Fordham Notes

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Easter Bunny Visits Rose Hill

The Easter bunny came a little early this year to Fordham's Rose Hill campus, as the Fordham University Association held its annual Easter Egg hunt on Saturday, April 12 at O'Keefe Commons.

In addition to the traditional hunt for eggs on the lawn, the morning's festivities featured magician John Turdo, who performed tricks and pulled a certain floppy-eared mammal out of a hat for an audience of 118 children of Fordham staff and faculty. And as she does every year, former Fordham board member Georgi Arendacs did her part by donning a bunny costume and showing the University's littlest Rams how to hop down the path to an egg-cellent time.

Photos by Jill LeVine

Organizers, from right: Fordham University Association president Grant 
Grastorf, Marilyn Force, Peter Stults (behind Marilyn), Carol Murabito, 
Alan Force, Stacey Vasquez, Georgi Arendacs (Easter Bunny), 
Michelle Tomlinson, Gabe Bonilla, Roxanne Bonilla and Lester Daniels

—Patrick Verel

Monday, April 14, 2014

Media spotlight: Fordham professors discuss Jesus’ wife, gender pay gap on TV

Michael Peppard, Ph.D., assistant professor of theology at Fordham, got to flex his Coptic papyrologist expertise on national television this past weekend in an interview about on PBSNewsHour Weekend.

Michael Peppard on PBS NewsHour Weekend.

The segment, which aired on April 13, centered around a faded fragment of papyrus known as the “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife.” Unveiled by a Harvard Divinity School historian in 2012, it was then tested by scientists who concluded in an April 10 journal article that the ink and papyrus are very likely ancient, and not a modern forgery.

Peppard told host Hari Sreenivasan that scholars, such as himself, that study early Christianity are “still kind of in this middle ground of mysteriousness about the text.

“That being said, some of the critics on the forgery side argue that there is bad grammar, that there are other indicators, bad penmanship and that kind of stuff. But papyrologists — that is nerds like us that study ancient papyri — we see bad handwriting all the time. The apostle Paul himself in the New Testament talks about his bad handwriting. So handwriting it’s a techne in Greek, it’s a skill, it’s acquired.”

Sreenivasan also asked Peppard what the religious ramifications are if Jesus did have a wife. 

“… this papyrus gives us another window into what were some live debates in early Christianity. Debates such as: is procreation a vehicle for holiness or is celibacy — voluntary celibacy– a vehicle for holiness. A second debate that it clearly was engaging was the worthiness of women as disciples, especially Mary the mother and Mary Magdalen, two of the main figures that were discussed,” Peppard said.

Watch the whole interview here via PBS NewsHour's website.

Fordham’s Christina Greer was also on television over the weekend. An assistant professor of political science, Greer joined a panel at MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry Show on April 12 to discuss a variety of topics, including the politics of the gender pay gap.

Christina Greer on MSNBC
In this segment, Greer says historical context should always be taken into consideration in the debate over equal pay.

“We constantly throw around that .77-to-a-dollar [figure], but we do also know that there is a very real racial divide within this. If white women are making .77 on the dollar, we know that black and Latina women are making much less than that,” she said.

Greer also discussed the downside of the bickering between the GOP and Democrats on such debates, and how there isn’t going to be a magic bullet to solve inequality.

Watch the whole episode here via the Melissa Harris-Perry Show website.
-- Gina Vergel

Friday, April 11, 2014

Nobel Prize Winner Amartya Sen to Speak at Rose Hill

Amartya Sen
Just before Easter break, the University will host the Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen, Ph.D., the Thomas W. Lamont University Professor of Economics and Philosophy at Harvard University. Sen will deliver a lecture titled, "Why Do We Tolerate Poverty in a Rich World?"

Sen is particularly noted for his work on poverty, gender inequality, AIDS, and Indian history. He was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1998 for his work in welfare economics.

The talk will take place on Wednesday, April 16 at 3 p.m. at the Flom Auditorium in the Walsh Library.

As part of the Nobel Lecture Series, Sen's visit is sponsored by the Department of Economics and Dominick Salvatore, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Economics and the director of of the doctoral program.

--Tom Stoelker

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Panel to Discuss Bill DeBlasio's First 100 Days as Mayor of New York City

Photo via Agence France-Presse

Thursday, April 10, marked 100 days in office for New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio. How has he done as the top executive of the Big Apple?

via NY Daily News
Fordham political expert, Christina Greer, assistant professor of political science, gave him a grade of “B+” in the New York Daily News “report card” on the mayor's tenure thus far.

His strengths? “Attempting to be inclusive of all New Yorkers,” Greer said. Weaknesses? “Tardiness. I don’t let my students come in late; there’s a fine line between busy and disorganized.”

Greer was also interviewed for an article in Metro New York newspaper, in which political observers noted “the mayor still faces significant hurdles in the days ahead.

“He’s getting his footing,” Greer said. “That’s not easy after a 12-year reign of an individual that had a certain control over people.”

But the discussion on DeBlasio’s performance doesn’t end there. The Fordham community is invited to further analysis at a talk about “Bill de Blasio’s First 100 Days as Mayor of New York City” on Monday, April 14, at the Lincoln Center campus.

Karine Jean-Pierre, former senior campaign advisor and strategist for the Bill Thompson and Letitia James Campaigns; Ben Max, editor-in-chief of Gotham Gazette; Emily Ngo, political reporter at Newsday, and Morgan Pehme, editor-in-chief of City & State, will discuss the mayor’s performance on Monday, April 14, at 4 p.m.

This panel discussion, which will take place in the South Lounge in Lowenstein Center, will be moderated by Christina Greer, and is sponsored by the Deans of Fordham University. The talk is open to the public.

-Gina Vergel

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

University Press Editor Remembered by Friends and Family

In times of grief, words sometimes fail us.

Such was the case with French philosopher and author Jean-Luc Nancy, upon hearing of Helen Tartar’s untimely March 3rd death: “I have no words, no voice,” he wrote to Tartar’s husband, Bud Bynack. 

But where words might fail at capturing the life of Tartar, there are plenty of books: In her lifetime, the editorial director at Fordham University Press (FUP) helped shape and publish more than 600 scholarly books—many of which were on display in a rotating slideshow at a memorial held on April 8 at Fordham.

The event attracted 100 of Tartar’s authors, associates, family, friends, and fans, as her formative talent as an editor and her dedication as a mentor was recalled through emails, anecdotes, poetry, and passages from her own speeches. Tartar was killed suddenly in an automobile accident in Colorado on March 3rd. 

Co-worker Fred Nachbaur, director of FUP, described Tartar as one of those individuals who “add more light to the world than they take from it.” Nachbaur read several emails that he’d received from colleagues, upon hearing of Tartar’s death, in which she was recalled a person who took intellectual risks, who had a strong and nurturing influence on new writers, and whose sublime spirit understood well the humane priorities of life.

She was also someone, he said, that would have loved the act of friends remembering her through words.

“When I think of Helen, I think of words,” said Nachbaur, who was wearing a scarf that Tartar—an avid knitter—had presented him on a recent campus snow day. “Helen loved words so much that she found it difficult to end a conversation.” 

She also loved the printed book, he said, so much that she “bridled” at the suggestion of an e-book “but she also understood there was a market for it.”

Bynack, Tartar’s husband of 41 years, described Tartar’s upbringing in rural Oysterville, Washington, recalling the influence of her parents (her mother was one of the first female Naval officers in WW II; her father was a research biologist and university professor.) At age 18, he said, she grabbed the “first train smoking out of town” and landed at Swarthmore College, which nurtured her intellectual appetite. After earning two master’s degrees at Yale, she found success in academic publishing—first at Stanford and then Fordham. 

“She was the best-educated person I’ve ever met,” he said.

After a controversial departure from Stanford, Tartar found Fordham to be a “sanctuary” where the University’s mission and her vision for a press found a rich meeting of the minds.

“Her life was scholarly publishing; it’s what she lived for, he said. “Fordham gave it back to her.”

Fordham Provost Stephen Freedman called her “a star, a luminary in the field of academic publishing” and someone who was instrumental in raising FUP’s national and international profile. 

Author and philosopher Judith Butler, Fordham English professor Christopher GoGwlit, poet and author Kyoo Lee, and FUP co-worker Tom Lay also gave remarks at the memorial.

All the while a silent screen of images of rotating book covers offered a visual testimonial beyond words. 

“She was working for us,” summed up Butler, who had attended Yale with Tartar and who published her books with Tartar. “She gathers us, and gathers us still, and it is only now we realize how many of us there are.”

Fordham has established the Helen Tartar Memorial Fund, c/o Fordham University Development and University Relations, 888 Seventh Avenue, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10019.

 -- Janet Sassi

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Gabelli School to Hold Sports Symposium

If you want to play sports professionally, joining a team is the first step. But what if you just want to actually help run the team? 

The Gabelli School of Business' second annual Fordham Business Sports Symposium will help answer that kind of question next week by bringing legal counsel and senior executives from national sports associations, leagues and the media together at Rose Hill.

Thursday, April 10
4 p.m. – 9:15 p.m.
Hughes Hall Room 208, Rose Hill campus

The conference is sponsored by the Gabelli Business of Sports Society and the Sports Business Program.

This year's preliminary list of speakers includes:

Andrew Arcangel, founder and CEO, True Athelite
Michael Brady, senior coordinator, Identity Assurance, National Basketball Association
Adrian Burke, president, Business of Sports Society
Kevin Clancy, NYC blogger, Barstool Sports
Mark Conrad, director, Gabelli School of Business Sports Business Program
Curt Clausen, Esq., Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and U.S. Olympic team member, race walking (1996, 2000, 2004)
Laura Gentile, vice president and founder, ESPNW
Anthony Iliakostas, Fordham 2011 graduate and current JD candidate, New York Law School and founder, “Law and Batting Order”
Francis Petit, professor, Fordham’s Gabelli School of Business
Jill Pilgrim, Esq., Pilgrim & Associates, Miami, Florida and New York
Tom Richardson, founder, Talent League
David Roach, director of intercollegiate athletics, Fordham University
Bill Squadron, president, Bloomberg Sports
Max Tcheyan, start-up consultant

Keith Wachtel, executive vice president, global partnerships, National Hockey League

For more information and a schedule of talks, visit the Gabelli School of Business website

—Patrick Verel

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Theology Student Wins Prestigious Lilly Fellowship

Jennifer Illig
Contributed photo
For her theology dissertation, Fordham doctoral candidate Jennifer Illig's research took her all the way back to 14th-century England to study the sermons of John Wycliffe, who was branded a heretic. 

And now that she has earned her degree, Illig, a native of Long Island who also earned her master's at Rose Hill, will strike out for the plains of the Midwest.

Illig was awarded one of three prestigious Lilly Fellowships in Humanities, and will teach and do research for two years at Valparaiso University, a Lutheran university in northern Indiana.

J. Patrick Hornbeck II, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of the theology department and Illig's mentor, said the Lilly fellowship gives space to young scholars who want a career that blends academic success and rigor with commitment to faith and spirituality.

“The great thing about this is its mentorship not just in ones’ own career field, but it’s also mentorship in a particular way of doing higher education,” he said. 

“In the Jesuit world, that’s about things like cura personalis."

For Illig, who earned her undergraduate degree at Malloy College in Rockville Centre, N.Y., it’s a big leap geographically, as it’ll be her first foray out of New York State. At the same time, she said the eight years she’s spent at Fordham have given her a lot of experience with faith in an academic setting.

“My faith is very important to me, and it’s very important to bring that out in my teaching, as well as to reflect on how that influences the work that I do as a theologian and a scholar of medieval history and medieval theology,” she said.

The fellowship will consist of teaching two classes at Valparaiso, including a high level seminar class on dissent and heresy in the early church, for which she’ll be able to rely on her dissertation “Through a Lens of Likeness: Reading English Wycliffite Sermons in Light of Contemporary Sermon Texts.”

She’ll also have time to develop of a database of the 269 sermons that Wycliffe delivered and that have thus far only been studied for their non-orthodox theological content. In fact, Illig discovered that the aspects of Wycliffe’s sermons that challenged the concept of Transubstantiation and Papal authority, were not the dominant content. For the most part, they lay out a program for how the hearers of the sermons can live a better and more authentic Christian life. 

“As a sort of methodological move, Jennifer is saying that when we look at materials that have been looked at traditionally as heterodox or heretical, that there’s actually much more to them than just the particular places where they deny established doctrine,” Hornbeck said.

Illig will join Franklin Harkins, Ph.D., an associate professor of theology, as Fordham’s second Lilly fellow, although she’ll always be the University’s lone "home grown" one though. Harkins, who came to Fordham in 2007, studied at Valparaiso upon graduation from Notre Dame. As chance would have it, he was one of Illig’s readers, along with Jocelyn Wogan-Browne, Ph.D., professor and Mullarkey Chair in the Department of English.
—Patrick Verel

Our Students in Havana

From March 14 to March 22, 19 Fordham undergraduates (pictured above) joined art history professor Barbara Mundy and anthropology professor O. Hugo Benavides, for a weeklong course in Cuba through the Department of Latin American and Latino Studies. 

Above, the students are at the Escuelas Nacionales de Arte. From left, they are: Kedwien Valdez, Manuela Rodriguez, Jeandery Suarez, Yani Pena, Alessandro Monetti, Patryk Tomaszewski, Kristine Mijatovich, Allison Pfingst (seated), Amalia Vavala, Sean Coari, Vince Favetta, Pasquale Gianni, Tim Bouffard, James Lassen, Qinrui Hua, Dezsi Desmond, Echo Zhou, Allie Burns, Lauren Kawulicz. The sculpture behind them spells out the word EXILE, which Mundy calls "an appropriate reminder of the complex cultural, linguistic, historical and political moments that Cubans--like so many other Americans in the continent--are living on both sides of the border."

Photo: Allison Pfingst
The weeklong course focused on art, architecture, and life in both pre-Revolution Cuba and now. Casa de las Americas, Cuba's premiere cultural institution, was Fordham's partner in organizing the course. Through the Casa, they were exposed to contemporary Cuban cinema and music. The trip also took them to Havana's Museo de Bellas Artes, where they saw the surrealist-and-santería inspired paintings of Wilfredo Lam and discussed work by contemporary artists as well.

A simple walk in the streets brought students face-to-face with Havana's urban architecture, much of which dates from before 1960.

The class trip culminated in a visit to Havana's National Schools of Art, first envisioned, said Mundy, "during a Che-Fidel golf game in an enthusiastic surge following the Revolution." The Schools' architects used the materials then available (concrete, brick, tile) and pushed the technology of the Catalan vault to new heights, said Mundy.

Mundy described the trip as "an extraordinary experience for us all," in which students and faculty both took advantage of Havana beyond their course activities.

"We listened to Cuban jazz, saw Flamenco dancers, swam in turquoise Caribbean waters, and cheered on Havana's baseball team in a playoff victory (Industriales 9, Santiago de Cuba, 7). Day in and day out, we were able to meet and talk to Cubans, to learn about their experiences living in a country so changed by the Revolution and to share hopes for the future.

"Such encounters are transformative, in that they allow one to see oneself and one's accepted way of life through the eyes of another," said Mundy. (See student and faculty photos  below.)

Photo: Barbara Mundy

Photo: Allison Pfingst

Photo: Lauren Kawulicz

Photo: Lauren Kawulicz

Photo: Tim Bouffard

Photo: Barbara Mundy

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Global Outreach Teams Spend Spring Break in Service

Ah, spring break. The sun, the swimming, the partying...

Or, if you were one of 102 Fordham students, you spent this year's spring break being "men and women for others."

This year, Global Outreach, Fordham's immersion and service program, sent 102 students and 11 chaperones to ten projects around the world. 

The trips, which are geared toward learning about social, economic, political and environmental injustice issues while living a lifestyle that fosters communal and spiritual growth, were to Guatemala (two teams), Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, San Diego, Detroit, New Orleans, the Adirondack Mountainss, and Waynesburg, PA.

Ryan Creamer, a senior at Fordham College Rose Hill who worked on the GO Detroit, summed up the spirit of the week thusly:

"I applied to participate in Global Outreach because I wanted to expand my understanding of the world."

We asked members of this year's GO team's to share a few shots of their trips.

GO San Diego, which worked with StandUp For Kids, a drop in shelter for homeless youth.
The team helped clean up the center, donate and organize items, and talk with the residents.  
Members of GO Detroit made a new friend while clearing land on a project with Motown Mission,  an urban work mission destination for groups interested in economic disaster recovery work in the name of Jesus Christ.

GO Detroit, hard at work (and also not so much)

GO team Adironacks in Greenfield Center, NY, where they helped paint a mural at the Ndakinna Educational Center .
GO team Guatemala at work at a work site in the region of Retalhuleu
Christina Ferneini, FCRH '15 in Guatemala

—Patrick Verel

Monday, March 31, 2014

Fordham Founder's Award Dinner and Campaign Close Celebration

The Thirteenth Annual Fordham Founder's Award Dinner
and Campaign Close Celebration
March 31, 2014
Founder's Award recipients Linda and Bill Stavropoulos
Founder's Award recipient Judy Livingston Moore with her son, James Moore, LAW '15; Joseph M. McShane, S.J., President of Fordham; and Bob Daleo, chair of the University's Board of Trustees

Pat and Jim Houlihan
David S. Ciancimino, S.J.; His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan; Father McShane; His Eminence Edward Cardinal Egan; Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America; the Most Rev. William Francis Murphy, Bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre
Emcee Bill Baker and Charles Osgood
Tom Salice and Susan Conley Salice
Father McShane poses for a selfie with scholars Alexandria Johnson, FCLC '14, Sal Cocchiaro, GSB '17, Robyn Ayers, FCLC '16, Gabriela Cinkova, GSB '15, and Christopher Wilson, FCLC '17
Cardinal Dolan with former Fordham Board of Trustees chair John Tognino
Maureen Callanan, left, Peggy Hassett, right, and Jack Kehoe, center
Jim Buckman and Stephanie Gaitley
Cardinal Dolan with Tom Kavaler and the Honorable Loretta Preska
Peggy Smyth and Sly McClearn
Ed O'Brien, Jr., Ed O'Brien, Sr., Jack Kehoe
Barbara Costantino, Mo Cunniffe, Carolyn Dursi Cunniffe, John Costantino
Emcee Bill Baker, center, with Founder's Awards
Regina Pitaro and Mario Gabelli
Cosette Carlomusto, FCLC junior and choir soloist
Darlene Luccio Jordan
Mary Higgins Clark
The evening's spread
The Fordham Founder's Scholars
Founder's Scholar Alexandria Johnson
Father McShane announces campaign close
Hail Rams of Fordham

Fordham senior Max Williams joins Father McShane in song

An overview of the festivities