Fordham Notes

Friday, August 29, 2014

IR Students Kick Off the Year with the Experts

Next week, students of Fordham’s investor relations (IR) program will set the tone for the new academic year in an interactive event with prominent executives in the IR field.

Corporate Access and the Benefits of the Non-Deal Road Show
Wednesday, Sept. 3
6:30 p.m.
12th Floor Lounge / Corrigan Conference Center
Lincoln Center Campus | 113 West 60th Street

The event, which is sponsored by the Fordham Investor Relations Society Team (FIRST), will feature two IR experts — Corey Kinger, senior director of Brainerd Communications, Inc., and Julie Neumann, director of corporate access for Cowen and Company.

“[Kinger and Neumann] are terrific women who are at the top of their game in the investor relations world,” said John Walsh, adjunct professor at the Graduate School of Business Administration. “These [FIRST] events are interactive between guests and MIR students, and everyone is welcome.”

FIRST is a student group that comprises members of Fordham’s master’s degree in investor relations (MIR). Launched in 2011, the MIR program is a 39-credit program that takes place one weekend per month and features small, personalized classes that use an experiential approach.

The program serves individuals who want expertise in the field of investor relations as well as current business executives seeking advanced training in investor relations for enterprises that are preparing for public offerings or are already publicly traded.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, email FIRST.

— Joanna Mercuri

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Executive MBA Students Give Rio Businesses an NYC Perspective

Fordham Westchester's Executive MBA Program take on Rio.
Last week students from Westchester’s Executive MBA program presented findings from a survey of New Yorker’s perceptions of Rio de Janeiro to the Rio Visitors's Convention Bureau in Brazil.

The consultation was the capstone project of a summer session led by Professor John Hollwitz, Ph.D. The consult focused on how Rio could increase visitors through tourism and business development. Students presented their findings and a strategic plan on August 20 to professionals from the Visitors and Convention Center system, which included representatives from Rio and several other Brazilian cities.

The legwork for the project was done in New York as preparations for the World Cup were well underway. Students found that while New Yorkers are open to traveling to new places and learning about different cultures, there is substantial reticence of going to Rio due to personal safety concerns.

However, EMBA student Joseph Pirraglia said of 150 New Yorkers the group surveyed, most of those who’d already travelled to Rio would recommend visiting the city and would also like to return for another visit.

In a telephone interview from the conference, Pirraglia said that as a first time visitor to Brazil, he too would like to return. He added that he found Rio’s personal safety issues similar to those in New York.

“You have to watch yourself when you walk around New York at night and that’s pretty much the same in Rio,” he said.

Pirraglia said the group advised the Visitors Bureau that they should attempt to draw parallels between two cities whenever possible and to promote the aspects of the city that New Yorkers might not be aware of.

“Like New York, the community in Rio is more open to people of different nationalities and sexual orientation,” he said.

He said that Rio’s open-minded atmosphere creates niche business opportunities that city should take advantage of, like marketing to the gay and lesbian community.

The study more or less confirmed the findings of previous research.

“The overall impressions I got from many people, including the hotel managers, is that although we were telling them some things they already knew, it was helpful to hear it from a New York perspective,” said EMBA student Kirsten Hase.

Others were impressed that students who had never been to Rio provided such spot-on analysis.

“For a consulting group who is foreign to Brazil, the research and recommendations presented by Fordham were of professional quality and demonstrated a through analysis of the situation we are facing,” said Milton Longobardi, chairman of the Latin American Advisory Board for the Chief Marketing Officers Council.

Friday, August 22, 2014

A Half-Century and a Half-Million Books Later

After a half-century of cataloging approximately a half-million books, Carole Lazarou retires today.
With over 2 million books spread among three main branches, Fordham University Libraries is the fourth largest system in New York State. All of these books must be processed, of course, and since 1964 about 30 percent of them passed through the hands of Carole Lazarou in the cataloging department.

Now, after 50 years, Lazarou is calling it a day. Her retirement starts today.

Linda LoSchiavo, the director of libraries, said that it’s astonishing to think about the changes that Lazarou has witnessed. She noted that Lazarou is one of the last people in the library who actually knows how to type out a catalog card—on a manual typewriter, no less. From manual to electric typewriter, and from DOS computer systems to today’s sleek digital systems, Lazarou has done it all with steadfast efficiency.

“She’s made the changes seem natural,” said LoSchiavo. “There was never any resistance. It was always ‘This is the way it is’ and she very quietly went about her work.”

Lazarou, a native of Yonkers, said she remembers being nervous on her first day work; at the time, she was stationed in the basement of Keating Hall. She said she loved the Christmas parties because it was a time when “you see everybody,” something of a treat for someone whose job required the processing of volumes of materials and which was often a solitary undertaking. Her favorite books were the art books, with Michelangelo being her favorite artist.

When John Williams became director of cataloging in 2010, he said that when he contemplated all the many details of running the department, his mind was put at ease when Lazarou said: “I'll do that.”

Always early to the office and rarely missing a day of work, Lazarou said she has no intention of slowing down. She’s very much looking forward to spending more time at her Yonkers fitness club.

“She leaves with a smile on her face, on her own two feet, and with a building full of friends,” said LoSchiavo.

--Tom Stoelker

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

New Social Work Journal Takes Cross-Disciplinary Approach

Social workers often find themselves on front lines of where the hard numbers of economics meet people's complex social and emotional needs. Yet, many students venturing into the field of social services often eschew the literature of other disciplines, like economics, that directly affect their clients. Now, a new journal supported by the Graduate School of Social Service (GSS), titled 21st Century Social Justice, seeks to merge social work research with that of neuroscience, economics, and law.

“During my research into social work, I have found it impossible not to wander into the literature of other fields,” said Zachary Alti, GSS ’14, the founder and editor of the inaugural issue.

“But neuroscience can seem intimidatingly scientific, and the cold realism of economics can be perceived as antagonistic to social justice.”

Alti approached Tina Maschi, Ph.D., an associate professor at GSS, with his concerns that there was a knowledge gap in social work research that needed to be filled. With the support of Fordham University Libraries, Maschi helped facilitate the message and the mechanics, while Alti recruited fellow students.

He issued a call for papers and wrote the opening statement. An editorial board of fellow students was formed so that papers could be peer reviewed. Maschi said that developing a student-led journal was already a goal at the school, but it was Alti’s initiative that brought together a “convergence of ideas.”

“This is a beyond the classroom learning experience,” she said. “Students need to realize their  own knowledge and their power, and know  that they have something to offer the other sciences. They’re the scholars. They have a valid, expert role in sharing their views with these other fields.”

Getting the various disciplines to join a scholarly endeavor led by social workers can to be a challenge, she said. But she added that social workers play a vital role in translating the science and economics to communities that are directly affected.

“Social work is a psycho-social-spiritual medicine,” she said. “It’s important to recognize that social work plays a primary role in preventing illness and promoting health and well being. The journal is just another step towards social workers being accepted as full and equal partners in knowledge generation.”

The inaugural issue highlights several topics, including little known social problems related to families caring for a fragile infant, breastfeeding women in the workplace, conditional cash transfers among women in Columbia, and the effect of climate change on vulnerable populations.

“Psychologists are often perceived as the industry standard for therapy,” said Alti. “I wanted to strengthen the view of social work as different from psychology, in that it has a distinct framework. We’re a much more externally oriented field, always looking at the environmental factors at play. We want the journal strengthening that distinction with knowledge from other fields.”

With Alti recently graduated and in private practice, student Merritt Juliano will take up the role of editor. Juliano is accepting papers for the next issue at All disciplines are welcome to submit.
-Tom Stoelker

Monday, August 18, 2014

IPED Students Visit South Africa

With the cable car closed for repairs, Fordham IPED students
 Jenna, Lorena, Juls, Iurii, Danielle, Deana, and Evan
had to scale by foot the 3,558 foot Table Mountain.
Contributed Photo   
If South Africa is the next big thing for business, Fordham students will know for sure.

As part of the Graduate Program in International Political Economy and Development’s (IPED) emerging markets program, 14 Fordham graduate and undergraduate students are spending three weeks in South Africa studying alongside 20 students from there. 

Their focus has been on the country’s macroeconomic performance, exchange rate stability and the prospects for portfolio investments, as well as in some of the larger emerging markets around the globe.

The trip is the seventh one the IPED program has sponsored, and in addition to graduate students, it has featured undergraduates from both Fordham College Rose Hill and Fordham College at Lincoln Center.

In addition to an intensive set of classes, briefings from business, government, and labor leaders, the students also had the opportunity to visit Cape Town, hike up Table Mountain and take a ferry to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned. 

Once the course is concluded, students will also have the opportunity to attend a three-day safari in Kruger National Park.

—Patrick Verel

Alumni Spotlight: From Toledo to the Great White Way

Kevin Smith Kirkwood, FCRH ’99, one of the Angels in the Tony Award-winning musical Kinky Boots, credits his high school musical director for putting him on the path to New York City and a group of generous Fordham alumni for helping him become the first in his family to earn a college degree.

Growing up in the projects of Toledo, Ohio, Kirkwood started singing as a hobby, first at home, then in the gospel choir at his community church. He continued singing at St. John’s Jesuit High School, where as a student he coordinated the liturgical group under the guidance of Ron Torina, S.J., who headed ministry services and directed all of the school’s musicals.

Kevin Smith Kirkwood, FCRH '99

In Kirkwood’s freshman year, Father Torina cast Kirkwood in Hello Dolly. “I had never seen a Broadway musical, didn’t know what it was,” he says, but “I was bitten by the bug there.”

He performed in musicals and plays throughout his four years at St. John’s. And he found a mentor in Father Torina. “He was the first person who told me I was really talented and should make a go of it.”

During the fall of Kirkwood’s senior year, Father Torina accompanied a group of St. John’s students, including Kirkwood, on a trip to visit Fordham as part of a special program for admitted students. They toured the Rose Hill campus, stayed overnight in the residence halls, and met with Fordham students, faculty, and resident assistants.

“We were sold. I thought it was the college campus of the movies. I knew that I was home when I saw the city, the energy, all the different kinds of people coming together. I was excited by it and invigorated by it,” he says. “I never looked back.”

With a financial aid package of scholarship, loans, and grants, Kirkwood enrolled in Fordham College at Rose Hill and found his niche on campus when he became a member of the Mimes and Mummers, and helped revive the Fordham Glee Club, which had been inactive for decades. He also made his way to a Broadway show, seeing Rent with its original cast. “[My friends and I] were obsessed with that show,” Kirkwood says. “It was so new and fresh.”

While performing in shows for Mimes and Mummers and the Glee Club, Kirkwood also did work-study with the Fordham Phonathon and worked in the Residential Housing Office. Kirkwood relied on these on-campus jobs and his financial aid to help him pay for college, but in the summer before his junior year, he received his tuition bill indicating that his financial aid package fell short of covering costs for the year. Kirkwood was going to drop out of Fordham until he spoke with Stan Pruszynski, FCRH ’73, president of the Fordham Glee Club Alumni Association. “Stan said ‘we have money saved up for a future scholarship and we decided that you’ll be the first recipient.’”

“I’m so lucky and so grateful,” says Kirkwood, of receiving the Fordham University Glee Club Alumni Memorial Endowed Scholarship in Honor of Father Theodore T. Farley, S.J. “It’s an example of an act of kindness that can make a huge difference.” And with the scholarship, he could stay at Fordham. “I’m the first person on either side of my family to go to college. My family is so proud of me and I share that accomplishment with them.”

Kevin Smith Kirkwood as one of the
the Kinky Boots Angels
He won a part in the 2001 national tour of Godspell, and later, was in the cast of a European tour of Jesus Christ Superstar. He earned a New York Innovative Theatre Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in It’s Karate, Kid! The Musical, and the New York Times called Kirkwood “fabulous” in his role of Bonquisha in the off-Broadway show How to Save the World and Find True Love in 90 Minutes. He made his Broadway debut in 2006, as an understudy in the Tony Award-winning The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. “You work so hard and then you get that call and it’s the best feeling in the world,” he says.

In 2013, Kinky Boots opened on Broadway with Kirkwood starring as one of the Angels, drag performers in the Blue Angel Nightclub. “It has a feel-good message,” Kirkwood says of the show, which is based on a true story of a struggling shoe factory owner who forms an unlikely relationship with a drag queen to save his business. The show, winner of six Tony Awards, including Best Musical, is “kind of a dream job,” he says.

When Kirkwood is not on stage, he volunteers with Broadway Cares, which helps raise funds for AIDS-related causes across the United States. “I have a strong sense of community—my Broadway community, my church community,” he says. “Fordham is all about community.”

He returned to the Rose Hill campus in May for his 15th alumni reunion—taking a night off from Kinky Boots to reconnect with his friends at the Jubilee Gala.

“I think how lucky we were to spend that time there. I’m really proud to be a Fordham alum. The pride of having finished [my degree] at a school with that caliber and reputation, it was a tremendous source of pride,” says Kirkwood, “and still is.”

—Rachel Buttner

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Former CBS Executive and Fordham Dean Recalls Watergate, Nixon's Resignation

When President Richard Nixon announced his resignation 40 years ago on Aug. 8, 1974, it brought shock and amazement but also, for some, “a sense of relief,” said Communications Professor Emeritus William J. Small, a luminary of the news business who oversaw Watergate coverage for CBS News and later served on the Fordham faculty. 

“This is now behind us” was the view of some commentators, said Small, who was a senior vice president at CBS when Nixon resigned. He didn’t recall being surprised—“I mean, the man faced impeachment”—but acknowledged that there was uncertainty about what Nixon would do in the face of the crippling scandal.

“People were amazed” at the president’s resignation, he said. “It was considered an option, but I don’t know anyone who knew when it would happen, or even for sure that it would. His people were still bravely talking about surviving the impeachment attempt—whatever people were left at that point.” 

Small was interviewed on the occasion of being named for a Lifetime Achievement Award that he will receive at the 35th Annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards at Lincoln Center on Sept. 30. He was Fordham’s Distinguished Felix E. Larkin Professor and director of the Center for Communications at the Graduate School of Business Administration (GBA) from 1986 to 1997, and served as dean of GBA dean from 1992 to 1994. He went on to serve as chairman for news and documentary Emmys for the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Watergate was one of the dominant stories during his stint as Washington bureau chief for CBS News from 1962 to 1974. “We were always playing catch-up” to the Washington Post, but weren’t too far behind, he said. 

Ben Bradlee, the Post’s executive editor at the time, once told Small of the importance of CBS’s Watergate coverage. “He said other papers were afraid to touch that story at the beginning,” Small said. “Those papers wouldn’t pick it up, he said, until CBS started, and then it became a national story and (the Post) became the heart of it.” 

“[Bradlee] was very gracious about the role we played,” Small said. “We did a lot of original reporting … and I was very proud of the way (our reporters) followed it.” 

Small received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Fordham in 2003, and continues to take courses in the University’s College at 60. 

---- Chris Gosier

Monday, August 4, 2014

Fordham Infectious Disease Specialist Talks to Media about Ebola

As two Ebola-infected humanitarian healthcare workers are transported to Emory University in Atlanta for treatment, concern about a potential outbreak is heating up. Fordham’s Alexander van Tulleken has appeared on various media outlets to discuss whether such fears are warranted.

Alexander van Tulleken, M.D.
File Photo by Patrick Verel

An infectious disease specialist and a senior fellow with Fordham’s Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs, van Tulleken has appeared on Al Jazeera America, MSNBC’s “Melissa Harris-Perry Show,” and locally, Fox-5 New York, with the same message:

“It’s very hard to catch this virus,” he says of Ebola, of which there is no cure, and causes hemorrhagic fever that kills at least 60 percent of the people it infects in Africa. Ebola spreads through close contact with bodily fluids and blood, meaning it is not spread as easily as airborne influenza or the common cold.

In this interview with New York’s Fox 5, he discussed the Ebola vaccine currently in trials, and also explained that the virus has been in the country for some time with the Center for Disease Control’s research. Watch here:

In this segment with MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry, van Tulleken says that rather than worrying about a vaccine, “what we need to be doing is containing this epidemic in West Africa.” He also says prevention is always underfunded. “What we’re seeing is a failure of the international system to respond to this virus, and this is a virus we should care about for humanitarian reasons. These countries are really neglected, and that’s why it’s spreading.”

Image via NBC News
Watch both MSNBC segments below, and visit our YouTube page for more media appearances by van Tulleken and other Fordham faculty.

-Gina Vergel

Thursday, July 31, 2014

New Student Play to be Staged at Fringe Festival

AJ Golio and Shannon Morrall in the February
performance at Fordham
Contributed photo
Purgatory, the land of suffering inhabited by the souls of sinners atoning before going to heaven, is the setting for a new play written and performed by Fordham students.

My Personal Hell, a comedic murder mystery written and directed by Fordham College at Rose Hill senior Jonathan O'Neill, will be staged in August at FringeNYC, the largest multi-arts festival in North America.

The play, which was first produced by Fordham Experimental Theatre at Collins Auditorium, centers around Tucker Tomkins, a twenty-something photographer (played by Rose Hill junior AJ Golio) who is shot and killed. When he arrives in Purgatory, he is told that in order to get into heaven he must solve his own murder.

From the afterlife he witnesses how his friends, loved ones, and neighbors carry on in his absence, as he and two detectives try to deduce his killer. Suspicious characters include quarreling politicians, Tucker's hot-headed fiancée, his agoraphobic best friend, and pretentious journalist, among others.

O’Neill said he’s been working on the play for the last two years.

The cast of My Personal Hell at Fordham in February
Contributed photo
“It was an effort to combine traditional, large-ensemble mysteries such as Death on the Nile, And Then There Were None, and Murder on the Orient Express with a touch of post-war French drama along the lines of No Exit,” he said.

“The play has gone through another draft since our performance at Fordham in February; the characters are the same but the scenes have almost all been rewritten.”

The cast and crew of My Personal Hell features Timothy Rozmus, GSB '13, as the assistant director and includes:

From Fordham College at Rose Hill: AJ Golio, Michael Brown, James Flanagan, Shannon Morrall, Alyssa Marino, Michael Guariglia, Devin Chowske, Joseph Gallagher, Elle Crane, Sarah Hill, Giancarlo Milea, Christopher Pedro, James Murtagh, and MaryClare Demenna.
From the Gabelli School of Business: Pat McCarthy, Vincent Pellizzi, and Collin Wright.

The production takes place at Loretto Auditorium, 18 Bleeker St. in Manhattan.
Sunday, Aug. 10 at 7:45 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 17 at 3:30 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 21 at 2 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 23 at 9:30 p.m. and Sunday, Aug. 24 at 4:45 p.m.

Tickets are available at

—Patrick Verel

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Fordham Student at Epicenter of Ebola Crisis

The July 29 death of Sierra Leone’s top Ebola doctor, Sheikh Umar Khan, from the disease has intensified fears about the epidemic that is overwhelming West Africa.

“On a daily basis, Ebola regularly comes up,” said Kathleen “Ellie” Frazier, a student in Fordham’s International Political Economy and Development (IPED) program who is working in Sierra Leone. “I overhear people discussing it on the street and there are awareness posters everywhere.”

Researchers are working to develop a treatment for Ebola, but right now there is no cure or vaccine.
Infected patients receive only supportive care, such as saline and fever-reducing medication.
Photo courtesy of BBC News

Currently, Sierra Leone is the epicenter of the Ebola outbreak, which causes high fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and sometimes internal bleeding. The highly contagious virus, for which there is no cure or vaccine, remains infectious even after a person has died.

More than 1,200 cases and 670 deaths have been reported across West Africa. So far, 454 Ebola cases have been reported in Sierra Leone.

Frazier is stationed in a rural area of Sierra Leone as an intern at Timap for Justice, the country’s largest paralegal network. A former Peace Corps volunteer in Rwanda, she has worked extensively only social justice issues, especially in post-conflict regions. In Sierra Leone, she is working with Timap to develop organizational assessment tools and training materials, and is observing paralegal activities in its various offices.

She was there just a week when Ebola cases began to emerge.

“In the first week I arrived, Ebola was confirmed in the eastern part of the country, marking its departure from the original area along the eastern border with Liberia and Guinea,” she said. Initially, she hesitated going to Timap’s rural offices. She even thought about leaving the country.

“But, with the exception of one mining company in the east, no one was evacuating their staff. The rural offices I was supposed to work in were not in the most heavily affected districts, so I decided to go.”

Frazier has not known anyone who has contracted the virus, although several Timap staff members fled a city with a major Ebola isolation unit after a prominent teacher there died. She said two of Timap’s offices in the east have been forced to temporarily suspend activities.

Image courtesy of BBC News
Frazier said that misinformation about the virus is rampant. Some Sierra Leoneans doubt it even exists, partly because Ebola symptoms are similar to the common diseases of malaria and Lassa fever. And there are some who insist the disease is a conspiracy, citing that the original contamination area is a stronghold of the opposition political party.

Conflicting messages early on from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Health and Sanitation caused further confusion, Frazier said. In more remote rural areas, villagers have even driven out WHO and Doctors Without Borders workers.

Fear also breeds misconceptions, she said. Because of the virus’ high contagion rate, those who test positive for Ebola are immediately transferred to an isolation unit, where loved ones cannot visit. If they die, their bodies are bagged and buried in a designated area, denying family members the opportunity to perform customary funeral rites. As a result, many people see going to the isolation word as a “death sentence” and resist taking sick family members to health centers or hospitals.

“Some rumors go so far as to say that the wards are fronts for organ harvesting, or that they inject you with the virus once you are admitted,” Frazier said.

Frazier said that those affected by Ebola are facing discrimination. Health professionals are ostracized by friends and family because of their work with victims. Children from affected families have been driven away from school. People refuse to buy goods from affected families.

“Beyond individuals and families, it is likely that the districts most heavily affected will carry a stigma long after this outbreak subsides—whenever that may be.”

— Joanna Klimaski Mercuri