When Rick and Marie Treanor enrolled their two sons at Fordham University, they didn’t just see it as a chance to support their sons’ undergraduate journeys. The Treanors, who last year established a Parent Leadership Endowed Scholarship to support the Faith & Hope | The Campaign for Financial Aid, partnered with administrators and other parents to ensure that every student at Fordham had the tools they needed to succeed in college.

“What I found, at least through my eyes and my kids’ experiences, was that Fordham lived its mission to a great degree, and that really impressed me,” said Rick, who, along with Marie, serves on the Parents’ Leadership Council (PLC). “When I saw how Fordham supports students in different ways, I was inspired to help.”

Now, parents are having a direct impact on student experiences through the Fordham Parents Fund, which helps to provide financial support for career and student health services.

Since the fund was recast at the beginning of FY 16, parents have given more than $325,000 to the Fordham Parents Fund to help enhance various student experiences on campus.

Supporting students

Lucy Annette McLaughlin, interim director of career services, said her department has received contributions from the fund to invest in new technologies that support career-building for students—including Handshake, a job portal technology, and CareerInsights, a research tool. This fall, the department will also use fund support to work on promotional events to engage students in the Fordham Futures’ four-year career development program.

Additionally, the funds will help to provide professional development, and leadership and training opportunities that are in alignment with high-demand skills in today’s workforce, she said.

“There is a constant need to support student and alumni career development, job search methods, and career transitions for life,” said McLaughlin.

“The future of work is constantly changing, and the Parents’ Leadership Council is a valuable partner for us. We are very thankful to have their support.”

The other half of the money raised from the Fordham Parents Fund will support programs and initiatives focused on student services. Recently, the fund helped upgrade technology in 140 West 62nd Street’s G76 multipurpose room on the Lincoln Center campus.

“The original technology in the room is based off a podium in the front of the room,” said Dorothy Wenzel, Ph.D., director of the Office for Student Involvement at Lincoln Center. “This works great for lectures.  However, most of the events we hold in the room for clubs are not lecture events.”

With the new renovations, students can connect multiple microphones to host open mics, dance events, game nights, and other student activities.

Among the health programs the funds will sustain are suicide prevention initiatives that were originally developed with a federal grant three years ago. These include “Kognito At-Risk Virtual Gatekeeper Trainings” for students, faculty, and staff; the Stressbusters Mobile App; and Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Suicide Prevention brochures.

Thanks also to the fund, the Office of Multicultural Affairs will be able to advance its Racial Solidarity Network program, which aims to strengthen race relations at Fordham. The program will officially kick off this year with a session in November, and a second session in February 2018.

“Our job is to create an environment where everyone can feel included,” said Juan Carlos Matos, assistant dean and director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs. “When parents of students who attend Fordham see this initiative as something they want to support, it sends a strong message that it’s not just Fordham that believes it’s important.”

For parents Alida and James Nally, University-parent partnerships are essential for student success.

“We continue to be a part of the PLC to help other parents and students understand the profound impact a Fordham education has in educating the whole person [as]“men and women for others,” said Alida.