackson, Ed.D. as the perfect example of "transcendent leadership." Jackson, who died last year, was a professor in the Division of Educational Leadership, Administration, and Policy from 1987 to 2008, as served as chair from 1997 to 2003. 

Though Welch's lecture on leadership was clearly steeped in research, the stirring content and cadenced delivery moved the crowd at the Corrigan Conference Center.

“Managers are people who do the right thing; leaders are people who do things right,” said Walch, who probed what transcendent leadership might look like and how it should be implemented.

She said that leaders are being scrutinized in unprecedented ways and that, nowadays, powerful people  move "with the caution of alley cats" instead of taking calculated risks. In education, she said that the shifting landscape makes leadership particularly complex.

She called on educators to adopt the path of "righteous extremism" that King espoused in Letter from Birmingham Jail some 50 years ago. Part of this path, she said, is to listen closely to the communities they serve; as King said, 
"We are caught in an escapable network of mutuality."

"The sense of a shared destiny must be up close, not detached by protocol," she said. "We must bring a sense of outrage."

Leaders must be visionary, yet practical enough to be revolutionary. She suggested that a "traveling leadership theory" needs to be steeped in research and center on the leader’s identity: elegant slogans and picturesque language are simply not efficient, and a leader must engage on an authentic and personal level.

"An inauthentic leader can’t lead," she said, adding there was "nothing inauthentic about Jesus, Gandhi, or Mother Teresa."

Two great downfalls of a leader are indecisiveness in times of crisis, and dead certainty at times of complexity. And healthy ego shouldn't be misconstrued as narcissism; leaders need to develop a positive self-regard, she said.

"Making mistakes is part of leadership, but the best leaders are vision centered," she said.

GSE is launching a new scholarship fund in her honor. This award will be given to a student who demonstrates financial need, academic merit, and is enrolled in a program in educational leadership at GSE with a preference given to a student with a strong interest in urban education. For more information contact Michelle Adams at
--Tom Stoelker

CSTEP Students Host Young Visitors on Rose Hill Campus

It’s never too early to think about college.

A group of kids from Hour Children, a nonprofit that supports incarcerated women and their children, got a taste of college life during a visit to Fordham’s Rose Hill campus last week. Ranging in age from 9 to 16, the kids shook things up in Fordham’s seismic station, ate lunch in the cafeteria, and even got a peek at a dorm room.

Acting as their hosts were eight students from Fordham’s chapter of CSTEP—the New York state-sponsored Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program for minority and economically disadvantaged students.
CSTEP students, Hour Children kids and staff, and President’s 
Council member George McCartney (back, left) in front of 
Duane Library on the Rose Hill campus. 

“They were terrific with the children,” said George McCartney, FCRH ’68, LAW ’74, a member of Fordham’s President’s Council and a longtime volunteer with the Long Island City-based Hour Children.

“And the director [of Fordham’s CSTEP, Michael Molina,] made a very important point. He said to them, ‘You belong here. This is not just a place you’re coming to look at.’”

Kiki Leonard, 15, a counselor-in-training at an Hour Children afterschool program, said her visit to Fordham was “a great experience.”

“I learned a lot from it,” she said, adding that she enjoyed hearing about the University’s extracurricular activities. The CSTEP students she met inspired her to apply to Fordham’s STEP program (CSTEP’s counterpart for high school and junior high students).

“I’ve wanted to be a doctor since I was in eighth grade,” she said. “A pediatrician. I love kids.”

Most of the young people from Hour Children had not had any exposure to higher education, said McCartney, former vice president and general counsel of Nippon Life Insurance Company of America, who arranged the visit.

“I thought it would be very good for them to see Fordham, to show them what was available to them if they did their work in school and applied themselves,” he said.

Breaking into small groups, the Fordham students talked to their eleven young visitors about college life, as well as the CSTEP and STEP programs. Both programs encourage minority students to pursue careers in healthcare, the sciences, technology, and licensed professions by offering internship opportunities, test prep, tutoring, and more.

At the William Spain Seismic Observatory, the kids jumped up and down to create their own “earthquake,” making the seismometer shift. They also received a mini lesson on radioactivity from Benjamin Crooker, Ph.D., associate professor of physics at Fordham, who runs the station, which has been recording the Earth’s rumblings from different locations on the Rose Hill campus since 1923.

“They really enjoyed the talk and they asked some terrific questions,” said McCartney, whose wife, Mary Jane McCartney, TMC ’69, sits on Fordham’s Science Council and serves with him on the President’s Council.

The visit also included stops in Hughes Hall, home of the Gabelli School of Business; the University Church; the William D. Walsh Family Library; the cafeteria in the McGinley Center; and Loschert Hall, where the kids got an up-close look at a student’s room.

“I think it really inspired them to be interested in higher education,” said McCartney, “and it was fun.”
—Nicole LaRosa

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Where I Was on November 22, 1963

"Fordham's Aries 1964 yearbook; a tribute to JFK
David Zelaya, UGE ’64, was in a theology class at Fordham’s 302 Broadway campus when he learned that President Kennedy had been shot. Fifty years later, after reading “The Kennedy Legacy,” an interview with Michael Latham, Ph.D., dean of Fordham College at Rose Hill, Zelaya composed the following reminiscence. “For me,” he wrote by way of introduction, “the names of the 35th president of the United States and that of my beloved alma mater will be forever linked.”

In the mid- to late 1950s, my parents, my sister, and I fell under the spell of the Kennedy family. Like legions of our coreligionists across the country, we were proud of the prominent, attractive Catholic couple: the charismatic John F. Kennedy, his charming wife, Jacquelyn, and their lovely children, Caroline and John-John. We were beguiled by the young senator’s winning personality, his erudition, his oratorical skills, and his war hero status. We followed his career as senator, published author, presidential candidate, and commander in chief, and we regularly watched his televised press conferences—many of which my sister taped on a reel-to-reel tape recorder. To this day, I can recite from memory lengthy snippets of his famous inaugural address.

True, in later years we would learn of the man’s flawed character, of his illnesses, of his reliance on steroids, painkillers, and stimulants, and of his often risky behavior. In our innocence, however, for the all-too-brief “Camelot” period, we basked in the sunshine of President Kennedy’s radiant smile. He was a hero to millions at home and abroad. 

I was a Fordham senior in the fall of 1963, and almost all of my classes were taken at 302 Broadway. That year, the renowned Father Ralph Tapia had designated me as the “beadle” of his theology class. One of my responsibilities in that capacity was to lead the class in prayer at the beginning of each session. So it was that just before 2 p.m. on Friday, November 22, 1963, I entered the classroom to find my distraught classmates nervously mulling over rumors that the president had been shot. It was the first I had heard of it. I mounted the podium and led the class in a Hail Mary “for a special intention.” Once the students were seated, an ashen, visibly shaken Father Tapia entered the room, said a few words to comfort us, informed us that he had no reliable information to pass along, and promptly dismissed the class. 

The subway ride home was an eerie experience. The car I was in was crowded but no one spoke. The only sounds to be heard were the screeching of the wheels and the squeaks of the cabin. Some people had glazed looks in their eyes while others were openly weeping. It was during the hour I spent on my way home that the president was officially declared dead.

Once home, I joined my disconsolate family. We embraced, tried to comfort each other and tried to hold back tears. Like millions of Americans, we were glued to the television for three consecutive days. As if the events of that awful Friday were not enough, we returned home from Mass on Sunday to learn—and to see videotape—of Jack Ruby walking up to Lee Harvey Oswald in a Dallas police station and shooting the president’s assassin in full view of police and other law enforcement personnel. That three-day period has been described by CBS' Face the Nation moderator Bob Schieffer as “the weekend we lost our innocence.” Others have declared that the events of that awful period marked the end of the 1950s and the beginning of the tumultuous ’60s.

It has become a truism that members of a rapidly diminishing generation remember where they were when Pearl Harbor was attacked in 1941. Most of us remember where we were when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. My contemporaries remember all too well exactly where we were when we learned of the assassination of President Kennedy. I was in theology class at my beloved Fordham University.

—David Zelaya, UGE ’64

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Event Puts Focus on Restoring Young Offenders to Society

Divine Pryor
At an event at the Lincoln Center campus, two men spoke with hard-won clarity about the early experiences that put them on the path to incarceration. The Rev. Divine Pryor, Ph.D., recalled that he struggled in class because he went to school hungry, but found himself labeled as having a learning disorder. Deon Richards was bullied as a child and later found the experience had wrought a frightening change in himself.

“I never thought I would actually become a bully from getting bullied,” he said.

The men were part of the Consultation on Restorative Justice and Youth Incarceration, convened on Nov. 18 to generate ideas for helping young offenders reclaim their lives and stay out of prison. The event was attended by judges, educators, university leaders, and representatives of churches, nonprofits and youth service agencies.

It was organized by a committee that included Cheryl Bader, clinical associate professor at Fordham Law School, and Anita Lightburn, Ed.D, director of the Beck Institutefor Religion and Poverty and a professor at Fordham’s Graduate School of Social Service.

One speaker—Robert McCrie, Ph.D., professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice—noted that incarceration rates in the United States have soared since 1973. “Why has that happened? Are Americans seven to 10 times more criminal than other countries?” he said. “No. It’s because of laws, and the laws within their hearts have come from Washington and then (been) replicated by the states.”

Peggy Shriver, co-director of the event and former assistant general secretary for research with the National Council of Churches, called for “better ways to lead our young people into healthier, more constructive lives, even after having done something destructive or harmful to themselves or to other people.

“If we bring together our individual insights, perhaps new mosaics of possibility will emerge.”

Pryor recalled growing up in a large family, saying there wasn’t always enough food for everyone. “It was difficult for you to pay attention in class if you were battling with your stomach,” he said. He was labeled early as disruptive, and a possible candidate for special education, he said, but added that he was a capable student who would have done better if given the right stimulation.

“When you’re not being properly stimulated, you do other things,” he said. After repeated detentions, and then expulsion, he said, “the streets welcomed me with open arms.”

He pursued an education in prison, and saw an extremely low recidivism rate among his cohort of fellow students. “If you really want to talk about what works, I can tell you, education works,” said Pryor, who is executive director of the Center for New Leadership on Urban Solutions, a think tank in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Alongside the bullying that left its mark on him, Deon Richards, a resident of the South Bronx, noted the lack of contact with his parents growing up. “I just started doing crazy things that I didn’t envision myself doing at that age,” he said. By age 14, he had been arrested eight times “because of things that I was trying to blame on my parents and blame on the streets.” 

After realizing he had to either “change or die,” he said, he turned his life around with help from the Center for Community Alternatives, based in New York City and Syracuse, N.Y. Through CCA he developed his passion for music, and also worked with youths facing troubles similar to those that he faced.

“I had an opportunity to actually help the young people like myself (who were) going through the same exact things,” he said.

Said Pryor: “Public safety is not exclusively a law enforcement endeavor. It’s about community cohesion and cooperation and respect, and how we look out for each other.”

--Chris Gosier

Monday, November 18, 2013

Fordham chemistry professor helps research Russian meteor

Frame grab of the meteorite contrail made from a video, on a highway from Kostanai, Kazakhstan, to Chelyabinsk region, Russia, Feb. 15, 2013. (Credit: asha gazeta/

Once again, a Fordham professor has played a part in important research about meteors.

Scientists have been studying data on the meteor that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, in February – the largest asteroid in more than a century to enter the earth’s atmosphere. Three studies published earlier this month suggest that such occurrences could be more frequent in the future. 

Jon M. Friedrich. 
Photo by Janet Sassi

Jon M. Friedrich, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry, was one of 57 researchers from nine countries present a comprehensive overview of what occurred that day in a report published on Nov. 6 by the journal Science. The report is lead by Dr. Olga Popova of the Institute for Dynamics of Geospheres of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow and by NASA Ames and SETI Institute meteor astronomer Dr. Peter Jenniskens, who participated in a fact finding mission to Chelyabinsk in the weeks after the fall. 

Fordham’s Chemistry lab examined the “shock history” of the rock before it entered the atmosphere.

“We were able to determine that it experienced an impact at some place before it impacted the earth,” Friedrich said. “It happened at some point in the past. These rocks haven’t changed much since they formed 4.5 billion years ago, but we were actually able to determine this by looking at the fabric of the rock. We were able to determine that it had been hit pretty hard in the past.”

Friedrich said the analysis conducted in his lab helped determine how meteorites entered the atmosphere, which, in turn, plays a pretty important role when it comes to understanding the extinction events and catastrophic events that could happen.

“The better we understand this, it allows us to figure out how to defend ourselves should it arise,” he said.

Earlier this year, Fordham’s chemistry lab analyzed the Sutter's Mill meteorite.

-Gina Vergel

Military Times Names Fordham a Top School for Veterans

Fordham University is once again among the top 25 schools in the nation for returning veterans, according to the “Best for Vets” rankings released by Military Times on Nov. 11.

Michael Gillan, Ph.D., associate vice-president and co-chair of FordhamVets Task Group, was in the middle of New York's Veterans Day Parade on a Fordham sponsored float when he got the news.

"What veterans share in common coming back from any conflict is that they want to get on with their lives," said Gillan. “They want to get on with being students."

He added that the University's commitment to the Yellow Ribbon GI Education Enhancement Program no doubt played a role. The program was an optional provision of the Post-9/11 GI Bill passed in 2009 and is considered the most comprehensive expansion of veteran education benefits since World War II.

Even though there is a national cap on the Yellow Ribbon benefits, the University has bypassed the limit and increased its Yellow Ribbon commitment to cover all tuition and fees for Post-9/11 veterans, he said.

"We are once again able to say 'Top 25,'" said Gillan. "Plus, this is the fourth consecutive year that Fordham is the #1-rated private school in the metropolitan region."

--Tom Stoelker

Friday, November 15, 2013

University to Install First Archbishop Demetrios Chair in Orthodox Theology and Culture

On Nov. 18, Fordham University will install Aristotle Papanikolaou, Ph.D., as the first Archbishop Demetrios Chair in Orthodox Theology and Culture during a special ceremony at the Rose Hill campus in the Bronx. It is the nation’s first university-endowed chair dedicated specifically to Orthodox Christianity.

“I’m deeply honored to be the inaugural holder of the Archbishop Demetrios Chair in Orthodox Theology and Culture, which rightly honors the remarkable legacy of my former professor at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, Archbishop Demetrios,” said Papanikolaou, a professor of theology and the senior fellow and co-founder of Fordham’s Orthodox Christian Studies Center.

“I am also deeply grateful to Mary and Michael Jaharis, who established this Chair with such grace and humility. The establishment of this Chair is an historic moment for the Orthodox Church and it will help carve out a new chapter in Orthodox-Catholic relations.”

Named for His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, the chair is the result of a $2 million gift from the Jaharis Family Foundation, which provides grants to arts, cultural, and religious institutions. The establishment of the chair marks a first for Orthodox studies nationally and ensures the discipline’s perpetuity at Fordham.

“This is the first chair in Orthodox theology at any university in the country,” said George Demacopoulos, Ph.D., professor of theology and co-founding director of the Orthodox Christian Studies Center. “This chair is in many ways one of the cornerstones of the center, so its holder will always be fully integrated with the work and mission of the Orthodox Christian Studies Center.”

Founded by Papanikolaou and Demacopoulos in 2007, the Orthodox Christian Studies Center is the first university-based site for Orthodox Christian Studies in the western hemisphere. Its mission is to foster intellectual inquiry and ecumenical dialogue by supporting scholarship and teaching critical to the ecclesial community, public discourse, and the promotion of Christian unity. Events include the annual Orthodoxy in America Lecture Series and the Patterson Triennial Conference in Orthodox/Catholic Relations, as well as a host of curricular, research, and outreach activities throughout the year pertaining to the study of Orthodox Christianity.

Last year, the Center received a prestigious challenge grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH), one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States. The $2 million endowment that will come from both the center and NEH in a three-to-one matching grant will fund the center’s Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence program and Dissertation Completion Fellowship program.

Fordham is the only university in the United States to offer an interdisciplinary minor in Orthodox Christian studies.

— Joanna Klimaski

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Investors, Investing in the Liberal Arts

Author Robert Hadstrom
What does literature have to do with value investing? What about biology? Or philosophy? Well, according to author Robert Hagstrom, it has quite a bit to do with it, as does physics, sociology, psychology, and all of the other humanities.

At a talk sponsored by the Gabelli Center for Global Investment Analysis on Nov.13, Hagstrom told students that an imaginative investor must look beyond the realm of the business world, as was the main thesis of his recently republished book, Investing: The Last Liberal Art (Columbia University Press, 2013).

Hagstrom, chief investment strategist and managing director at Legg Mason Investment Counsel, said that many of the liberal arts might seem like no-brainers when it comes to investing, in particular the "seductive science" of physics. He used Sir Isaac Newton's second law of action, which states that "for every action there is a second and opposite reaction," as the obvious example.

However, he said, a new school of thought is emerging, one that sees the markets' complex behaviors as more akin to biological science than the mathematical precision of physics.

"Markets are more complex," he said. "They learn to adapt."

As biological conceptions are more complex to comprehend, investors continue to rely on mechanical analogies, he said—although some economists are segueing into studying the markets as complex adaptive systems not unlike the human immune or neurological systems. And although there is plenty of resistance from the "old guard," investors will, increasingly, begin to adopt a biological interpretation of the market.

Moving on to philosophy, Hadstrom called philosopher Lutwig Wittegenstein "the philosophical father of investing." In particular he focused on Wittegenstein’s work in language, honing in on the phrase "the meaning of the word is its use in language."

He went on to explain how language used to describe Amazon in its early days clouded investors' perceptions of the company. Since Amazon started out selling books, many investors first compared the company to Barnes&Noble. As Amazon's inventory diversified, investors began to compare it to Wal-Mart.

But Hagstrom said the comparisons were not accurate. Brokers were concentrating on what the company sold--not on how it was organized. Amazon, he said, was much more like Dell Computers--the single best-performing stock of the 1990s.

When a customer ordered a Dell computer, Dell immediately collected the money and delivered the computer in five days. They didn't need to pay suppliers for another 30, 60, or 90 days—a system known as "negative working capital." Amazon did the same thing.

"Everybody had the same information from the SEC about Amazon, but groups of investors chose different words and those words had different descriptions, and those descriptions had different outcomes."

If the meaning of a word is its use in language, then the "meaning" of a company can be found in language as well.

While Hagstrom acknowledged the difficulty of looking at the market through a variety of academic or literary disciplines, he said doing so would give investors more to draw from when attempting to solve the market problems, and also give them a more enlightened view of the world. 

"Everybody watches CNBC and reads The Wall Street Journal," he said. "[But] you've got to think, 'Every now and then I'll read a detective book to solve problems, because maybe that'll make me a better analyst.'"

"People will notice that you think differently and that makes your more valuable to your company... and it makes you great a cocktail parties too."

--Tom Stoelker

Remembering Pedro Arrupe, S.J.

Today marks the 106th birthday of Pedro Arrupe, S.J. (1907–1991), the 28th Superior General of the Society of Jesus.

Born in in the Basque region of Spain, Father Arrupe is known for his work as a missionary in Japan during the mid-20th century. He was sent to the country in 1938, and in 1945 moved to Nagatsuka, just outside of Hiroshima, to become master of novices at a Japanese mission.

He was in Nagatsuka on Aug. 6, 1945, when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, annihilating the city. Having received medical training in Spain before becoming a Jesuit, Father Arrupe attended to as many of the wounded as he could. He and his colleagues gave shelter to 150 victims in their mission, offering food and medical treatment.

In 1965, while serving as Superior of the Japanese Province, Father Arrupe was elected Super General of the Society, a position he held until 1983. During this time, he helped guide the Jesuit community through Vatican II, a turbulent time for the Society. He emphasized a spirituality of engagement and the Jesuits’ obligation to address the needs of the poor, which resulted in the Society working in more hands-on ways with poor communities, especially in Latin America.

This same mission drives Jesuit education, he said, insofar as the “prime educational objective must be to form men and women for others.”

To read more about Father Arrupe, including his arrest and imprisonment shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, read the article by Loyola Press’s Ignatian Spirtuality page.
— Joanna Klimaski

Nothing is more practical than finding God,
than falling in Love in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination,
will affect everything.
It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning,
what you do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read,
whom you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in Love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.

— Pedro Arrupe, S.J.

Book Graffiti for the Renaissance

Some call it “doodling;” librarians might even brand it “defacing.”

But to historians, it’s “marginalia.”

On Nov. 12, reading historian Bill Sherman, Ph.D., professor of English at the University of York, delivered the fall Southwell Lecture on visual responses to texts, as expressed in the margins of more renowned Medieval and Renaissance publications.

He framed his talk through the words and works of Erasmus, the Dutch humanist, Renaissance philosopher, and Catholic priest, to illustrate the shifting relationship between reading and seeing in the 16th century, during the advent of printing. 

While Erasmus, it turned out, was a lousy doodler himself (and warned against profane use of religious imagery,) ironically his own image was widely reproduced in his time—through book drawings and doodles, on a coin, and most famously, in a painting (depicted here) by Hans Holbein the Younger. Some of Holbein's earliest surviving work, in fact, is itself marginalia--a set of some 80 drawings (one pictured above) in the margins of one of Erasmus's most famous books, In Praise of Folly.

Erasmus believed that the visual was part of the imagination, and that skillful illustration was a part of storytelling in print. While teaching at Oxford he was also said to have encouraged his students to mark, within the books they read, brilliant passages or maxims.

Manicules (Bembo)
Currently, said Sherman, generalizations about Renaissance marginalia are hard to come by, as “there are a lot out there still to be seen or discovered.” He shared his own enthusiasm for an early printed book, housed at Stanford University, of Pliny the Younger’s Letters in which Italian humanist Bernardo Bembo has added ostentatious pointing fingers (“manicules”) and staring eyeballs (“opticules”) to the margins to accentuate certain passages. He also showed slides from a 1481 copy of Dante’s Divine Comedy with 19 printed illustrations, but which also contained hundreds of visual marginalia by artists—including an “extraordinary map of hell.”

Marginalia, Sherman concluded, do not often compete with the beauty and craftsmanship of great medieval scribes and illuminators. However, they offer a sense of the new mode of interaction during the time, which draws on medieval models but which is also part of an emerging culture of print, as well as the rise of humanism and “commerce with the classics.”

“Even the crudest ones give us a sharper image of  the period eye,” he said. “Like great art, good marginalia have a peculiar power to deliver intimate glimpses of the Renaissance world. And this sense of intimacy is, in the end, the most striking feature in these visual modes of reading.

“[We’re being] allowed to look over the shoulders at the hands of long-dead people, and, with this material, it is beginning to feel as if we might be able to see through their eyes.”

The St. Robert Southwell, S.J., Lecture, given once in the spring and once in the fall, is administered by Susan Wabuda, Ph.D., associate professor of history (

--Janet Sassi

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

New GBA/PCS Program Gives US/UK Vets Headstart on Startups

Fordham ROTC at Commencement 2013.
Graduate School of Business Administration (GBA) Dean David Gautschi was on-site on Nov. 13 at McMahon Hall for the first info-session for the upcoming US/UK Veterans Entrepreneurship Program, in conjunction with the School of Professional and Continuing Studies.

Gripping a copy of the Financial Times with the headline "Fordham Lends US and UK Military Veterans an Entrepreneurial Hand," Gautschi, himself a military veteran, said the concept for the certificate program was hatched this past June over dinner with several military veterans, several Fordham alumni, and a representative faction from Britain. He added that the program is already creating a bit of buzz in the UK, where it will no doubt rally support in the form of a wintertime fundraiser before the official launch in spring 2014. 

With cohorts attending courses in New York and London, Gautschi explained that though the veterans will be indoctrinated into the contemporary context of business, they'll also explore critical thinking through the reading of literature and plays.

"The whole program is very motivated by the Jesuit approach," he said.

After four weeks of the basics, students begin a social immersion project where they work with a disadvantaged population through a non profit or NGO.

Gautschi said that while the social immersion aspect also exemplifies the Jesuit mission, it also holds practical implications for vets adjusting to civilian life, particularly for those who saw combat and witnessed human suffering.

"Coming back to the comfort of the UK or the U.S., vets have got to understand that the kinds of problems [they saw in battle] persist even here in our own society," he said. "Vets can apply a lot of their experiences, perspectives and even they're training to a disadvantaged population."

Finally, students get to what Gautschi called the "enterprise builder" part of the program.

"That's the guts of it," he said. "For about five months they work with their ideas to see if they can commercialize them and build a business around it."

Students will be coached by mentors through the GBA network, and GBA students will be drafted to take part. The vets will also get subject matter experts to help them "bone up areas they need help with."

Finally they get to stage four, which he called the forum, where vets practice presenting their business ideas to a forum of critics who challenge them. There they learn how to articulate elevator pitches. The last component allows students to pitch to an audience of prospective investors seeking to invest in veteran-related startups. 

"The whole concept of the university is that we want to learn from each other," said Gautschi. "Those veterans who are coming into this exercise are going to teach us as much as we teach them."

--Tom Stoelker

Fordham Panel to Scrutinize Government Spying

Glenn Greenwald
Photo via Wikipedia
Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who Edward Snowden turned to when he leaked documents about the National Security Agency's top-secret surveillance programs, will join a panel of experts on Thursday, Nov. 14 for a discussion at Fordham Law School titled "They're Watching Us: So What?"

For the discussion, which will be held from 7-8:30 p.m. at the McNally Amphitheatre, the Center on National Security has also lined up:

-Bruce Schneier, a cryptographer, computer security and privacy specialist, and author of Liars and Outliers: Enabling the Trust that Society Needs to Thrive (Wiley, 2012)

Chief among the issues they will be tasked with addressing is what we know—and don’t yet know—about how surveillance is reshaping our public and private lives. 

The panel will be moderated by Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director of PEN American Center, and will also try to answer questions such as:

What effect is the expansive American surveillance state having on us? 

Are the programs that Snowden revealed inhibiting the way we think, speak, and create, distorting social interactions, damaging individuals or communities? 

The discussion will be live-streamed at

For more information and to RSVP, visit, or e-mail 

—Patrick Verel

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Ignatian Week 2013 at Fordham

Tomorrow is the first day of Ignatian Week, an annual tradition that celebrates the Jesuit spirituality at the heart of Fordham.

Beginning Nov. 13 and continuing through Wednesday, Nov. 20, the Office of University Mission and Ministry and its partners will sponsor a series of discussions, meals, and prayer centered on the legacy of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, and the unique spirituality that characterizes the Jesuit Order.

“The Jesuits are renowned the world over for excellence in education, focusing on liberal arts, value-centered education of the whole person, and a commitment to lifelong learning, social justice, and service,” said Carol Gibney, associate director for campus ministry at Lincoln Center and director of Ignatian Programs.

“As a Jesuit institution, the University's principles are based on the 450-year old teaching traditions of St. Ignatius… The Ignatian Week events highlight our rich Ignatian heritage and what it means to be part of a Jesuit university.”

The festivities commence on the Rose Hill campus with “Law and Order: The Jesuit Factor,” presented by Msgr. Thomas J. Shelley, professor emeritus of theology. Msgr. Shelley will discuss the case of New York-based Jesuit Anthony Kohlmann—after whom Fordham’s Kohlmann Hall is named—who was integral to the landmark legal case about the Seal of the Confessional, which prohibits priests from disclosing information learned during the sacrament of penance.

Ignatian Week continues later that evening at the Lincoln Center campus with the fall McGinley Lecture, “To Be a Pilgrim: A Geography of Faith for Jews, Christians, and Muslims,” presented by Patrick J. Ryan, S.J., the Laurence J. McGinley Professor of Religion and Society.

Other upcoming events include:
  • A discussion and guided meditation with Zen roshi (“master”) and Jesuit priest Robert Kennedy, S.J.;
  • An outing at Pugsley’s with America Magazine editor-in-chief Matt Malone, S.J., who will discuss the recent interview with Pope Francis;
  • A trip to Washington, D.C., to participate in the Ignatian Family Teach-In, lobbying for issues of humane comprehensive immigration reform and raising minimum wage;
  • An interactive video conference with Catholic feminist theologians in Asia;
…and more!

To see a full list of Ignatian Week events, visit Campus Ministry’s website.

— Joanna Klimaski

Monday, November 11, 2013

Army Veteran Bobbie Scroggin is Fordham's Boxing Philosopher

Scroggin took classes at all three of Fordham's New York campuses to get her degree.
(Photo:Tom Stoelker)
Bobbie Scroggin, PCS '12, is a veteran, a boxer, a mom, and philosopher—though not necessarily in that order.

After Scroggin left the U.S. Army, she had a two children, a girl in 2006 and a boy in 2007. Two years later she accepted a full-time position as administrative assistant at U.S. Military Academy at West Point. She filled what little spare time she had coaching the academy's women's boxing team.

When asked how she managed it all, she claims she had a doppelganger.

Eventually, Scroggin realized that she needed to shift the focus back to herself and her family. She began taking classes at Fordham's School of Professional and Continuing Studies, and thus began an unexpected philosophical journey.

For Scroggin, Fordham offered a combination of location and well organized scheduling that allowed her to, in some cases, "knock out a whole class over five Saturday sessions." For a single mom of two, PCS's flexibility proved invaluable.

What she didn't expect, however, was that the core curriculum requirement of two theology courses and two philosophy courses would alter the course of her studies and change her manner of thinking. 

"I was like, 'Aww, do I really have to take philosophy?'" she recalled. "But in the end I was really glad, and now that's my major at Columbia."

Since graduating from PCS with a bachelor's degree in organizational leadership, Scroggin has gone on to pursue a master's degree in philosophy and education at Columbia University's Teachers College. She expects to graduate next year.

Given her experience living in Afghanistan, Germany, Hawaii, and her native California, Scroggin had a natural inclination to process events philosophically, but it wasn't  until she came to Fordham that she embraced it as a discipline. She said her studies have informed her dating life, her work life, and her life as a mom.

"I subconsciously teach my kids philosophy, logic, and reasoning," she said, joking that it has caused occasional discord.

"Now when my kids are arguing with me, they always ask me ‘Why?,’ or 'What if you did it this way?'"

She said that at West Point, her colleagues sometimes need to remind her that she's in the U.S. Army and the modus operandi there is to take orders.

"I always ask why, and my colleagues say, 'Come on, we're the Army--we just do!'"

--Tom Stoelker

Friday, November 8, 2013

Fordham Welcomes Jesuit Superior General to Campus

Adolfo Nicolás, S.J., Superior General of the Society of Jesus,
celebrates Mass in University Church at Fordham.
Photo courtesy the Society of Jesus' New York Province

Fordham welcomed a notable member of the worldwide Jesuit community to campus recently, when Adolfo Nicolás, S.J., Superior General of the Society of Jesus, made a stop during an official trip to the United States.

The visit was part of a two-week tour to meet with American Jesuits and Jesuit scholastics, visit Jesuit high schools, and speak with administrators of Jesuit colleges and universities. The trip was Father Nicolás’ second visit to the United States since being elected Superior General of the order in 2008.

While in New York, Father Nicolás met with Jesuits in formation, visited retired Jesuits at the Murray-Weigel Jesuit Community, and celebrated Mass with 150 Jesuits, lay directors, and staff from the New York province.

“Father Nicolás encouraged us to go deep in our prayer, work, and study, that this is what we can offer the church and the world,” said Thomas Scirghi, S.J., associate professor of theology and rector of the Jesuit Community at Spellman Hall.

“He is concerned that many Jesuits wear too many hats, spreading themselves too thin. The danger here is it keeps you on the surface and prevents you from plunging deeply into any one type of work.”

In addition to New York, Father Nicolás traveled to Boston, St. Louis, and Chicago. He concluded his trip with the presidents, administrators, and board members of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU), an organization that represents the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States.

At the gathering, Father Nicolás broached a topic that he said has not yet been fully confronted: the future of Jesuit schools in the face of changing demographics.

“In 1973, there were about 212 million Americans; today there are about 316 million. That means that if the number of Americans per Jesuit institutions of higher learning had been kept constant, there should be 42 AJCU institutions today,” Father Nicolás said. “And since 1973, the number of U.S. Jesuits has declined from 6,616 to 2,547. This means that if the total number of U.S. Jesuits per AJCU institution had been kept constant, there should be only 11 Jesuit colleges and universities today.

“Since the supply of Jesuits is increasingly limited while the demand for more Jesuits seems to always expand, it would seem that some changes are in order.”

These changes are already happening—for instance, a number of AJCU presidents are not Jesuits, and some are not Catholic. Such changes reflect the important role that the laity plays in the Society’s mission, Father Nicolás said; but it is crucial that the 28 AJCU institutions and the Society of Jesus ensure their relationship does not become “stretched so thin that it becomes impersonal and meaningless.”

“[I have no doubt] you are capable of undertaking bold challenges and that you are ready to do whatever is necessary to serve this important ministry that serves so many individuals, so many communities, to say nothing of the Lord and his church,” he said. “You have the talents and temperament, the head and heart, to do what needs to be done.”

For the full text of Father Nicolás' remarks to the AJCU, read the transcript in America Magazine.

Father Nicolás with David S. Ciancimino, S.J., provincial of
the Society of Jesus' New York Province,
and Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham.
Photo courtesy of the Society of Jesus' New York Province

— Joanna Klimaski

Thursday, November 7, 2013

VIDEO: Fordham Leaves

With midterms past the rhythm at Fordham Rose Hill returns; the comings and goings of students become as dependable as the University Church bell toll at noon.     

-video by Tom Stoelker

Fordham Professor Identifies New Dolphin Species

A humpback dolphin
Humpback dolphins plying the waters in four regions of Africa, India and Australia look very similar, but are in fact separate species, according to a new study released last month.

The findings were reported in the October issue of the journal of Molecular Ecology, in a paper titled "Integrating multiple lines of evidence to better understand the evolutionary divergence of humpback dolphins along their entire distribution range: a new dolphin species in Australian waters?" 

Sergios-Orestis Kolokotronis, Ph.D., assistant professor of biological sciences at Fordham, co-authored the study, which involved extracting 235 tissue samples and 180 skulls throughout the animals’ distribution, representing the biggest dataset assembled to date for the animals.

The goal of the study is to aid in the conservation of the dolphins (genus Sousa) by getting a better understanding of what makes them distinct. 

Each dolphin occupies a different section of ocean around the world, including in the Atlantic ocean off West Africa (Sousa teuszii), in the central to western Indo-Pacific ocean (Sousa plumbea), in the eastern Indian and western Pacific ocean (Sousa chinensis) and a new, as of yet named species off northern Australia.

Kolokotronis' study and his perspectives on what makes a species were featured in a recent article on the Smithsonian Magazine's blog

—Patrick Verel

GSS to Hold Memorial Lecture for Dean Emeritus

Bryan Samuels
James Dumpson, Ph.D
Tuesday marked one year since Fordham lost one of its most esteemed scholars, James R. Dumpson, Ph.D., a tireless advocate for the poor and a former dean of the Graduate School of Social Service (GSS).

Next week, GSS will host a memorial lecture to honor Dumpson, who died Nov. 5, 2012 at the age of 103.

James R. Dumpson Memorial Lecture
Tuesday, Nov. 12 | 4 p.m.
Corrigan Conference Center / 12th-Floor Lounge
Lincoln Center Campus | 113 West 60th Street, NYC 10023

The featured speaker will be Bryan Samuels, executive director of Chapin Hall Center for Children in Chicago and former commissioner of the Administration for Children, Youth, and Families. Samuels’s lecture will center on child welfare, a topic about which Dumpson was passionate.

The memorial lecture is part of an ongoing series associated with the James R. Dumpson Chair in Child Welfare Research, a position created in 1980 to honor Dumpson and utilize the University’s education and research resources to improve the quality of life for vulnerable children.

The chair, which is currently held by Brenda G. McGowan, D.S.W., evokes Dumpson’s commitment to children by focusing its teaching, research, and advocacy on New York City children most in danger of losing their rights or not enjoying an adequate quality of life.

A reception will follow the lecture. RSVP by emailing Priscilla Dyer, or call (212) 636-6623.

Dumpson began at Fordham in 1957 as a visiting associate professor in the Graduate Institute of Mission Studies. After leaving to serve as deputy commissioner in the Department of Welfare, he returned to Fordham in 1967 to take the helm at GSS, becoming the first African-American dean of a non-black school of social work.

To read more about Dumpson and see a timeline of his career highlights, click here.

Read Dumpson’s obituary in The New York Times here.

— Joanna Klimaski

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Faculty Spotlight 2013 Carves Space

Ross McLaren's "Into the Garden."
Video, architecture, and painting are relatable yet distinct disciplines. For the Ildiko Butler Gallery's annual faculty show, which opens Nov. 5, the media are threaded together as three distinct interpretations of space.

Within the limitations of the three-walled gallery, Faculty Spotlight 2013 doesn't attempt to create connections that aren't there. Instead three zones are neatly mapped out for participating faculty: William Conlon, Sandra McKee, and Ross McLaren. The viewers are left to make their own connections.

Conlon provides text that guides the viewer through his three paintings on display, albeit in an abstract manner. He writes that his influences range from the Hadron Collider, to Rothko, and YouTube. A portrait of the artist in front of graffiti hints yet another influence--think Matisse meets the South Bronx. The paintings are acrylic-on-archer-paper mounted on board. He describes the works as comparable to a funhouse mirror, "forcing you to see things in a different way."
McKee's origami chair models.

In the case of architect Sandra McKee, various built and proposed projects created with her partner Hiroki Yoshihara are accompanied by wall texts explaining the intentions in classic architectural language. As part of their research, McKee and Yoshihara experiment with origami, a kind of polar opposite to architect Frank Gehry's crumpled-paper explorations. Viewers can compare and contrast the firm's interlocking spaces to their folded "origami chair" models nearby.

Lastly, there is McLaren's "Into the Garden," in which the artist leaves interpretation entirely up to the viewer. There is no accompanying text. While McLaren's impressive biography reassures visitors of his credentials, he doesn't explain. His piece is simply a child's chair mounted onto a wall beside a large digital screen, projecting an image of a parrot and a reflected image of the chair. Is the video shot through glass that reflects the chair? Is the parrot added in postproduction?  The reality is amorphous, but the chair mounted on the wall attests to its reality.

As to the question of space, one is left grasping at the space between inspiration and the reality of the thing: the leap from Hadron Collider to acrylic painting; from experimental origami and split level architecture, and from a child's chair to it's digital reflection.

Conlon's "Saratoga."

The show runs through Jan. 17.

--Tom Stoelker