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Fordham College at Rose Hill Celebrates Campaign Progress


Fordham College at Rose Hill
Celebrates Campaign Progress

His Eminence Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, Ph.D. (FCRH ’54), archbishop emeritus of Washington, D.C.

Photo by Chris Taggart

By Patrick Verel

With $22 million of a $25 million goal already achieved, Fordham College at Rose Hill publicly joined the University’s comprehensive fundraising campaign on May 12.

His Eminence Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, Ph.D. (FCRH ’54), archbishop emeritus of Washington, D.C., was the featured speaker at the kickoff dinner, which was held in Duane Library. He remarked that much could be learned from the line in Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera H.M.S. Pinafore, “Things are seldom what they seem.”

“Our world is filled with a lot of that. People masquerade as things that they’re not. Companies sometimes masquerade as big things they’re not, and universities sometimes try to masquerade as things that they’re not. But I’m here to testify—this is the real thing here,” he said.

Cardinal McCarrick joked that it seemed like 175 years ago that he attended Fordham College, as it was known. Although he confessed that he had long ago forgotten the Greek he was taught, much of the learning he received was still with him.

“I learned what truth is, and how important it is to search for truth; how important it is not to be afraid of the truth; how important it is to keep seeking—to keep trying to work something out with the ethics and principles that are important for our society,” he said.

With the college’s $25 million portion of Excelsior | Ever Upward | The Campaign for Fordham within reach, the cardinal challenged the attendees to surpass it.

“Fordham is not perfect, but Fordham knows where it’s going. It’s known that for 150 years, and it’s not afraid to go there. It’s not afraid to continue on the road that it has decided to walk, and that is the road of strong, principled, Catholic, Jesuit education that has been tried for more than 500 years and hasn’t been found wanting,” Cardinal McCarrick said. “It’s still the best way to prepare leaders for our country and our church and our world.”

Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham, called the cardinal the most extraordinary, compassionate, wisest hierarch of the church in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. He noted that Fordham College at Rose Hill, for which he served as dean from 1992 to 1998, is important for the University and himself personally, as his father was a student there in 1929, when it was still known as St. John’s College.

“Fordham College was the school that transformed my father, as the first member of our family to go to college,” he said.

“For him and for my family, the college was a transforming instance in life. So my brothers and I were always brought up to revere the college, and to see the college not as an institution, but rather as an instrument of grace to transform lives and then enhance lives,” Father McShane said.

Michael E. Latham, Ph.D., dean of the college, likewise touted the transformative aspects of the liberal arts undergraduate education provided at Rose Hill. He identified three key areas on which the college is focusing:

• advancement of the sciences;

• international education; and

• undergraduate research.

Recent successes include the winning of a Truman Scholarship by Abraham Mercado, a Fordham College at Rose Hill junior, as well as high acceptance rates for medical schools (88 percent compared to 45 percent nationally) and law schools (90 percent compared to 70 percent nationally).

“Fordham College at Rose Hill is a school at which students discover their intellectual gifts and realize their real and true potential,” Latham said. “We give students the opportunity to discover where their passions lie; we give them the opportunity to discover abilities and talents that perhaps they didn’t know they possess.

“The Jesuit tradition of cura personalis—caring for the whole student—is alive and well at Fordham College at Rose Hill, and that allows us to have these tremendous successes,” he said.

Earlier that evening, attendees met two students who exemplify the success of the college. Julianne Troiano, a chemistry major and May graduate who studied meteorites with Jon Friedrich, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemistry, described how working in his lab taught her to become a research scientist.

“Not only did I learn presentation skills and laboratory skills, I also developed writing skills and have been part of writing a manuscript from start to finish,” Troiano said.

“Next year I’ll be attending Northwestern University for a chemistry Ph.D. program, and this summer I’ll be starting research with one of the professors there, so I know that I’m well prepared because of my time here at Fordham.”

Brian Heise, a May graduate who came to Fordham from Van Buren, Mo., a town of 845 people, described his move to the Bronx as a classic culture shock. But because he developed an interest in Japan as a result of the core curriculum, he studied in Tokyo for a semester.

Like the Bronx, it was a shock, but he came to love the region so much that he applied for—and recently received—a Fulbright scholarship to teach English in South Korea.

“We live in an increasingly pluralistic world,” Heise said. “New York taught me that, and it also taught me how to relate to people from other countries who come to America,” he said.

“Japan taught me the difficulties of being an outsider, of how hard it is to be in a country where you don’t speak the language, of not being understood and not being able to understand. I’ve become a better person because of that.”


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