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Development Update


Former Athlete Makes Pledge to Fordham Football

He wasn’t even supposed to go to Fordham. In 1980, a promising high-school athlete named Charles Spinelli received football scholarship offers from six schools and planned to attend Boston University. Shortly before graduation, however, his high-school coach transferred schools and, somehow during the transition, Spinelli’s letter of intent to B.U. was lost. As luck would have it, a friend of Spinelli’s who had been accepted to Fordham persuaded him to apply to the University. “And that twist of fate,” said Spinelli (FCO ’85, LAW ’89), “changed my entire life.”

Spinelli’s experience at Fordham was so positive that he and his wife, Maria Denti (FCO ’85), made a Presidential Cabinet-level pledge to the Fordham football fund. The gift will assist in recruiting top-notch players and supporting the winning program. “We are convinced that who we are and what we have today are certainly a result of our Fordham experience, and we want to extend that opportunity to other people,” said Spinelli.

Spinelli certainly capitalized on many opportunities during his college days. After playing center for the Rams for four years and serving as captain of the team for two, Spinelli received his bachelor’s degree in computer science in 1985, and he went on to graduate from Fordham Law School in 1989. “I realized that I didn’t graduate from Fordham, but rather I graduated with Fordham,” said Spinelli. “Maria and I met the very first week of undergraduate classes. From our marriage ceremony in the Blue Chapel at Keating Hall through 18 years, three daughters and two dogs thereafter, we are Fordham!”

The Spinellis have truly become a Fordham family throughout the years, setting deep roots in the University community.

“Our connection to Fordham has manifested itself through integral parts of our lives,” said Spinelli, whose oldest daughter, Linda, is applying for admission to Fordham’s class of 2008. “From raising our kids as educated Catholics, serving as godparents and a best man for fellow alumni, hiring Fordham graduates and following a faith-based, ethical lifestyle, Fordham has helped shape our lives.”

Today, Spinelli is the CEO of Brentwood Capital Corp., a private merchant bank specializing in financial and strategic services for emerging businesses. He credits Fordham with helping to build his values-centered approach to business and to life in general.

“Playing on a team helps give you a sense of commitment and perseverance,” he said. “I learned what it takes to win and how to learn from my losses.”

Clearly, he also learned the value of giving back. “My first volunteering experience was with Fordham, where I tutored Vietnamese immigrants at a local parish. It was my first experience in helping those in our community who are less fortunate, and I continue to volunteer in my community today.”

— Andrea Marais

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