Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York  


University Installs 32nd President

More than 1,700 religious and government leaders, faculty, students and friends of Fordham University crowded into the Gymnasium at Rose Hill on Friday, Oct. 24, to celebrate the installation of the University’s 32nd president, Joseph M. McShane, S.J.

“We gather today not to celebrate a person. Far from it,” said Father McShane, who assumed the presidency on July 1. “We gather in solemn convocation to celebrate Fordham: its history, its accomplishments, its most treasured traditions, its heroic figures and its prospects for the future.”

The celebration also recognized the University’s partner in education, its laboratory and its classroom: the city of New York, which Father McShane described as a city of hope, glory, dreams and, sometimes, despair. In its Jesuit tradition, Fordham has graduated men and women with conscience, compassion and commitment to the cause of the human family, said Father McShane, who pledged to continue this tradition.

“We will dedicate all of our energies to the necessary work of educating—in this capital of the world—a new generation of citizens whose lives will be marked with the ethical rigor, the restless generosity of heart and the commitment to discerning, critical civic engagement that have always been hallmarks of Fordham graduates who will transform our city and world,” he said.

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg was among the dignitaries to welcome and congratulate Father McShane. He commended the University for producing so many graduates who devote their lives to public service, citing several high-level members of his own administration who are Fordham graduates.

“It’s actually a Fordham homecoming every day at City Hall,” Bloomberg said, amid applause from the audience. “Fordham really is a gift to the city, and I am sure that Father McShane will build on this great legacy.”

Fordham awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters to Vartan Gregorian, Ph.D., president of Carnegie Corporation of New York, for his philanthropic pursuits in advancing scholarship and knowledge. In his keynote address, Gregorian thanked Father McShane for “responding to the great calling” as an educator in the Jesuit tradition.

“Making a difference in people’s lives is ... the organizing principle of [the Jesuits’] educational system,” said Gregorian, who is also a former president of Brown University. In conclusion, he said, “Although Jesuit education is 458 years old, I believe on this day...that Jesuit education remains what it has always been, timeless, contemporary, dynamic, on the cutting edge.”

In a ceremonial passing of the torch, the Rev. Joseph A. O’Hare, S.J., president emeritus of Fordham University, presented Father McShane with the University’s mace. Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J., Fordham’s Laurence J. McGinley Professor of Religion and Society, delivered the benediction.

Father McShane concluded his address by settling an old debt to the Nether Dutch Reformed Church in New York City and renewing a promise. Back in 1733, the first lord of Rose Hill Manor, where the University now sits, agreed to pay two shillings and six pence or one half bushel of wheat in rent to the church, which owned the land. Needless to say, this “rent” has not been paid in some time.

“Therefore, on this day of transition, when the University reflects on both its history and its prospects for the future, I would like to make amends,” said Father McShane, handing over a pouch of English shillings as a symbolic gesture to J. Thomas Liddle Jr., chairman of the Collegiate Church Consistory.

Father McShane presented Liddle and James Forbes Jr., the senior minister of the Riverside Church, with monetary and food donations collected at the University Church, as a sign of the University’s continued partnership with other local ministries that tend to New York City’s poor. With the blessing of Liddle and Forbes, the food was donated to Part of the Solution (P.O.T.S.), a soup kitchen and shelter that Fordham has supported for more than 25 years.

For Father McShane, 53, this marks a return to Fordham, where he served as dean of Fordham College from 1992 to 1998. Prior to his Fordham presidency, Father McShane served as president of the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania. A native of New York City, he joined the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) in 1967 and was ordained a priest in 1977.

— Michele Snipe

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Joseph M. McShane, S.J., followed a procession of 516 faculty members, administrators, trustees, alumni, students and delegates from colleges and universities, learned societies, organizations and associations into the gym for the installation ceremony.

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Address by Vartan Gregorian

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Greetings from the Mayor
of the City of New York,
Michael R. Bloomberg

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Greetings from the
Federal Government

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Greetings from the Governor

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Greetings from the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities

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Greetings from the Faculty

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Greetings from the
Administration and Staff

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Greetings from the Alumni

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Greetings from the Student Body

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