Fordham Notes

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Beinecke Scholarship Winner Honored


Thomas Parkinson and Nikolas Oktaba exchange greetings
at the Lincoln Center campus.
Photo by Jill LeVine
Last spring Nikolas Oktaba, a Fordham College at Lincoln Center, (FCLC) junior majoring in classical civilizations and classical languages, learned that he’d won one of 20 prestigious Beinecke Scholarships, which would allow him to continue his studies in graduate school.

On Oct. 24, it was made official, as Thomas Parkinson, Ph.D., program director for the Sperry Fund, which administers the scholarship, formally made the announcement in the office of FCLC Dean Robert Grimes, S.J.

The scholarship includes $30,000 for studies at a yet-to-be-determined graduate school and another $4,000 to cover the cost of applications.

Also on hand for the event were Fordham faculty members Andrew Clark, Ph.D., associate professor of French and comparative literature, Anne Golumb Hoffman Ph.D., professor of English, and Mary Shelley, assistant director of prestigious fellowships at Lincoln Center.

The awards were established in 1971 by the Board of Directors of the Sperry & Hutchinson Company in honor of Edwin, Frederick, and Walter Beinecke. Parkinson said that he makes a point to present the scholarships in person. 

“It gives me a chance to get out and meet all these wonderful and talented people,” said Parkinson. “The family believes that rather than just give the students the money and say good luck, they really want a more involved relationship.

“One of the nice things about doing this is you work with really quality people. I’m sure that wherever Nicholas is accepted, he will find that he’ll do well,” he said.

Oktaba said the scholarship commitment was of “existential importance” to the liberal arts. He thanked Parkinson for supporting his plan to study how ancient people’s social construction of painful questions of identity had an impact on life in late antiquity. 

“I would like to show people that the classics are more than lifeless ruins and broken statuary,” he said. “I would like to give students the ability to engage with these sometimes painful questions of gender, sexuality, and identity as a whole, in a deeper, more meaningful manner.”

Andrew Clark, Anne Hoffman, Thomas Parkinson, Nikolas Oktaba, Mary Shelley, and Robert Grimes, S.J.
Photo by Jill LeVine


—Patrick Verel



Campus Ministry Organizes Reprise of Sandy Saturdays


Today, Oct. 29, marks the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy’s widespread devastation in New York and New Jersey. For weeks on end during late 2012, the spring of 2013, and the 2013-14 academic year, students led by Fordham’s Campus Ministry office joined with Habitat for Humanity-Westchester for weekly Sandy Saturdays, to help clear and rebuild neighborhoods in the Far Rockaways and Breezy Point areas.

Next weekend on Nov. 8, a Fordham contingent will return to the Rockaways with Habitat to do another Sandy Saturday.

“We have a number of student leader groups co-sponsoring this,” said Gil Severiano, administrative assistant in Campus Ministry. “Including the Pedro Arrupe Faith and Justice Community, the retreat leaders, the Interfaith Council, Global Outreach, and the Dorothy Day Service and Justice leaders.”

Severiano said that Campus Ministry recently did a Sunday alms collection to go toward the Sandy Saturday and received $850, which will help pay for Habitat supervisors needed to oversee the day’s construction. The Ram Van office has donated three ram vans to drive volunteers to the site, and Campus Ministry will fund food and other supplies. 

Unfortunately, she said, the Sandy Relief Fund that the University had collected is depleted.
So far, 45 students and chaperones are signed up to go.

“We will be working on four houses in Breezy Point that are in the finishing stages, painting and sheetrocking,” she said. “So hopefully we are getting some folks home for the holidays!”

Any interested volunteers should contact Severiano at severiano@fordham.edu.  (Photos by Conor O'Kane)


Law Alumna Runs Marathon for One who Keeps Her On Track



Berman running in the Heels & Wheels 5K
in Larchmont on Sunday, Oct. 25
Photo by Dana Maxson
When Jessica Berman, LAW ’02, takes her first step across the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge on this Sunday, Nov. 2, it will be the second time she’s embarked on the 26.2-mile New York City marathon.

But it will be the first time she’s running the race for two.

Berman, a Larchmont resident, is running as part of a 13-member “Run 4 Brad” team that has so far raised $70,000 for the creation of a lower limb robotics program at Burke Rehabilitation Center in White Plains, NY. 

The money is being raised in honor of her husband Brad, 37, who suffered a massive stroke last August that left him comatose for weeks and unable to walk for several months.

Berman is spearheading the drive both to help fund the robotics program and to spread the word about staying fit—a major factor in Brad’s recovery from AVM (arteriovenous malformation), a congenital malformation of blood vessels that led to his stroke. 

The fact that her husband had previously run several marathons made a big difference toward his success in relearning how to breathe, walk, and talk, said Berman.

“If, God forbid, anything like this ever happens, you want your body to be in the best position to be able to recover, and the [doctors] felt Brad had done that,” said Berman, who is vice president and deputy general counsel for the National Hockey League (NHL).

“No matter what, it’s one foot after another. The running analogy has gotten us through this in a very real way, because that’s what you do as a runner.”

Andrew, Brad, Jessica and Noah Berman
Photo by Dana Maxson
Running brought the couple together when they were first dating. It also provided an outlet for Berman when the stress of Brad’s hospitalization overwhelmed her. 

While he lay in a coma for five weeks, she ducked out of the hospital and ran as long as she could before tiring, a coping practice that earned her the nickname “Forest Gump” from the hospital staff. 

In a way, she began her marathon training then.

“I love the values that running can teach you. It’s a goal-oriented individual sport that truly tests your will and your strength,” she said. 

Raising funds and training for the race, which she hopes to finish in less than four hours, has added to an already full plate for Berman, who also has two sons. She thrives on activity though: At Fordham Law School she organized the annual sports law forum, and was hired upon graduation by the firm Proskauer Rose LLP, which represented the NHL. 

The NHL hired her in 2006. It was a dream job for Berman—a longtime hockey fan who managed the men’s hockey team while a student at the University of Michigan. In January 2013, she helped the league broker a 10-year labor agreement with the NHL player’s association. 

“We have the benefit of being leanly staffed, so in addition to being really busy I get to work on things that I wouldn’t have the chance to work on at other organizations —and certainly not other sports leagues, in terms of the responsibility,” she said. “Most of my friends who work in-house are in departments where workloads are assigned by subject matter. You’re in a litigation group or a labor group or a corporate group, and you just do that.”

She holds firm to the idea that the busier you are, the more efficient you are; she said she has no plans to slow down until Brad is back on his feet and the family has returned to a degree of normalcy. 
Returning to the NYC marathon is poignant for Berman. The first time, in 2004, she said she had to convince Brad to run it with her. 

Ironically, however, he ended up enjoying it more than she did. He continued to run full marathons, while she stepped-down to running half-marathons.

 “When we did the marathon 10 years ago, Brad got me through the race. Brad has always been my rock, the person who keeps me on track,” she said.

“After we finished, he said, ‘That was awesome, I loved it, I’m doing it again.’ I was like, ‘I hated that, I’m never doing it again.’ So the runner in Brad was born, and I was retired. 

“Now I’m back.”
—Patrick Verel


Friday, October 24, 2014

Bronx Historian's Archives Left to Fordham

Notes on back of photo read "Pucho Band" and "Black Catskills." 

Morgan Powell’s book collection arrived at the Fordham University Archives this morning, buttressing the late historian’s already substantial contribution to the Bronx African American History Project.

Powell was just 40-years-old when he died last month and the Medical Examiner’s Office is still investigating the cause.

Morgan Powell
Much to the surprise of University Archivist Patrice Kane, Powell donated a significant portion of his archives late last year. The archives were chock-full of research in his two primary interests: African American history and local ecology.

“We don’t usually get archives donated from someone so young,” said Kane, leafing through one of Powell’s meticulously annotated binders. “But he definitely understood archival standards.”

Much of the material donated is not necessarily from an original source, but the thousands of copies of receipts, photos, maps, articles, and even an undertaker’s notice with a Post-it marked “traces of slavery,” represent an amalgamation of disparate sources pulled together for the free tours he gave to Bronx residents. Powell never charged for the tours.

One of Powell's tour maps.
“He knew that the Bronx was the poorest borough in the city and people wouldn’t be able to come if he charged,” said Mark Naison, Ph.D., professor of African and African American Studies. “He understood the people very well and that’s why he’s revered.”

Naison said that despite Powell’s limited academic training, his research was rigorous and presented some highly original connections.

Powell’s tour guide binders have an almost jazz-like quality with their loose associations. Maps act almost like music bars that anchor the process, archival materials providing the notes, and marginalia dropped in like riffs on the theme.


Powell's archives include the undertaker's notice of the"faithful servant" whose grave sits beside Augustus Zerega.
Some of the notes are pretty straightforward, but others include detailed stage directions for the tour guide, like this instruction for the Bronx Zoo: “discuss on lowest grade near waterfall so that the echo of the presenter’s voice bounces off the retaining wall immediately behind tour-goers.” Then there are investigative notes, like this one: “Connect the dots. The Bronx was part of Lower Westchester during every census conducted during the slavery epoch so there is a way to find out where our ancestors worked and in whose bondage. 8.29.2010 M.P.”

“Not everyone thought of linking African American history to the rivers, waterways, and parks,” said Naison. “The tours he led were totally original. I’ve never known an independent scholar that created as much excitement as Morgan Powell.”
An unidentified photo.
Powell's archive includes recent history.

— Tom Stoelker

President's Council Roundtables Spotlight Leadership, Education, and Career Success

Members of Fordham’s President’s Council joined young alumni and Fordham students on Oct. 21 to discuss the value of a liberal arts education and “love-driven” leadership, at the kick-off to this year’s Executive Leadership Series.

The event, held at the Manhattan Club, brought together more than 60 alumni and students with 22 President’s Council members, who shared their decades of professional experience in fields as far ranging as global real estate.

President's Council Chair James J Houlihan, GSB '74, PAR, Vice Chair Edward I. O’Brien, Jr., FCRH ’80, Terry Begley, GSB '86, and Colleen Jones, GBA ’88, were among the members who participated in roundtable discussions. With a format similar to speed-dating, alumni and students chose tables based on topics, which included “Everything Entrepreneurial,” “The Customer’s Always Right?” and “The Business of Health,” switching every 20 minutes for three sessions.

Mary Jane McCartney, TMC'69, retired senior vice president at ConEd,
discusses the art of leadership with alumni and students
.
Thomas E. Kelly, III, a parent of two Fordham alumni and vice president of strategic initiatives at Lockheed Martin, asked for examples of how the Jesuit tradition of “men and women for others” applies in the corporate world.  One student drew a parallel between compassionate leadership and the example Jesus sets in the New Testament.

"Leading with dignity and honesty and delivering what you say you’ll deliver says a lot about what kind of person you are,” said Suliman Al Aujan, GSB ’15, who recently accepted a position at Credit Suisse. “There’s nothing more important.”

"Most great universities are liberal arts schools,” said Mario Ciampi, FCRH ’82, a partner at Prentice Capital Management, LP, to a table of young alumni discussing how to leverage a liberal arts degree.  “Your career success is a matter of how you perform and grow.”

Ciampi surveyed six alumni about whether their liberal arts degrees strengthened their chances for success, now that they are working in the professional world.

“People are looking at the diverse skills you bring to the table,” said Morgan Vazquez, FCRH ’12, who works in JP Morgan’s human resources department, adding that her firm recruits heavily from one university because of a specialized degree program.  “More and more, there’s a cookie-cutter result in terms of the candidates we interview out of this program. Students with liberal arts backgrounds seem to have more diverse experience and skills.”

Fran Conroy chats with students about how to stand out
from the competition in job interviews.
Employers nowadays seek out a diversity of thought, creativity and passion, said Jean Wynn, MC ’80, managing director and chief administrative officer at Bank of New York Mellon and the President’s Council’s newest member. Wynn, who has managed hundreds of employees throughout her career, said that a liberal arts background gives employees the ability to see things from “a multitude of perspectives,” an essential capability in today’s competitive job market.

Distinguishing oneself from the competition was the highlight of a discussion group facilitated by Fran J. Conroy, GSB ’79, and Patrick Keenan, GSB ’75, both high-level executives in the financial services industry. “Sometimes it comes down to the personal interests on a résumé,” Conroy said, adding that he was once asked to describe his three best accomplishments.

“I thought of two, but couldn’t think of a third, so I wrote that I went sky diving. It was an accomplishment because I overcame my fear of heights,” he chuckled. “I believe it that made me stand out.”

The Executive Leadership Series brings together members of Fordham's President's Council, alumni in the early stages of their careers, and students to provide opportunities for mentoring and networking. The series is held twice annually, in the fall and spring. (Photos by Chris Taggart)

For more photos of the event visit our flickr page.

--Claire Curry

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Faculty Reads: Advertising to Children

When it comes to advertising tactics, it’s challenging enough for adults to spot the schemes and resist buying into sales pitches. Do the youngest and most vulnerable members of our society even stand a chance?

That question is at the heart of Dr. Fran Blumberg’s newly-published Advertising to Children: New Directions, New Media (Palgrave-MacMillan, 2014), which was co-edited by Drs. Barrie Gunter (University of Leicester, U.K.), Mark Blades, and Caroline Oates (both University of Sheffield, U.K.).

“Vulnerable audiences, such as kids, may not be aware that they are being subjected to advertising,” said Blumberg, an associate professor in the Graduate School of Education. “[It’s now] another aspect of the child's environment that they are increasingly exposed to which probably requires their understanding of the goal of marketers — that is, that they want you to buy their product and may make false claims or present unrealistic imagery associated with their product to make it desirable.”

Because of this increased exposure, especially to new “stealth techniques” that target youth, there is an urgent need to study how advertising affects development, Blumberg said. And yet, despite this growing need, there is a dearth of information about the impact of new-age advertising on kids.

“The goal of the text is to understand the factors that contribute to children’s understanding of advertising, and elucidate at which point in [their growth] that [they develop an] understanding of advertising messages,” she said.

The book covers an array of topics surrounding children and advertising, including how children are affected by advertising for food and alcohol products, whether children are developmentally capable of identifying messages as persuasive, and what parents and educators can do to teach kids to become more critical of advertisements.

The book also discusses the ramifications of “stealth advertising,” such as embedded commercial messages in television shows and new forms of media that influence children without their conscious awareness. An example of the latter is the practice of “advergaming,” or the use video games to promote products or services — for instance, a cereal company that makes a game involving collecting pieces of the cereal for points.

“The message [in the book] is that children and adolescents… may be best served through media literacy, which includes understanding the persuasive intent of advertising and advertisers,” Blumberg said.

— Joanna K. Mercuri

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Nostradamus of Marketing Comes to Fordham

Next week Fordham University’s Center for Positive Marketing will host a discussion with Faith Popcorn, “the Nostradamus of marketing.”

Popcorn, a best-selling author and "futurist," will share her predictions about a future shaped by the intersection of personal technologies, changing family composition, and data security.

“Flying into the Future with Faith Popcorn”
Wednesday, Oct. 22
6:30 p.m.
Room 3-03 | Fordham School of Law
150 West 62nd Street

Popcorn is the founder of the BrainReserve, a New York-based, future-focused marketing consultancy. She has successfully predicted social trends such as “cocooning,” forecasting the explosive growth of home delivery, home businesses, and home shopping.

She is the consultant for Fortune 500 companies including American Express, Campbell’s Soup, Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, Tylenol, and the United States Postal Service. She is also the author of several books, such as EVEolution: Understanding Women (Hyperion, 2001) and Dictionary of the Future (Hyperion, 2001).

Click here to reserve your seat.

For more information, contact Linda Purcell.

The event is sponsored by the Center for Positive Marketing, which unites industry professionals, academic researchers, and students for the goal of promoting the positive differences marketing can make in people’s lives.


— Joanna K. Mercuri

In Wake of ISIS, Former UN Ambassador Helps Iraqi Nonprofits Take a Leading Role

Ambassador T. Hamid al-Bayati
Photo by Tom Stoelker
T. Hamid al-Bayati, Ph.D., the former permanent representative of Iraq to the United Nations, came to Fordham's Lincoln Center campus on Oct. 16 to respond to increasing violence in Iraq and Syria. The ambassador told a crowd of nonprofit leaders that their work is an important response for the war-torn region.

The event was sponsored by the Graduate School of Social Service and the Graduate School of Business Administration.

Al-Bayati, author of From Dictatorship to Democracy: An Insider's Account of the Iraqi Opposition to Saddam (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011) said that supplementing coalition forces with on-the-ground aid is essential for the people of Iraq to survive the effects of war. With more than four million refugees in the country, funding and coordination of the various NGOs is a must. To that end, the ambassador said he will be working with Fordham’s Center for Nonprofit Leaders to coordinate New York-area nonprofits and link them with their Iraqi counterparts.

The ambassador said that, with recent killings of aid workers by ISIS, it is best to let the Iraqi nonprofits take the lead rather than sending in foreign aid workers who might find themselves vulnerable to attack.

“Many are worried about WMDs (weapons of mass destruction), but you know what WMDs are now? A cell phone and an app,” he said, referring to readily available technology that has allowed recent beheadings by ISIS to terrorize Americans and other Western nationals in the privacy of their own homes.

Al-Bayati said that the consortium of NGOs in Iraq would allow donors to pick which nonprofit they would like to help. The NGO would in turn be responsible for reporting back to the donor with progress. He added that the Iraqi NGOs could also help bring businesses into the country as well.

The ambassador continually stressed the importance of coordination. He said that the United Nations still lacks the enough experience to coordinate NGOs, and they have their own bureaucracy to contend with.

“Communication is not the issue. Technology has solved that, but security remains number one,” he said. “By organizing our efforts, the NGOs can complete each other rather than compete with each other.”
-Tom Stoelker 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Graduate School of Religion Dean to Present Integrative Seminar


Next week, Fordham’s Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education will present the next installation of its new series, the Vineyard Workers’ Workshops.

“God, Christ, the Church, and Salvation”
Friday, Oct. 17
10 a.m.
Fordham Westchester Campus


C. Colt Anderson, Ph.D., dean of GRE and an expert in church history, will discuss how an understanding of the Nicene Creed and other essential doctrines relate to spiritual life and practice.

The workshop is part of an ongoing series that serve people working in religious education, ministry, and pastoral counseling. Part online and part on-campus, the workshop series integrates study and practice in the fields of ministry and pastoral care.

Topics include gender issues in ministry, interfaith concerns in ministry, moral theology and social justice, intercultural communication, and more. Periodically, workshops will also cover contemporary issues and developments in pastoral counseling.

Workshops include CEU credits through the National Association of Lay ministry.

Visit the GRE website for more information about the workshop.

— Joanna K. Mercuri

Monday, October 6, 2014

Alumni Spotlight: Investment Adviser Hires, Inspires Fordham Interns


Jerry Getsos (center) with current and former interns (from l.) Alexander Milo,
a Fordham junior; Michael Manzo, GSB '00; and Michael Watts, a Fordham senior.
Photo: Dana Maxson

Jerry Getsos started hiring Fordham interns 17 years ago, not simply to help his company or because he knew how valuable Fordham students are in the workplace.

He started hiring Fordham students because he wanted to give back to his alma mater.

“I remember how tough it was for me to crack into the investment business,” Getsos says. “I decided this would be something I can give back to the school in my way.”

A son of Greek immigrants and a first-generation college student, Getsos earned a B.S. in finance and economics from Fordham in 1985, and an M.B.A. from the University in 1987. Today he’s a member of the Fordham parents community; his daughter Julia is a Fordham junior, while his son Peter is a freshman at the University.

Getsos started the internship program while working as the chief investment officer at Lepercq, de Neuflize & Co., and he continues it in his role as director of research and senior vice president at Klingenstein, Fields & Co., where he has worked since 2006.

He says because he has worked for small to mid-sized firms, he has had the opportunity to teach interns about all aspects of the investment business.

“When an analyst is working on something, the intern works right alongside him or her. Interns sit with us when we’re interviewing CEOs and CFOs,” he says. “They’re actually doing models for me, where other students may just be doing models in a classroom.”

Getsos is clear with interns that although there will not be a job at his firm for them after graduation, his primary goal is to give them the experience they need to build a rewarding career on Wall Street.

Michael Manzo, GSB ’00, interned for Getsos for two years as a Fordham undergraduate. After graduation, JP Morgan hired him as an equity research analyst, an opportunity for which he credits Getsos.

“I was the first equity research analyst from Fordham that JP Morgan had hired right out of school, and that was entirely due to Jerry and the experience I gained working with him,” Manzo says.

“The people I was hired with went to Georgetown, Brown, Wharton, and other ‘bigger’ schools. But nobody had the internship that I’d had, with that true asset management experience.”

While the work experience is immensely valuable, Getsos’ interns say that it is their boss himself who truly sets the internship apart.

Michael Watts, a Gabelli School senior who interned for Getsos in the summer of 2013, was struck not only by Getsos’ knowledge and natural ability to share his expertise but also by his character.

“Jerry’s an incredible teacher, extremely patient with college kids who are just striving to get their footing in the field,” Watts says. “He’s full of energy and passion for what he does. You want to work hard for Jerry.”

Getsos has lunch with his interns nearly every day, serving as a mentor not only on career opportunities and investment strategies but also on life and family.

“I’d love to be as good an investor as Jerry, but I’d be happy to be as good a person as he is,” Watts says. “Jerry is the quintessential Fordham man.”

Getsos does not seek interns with previous investment experience. He’s looking to find students who are hungry to learn about the field.

“They are raw in the beginning, but as typical Fordham students, they’re hard working, they show up, and they have a strong ability to learn,” he says.

Getsos’ commitment to opening doors to the investment business for Fordham students has inspired others to do the same.

Manzo currently works as an adjunct professor at Fordham. He says he has made it a priority to connect with students the way Getsos connected with him, making time to talk with students before or after class and offer advice on job opportunities.

“I have been directly or indirectly responsible for getting people jobs, and that’s something I am proud of,” Manzo says.

It’s that type of investment in the future of Fordham students that Getsos says inspires him to continue pouring time and energy into teaching his interns the ropes.

“There’s a rewarding feeling I get, when they’re still interning with me and about to graduate, and get that job at JP Morgan or Goldman Sachs,” he says. “That’s why I do it.”

—Jennifer Spencer