The Fordham Class of 2022 invited to transform and lead the world
“No one is an island. No one is alone. Everyone’s joy is my joy,” Reverend Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III, told the more than 16,000 people gathered at the Rose Hill campus to celebrate. the class of 2022.
That joy, along with some heartfelt goodbyes, was on display on Saturday, May 21, as Fordham celebrated its first full college launch since 2019. Graduates from Fordham’s nine schools filled Edwards Parade, along with families, friends, alumni and faculty.
Dr Butts, a longtime pastor of the historic Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, told the graduates that their education at Fordham is transformative – a “tool” to help them become leaders of great personality.
“And one of the great things about character is that it teaches us to nurture our love for beauty. It teaches us to endure to the end, it teaches us to be courteous to each other,” said Butts, who received an honorary doctorate in theology at the ceremony. “I don’t just mean to open a door and raise your hat, I mean to recognize that all men and women are brothers and sisters in this world.”
Dr. Butts asked students to think about what education should do.
“Education should improve your character, education should help you increase your knowledge, and education should help you earn a living,” he said. “What we have done in this great country is to turn the situation around. We place income and life at the top and character development at the bottom. Is it any wonder we have the struggles that we have? »
But he told the graduates they were examples of those who put character first and “represented hope for America. Dr Butts said that despite the challenges facing this country, their education was “the tool that will help you move our nation forward – backward, ever; forward, never.
“We need to keep making progress to make this country even bigger than it is. … You don’t have to be sick to get better, and we’re getting better every day thanks to the leadership of men like [Fordham president] Joe McShane, because of the leadership of men like [Fordham Board Chair] Bob Daleo, but mostly because of the talent that comes through in a place like Fordham University,” he said.
“Education and faith are the Tigris and Euphrates of our redemption, twin rivers at the source of our liberation,” Butts said.
He left graduates with an important message to use in future chapters.
“We are tomorrow. You are tomorrow,” he said. “And this degree from one of the greatest universities in the world gives you what you need to fight against the forces that would try to push us back.”
Joseph M. McShane, SJ, president of Fordham, acknowledged that the promotion has already faced some of those forces that Butts referred to, during their time here at Fordham, including the pandemic “which has turned your life upside down, a national account with the sin of racism, political polarization and disruption, the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” and more.
“Damn, after you’ve been through all of this, all you wanted today was a typical Fordham start, and yet I came off the script and told you I’m going to tell you about the burden of being a Fordham graduate. ,” said Father McShane, who was celebrating his last term as university president. “Support me. One last time.”
“What exactly is this burden? Nothing less than that: to transform and redeem the world,” he said.
While that may seem like too much, Father McShane told the graduates they were ready and uniquely positioned to take on this challenge.
“You are intelligent. You sparkle with talent. These talents allow you to shine, to dazzle, to amaze, to do good, immense good,” he told them. challenges that the world, and we, have set before you to expand your reach, broaden your horizons, and deepen your understanding of human enterprise. You have strong moral compasses. You have shown a deep and abiding desire to live a life of integrity and service. Therefore, I believe that you are well suited – perhaps even particularly well suited – to confront and transform the world.
Realize their dreams
For Geraldine Romy Riveros, the launch ceremony was the fulfillment of the life her parents dreamed of for her.
“I’m a first-generation (student) – my parents came to this country in their thirties,” said Romy Riveros, a graduate of Fordham College in Rose Hill. “They left their country because of terrorism and lack of education, so they came here so that I could have a better opportunity, so I feel like I’m the one achieving everything they dreamed of , taking advantage of all the opportunities that have been given to me.”
Romy Riveros took advantage of as many opportunities as she could at Fordham, becoming a double major in International Political Economy and Spanish Language and Literature and a double minor in Humanitarian Studies and Women, Gender and Gender Studies. sexuality, and currently works at Amazon. as a marketer.
Jonathan JM Haynes, a graduate of the Gabelli School of Business and majoring in finance, moves to San Francisco to work at JPMorgan Chase & Co after graduation. His initial goals when he joined Fordham changed slightly.
“I came here to play football, played for a month, quit after that, then stayed for business school,” he said.
Haynes said he was grateful to his mother and family for his college experience.
“Everyone in my family made this possible,” he said. “We always say it takes a village, and that rings true. It takes a village to get there.
For Leslie Abreu, a 2022 graduate of Fordham College in Rose Hill who is following the five-year accelerated master’s degree program at the Graduate School of Education, her childhood in the Dominican Republic inspired her to pursue a career in education. .
“I would always go to the teachers in the morning with the little kids, and just help them out,” she said. “I feel like I wore that here. It was natural for me to be an educator. »
Abreu said she was pursuing certification in bilingual education from grades one through six.
Put their education into action
Ernesto Cordero, pastor of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, earned his doctorate in ministry from the Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education.
“It really helped me in the practice of my ministry. It helps me in the way of serving my people,” he said.
Caroline Sullivan, who earned her master’s degree in education, taught her student during the pandemic in a preschool classroom at Dwight School in Manhattan.
“It’s definitely been tough teaching during the pandemic, but I honestly think it’s given me the tools to be flexible and teach in any type of environment,” she said.
Sullivan said she was grateful to her teachers at Fordham, especially her advisor Marilyn Bisberg, for helping her through these uncertain times.
“She helped me a lot and taught me a lot about education,” she says.
A return to some normality
Maggie Franzeb, Sarah Hickey and Francesca Seeman, graduates of Fordham College at Lincoln Center, recalled how they became friends while waiting to cross the stage. Franzeb, from Rumson, New Jersey, and Hickey, from Bay Shore, New York, met during the pandemic when they were both taking an online course called Kant’s Philosophy.
“We were all on Zoom, and we were in another class the next semester,” Hickey said.
“I said we were to meet, and we ended up meeting in person. It was so much fun. I love telling the story, because everyone’s like, ‘That’s awesome, you guys. made friends through Zoom University.”
For Fordham College of Rose Hill graduates Steven Ruggiero and Alexander Di Fiore, their favorite Fordham memories were that past year, which felt like some semblance of normality after two pandemic-filled school years.
“We’re roommates, and I think just being with your friends and coming back with your friends after a breakup was really special because for a while we didn’t know if we were going to come back at all,” Ruggiero mentioned. “It was all so uncertain, but coming back to some sense of normalcy was so special that we had this time.”
Including the students who received their degrees today, Father McShane awarded about 75,000 degrees during his 19 years as university president, according to board chairman Bob Daleo.
Daleo announced that the board voted unanimously to elect Father McShane President Emeritus “in recognition of his transformational leadership and outstanding stewardship of our beloved university.”
“I hope you will join me now, stand up, applaud him as we send him off with deep gratitude and wish him well as he embarks on his next great chapter,” Daleo said. thunderous applause and a standing ovation from the thousands in attendance.
The ceremony was also the last for Donna Rapaccioli, Ph.D., as dean of the Gabelli School of Business. For more than 15 years, Rapaccioli was Dean of Business Education at Fordham, helping to expand undergraduate and graduate programs, including the addition of a doctoral program. Rapaccioli has served as Dean of the Gabelli Unified Undergraduate and Graduate Schools since 2015.
In addition to Butts, Fordham conferred honorary doctorates on seven other notable figures: Cardinal Wilton Gregory, Archbishop of Washington; Bill Baccaglini, former CEO of the New York Foundling; Kim Bepler, philanthropist and trustee; Rosamond Blanchet, RSCM, MC ’62, sector leader and former Superior General of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary; Mandell Crawley, GABELLI ’09, Managing Director and Chief Human Resources Officer at Morgan Stanley; Patrick J. Foye, FCRH ’78, LAW ’81, former chairman and CEO of the Metropolitan Transit Authority; and Laura Taylor Swain, Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Additional reporting by Patrick Verel, Adam Kaufman and Sierra McCleary-Harris.