When Mike McGonigle, GABELLI ’82, ’88, first stepped foot on Fordham’s campus, he had no idea that he’d be starting a family trend.

A Queens native and the son of two Irish immigrants, McGonigle is now the father of three Fordham graduates.

Cara, who earned her B.S. from the Gabelli School of Business in 2013, is currently an associate banking advisor at Northern Trust and is pursuing her M.B.A. at Gabelli part time. Kathleen, a 2015 Fordham College at Rose Hill graduate, is now studying at the School of Law. And Claire just graduated from Gabelli in May.

A managing director at a private equity firm, McGonigle had always credited his Fordham education for jumpstarting his career. He had multiple job offers to choose from when he completed his undergraduate degree, and he was thrilled to return to Fordham part time to complete his M.B.A. But it wasn’t until he started going through the college admission process with his oldest daughter that he realized quite how special Fordham is.

“Fordham students are willing to see beyond themselves and their immediate needs. They realize there’s a larger world out there,” he says, “and they’re willing to help each other.”

McGonigle’s youngest daughter, Claire, says it was that same Fordham spirit that eventually drew her and her two sisters to their dad’s alma mater. “I remember one of us had a birthday party at a basketball game on campus,” she recalls, “but that love for Fordham didn’t really hit us until she was applying to college. It’s the best of all worlds.”

Now the whole family is involved in the Fordham community. All three sisters served as Rose Hill ambassadors, giving tours of the campus to prospective students. McGonigle is a member of both the President’s Council and the Parents’ Leadership Council. And everyone attends sporting events and Homecoming.

Mike McGonigle and his youngest daughter, Claire, at Fordham's 2017 Commencement
Mike McGonigle and his youngest daughter, Claire, at Fordham’s 2017 commencement Photo by John O’Boyle

The whole family gathered on the Rose Hill campus again in May to celebrate Claire’s graduation. McGonigle served as the alumni banner bearer, so he and his wife, Ann Marie, also walked down Eddies Parade during the University commencement. As the group gathered for photos before the Gabelli diploma ceremony, Ann Marie laughed about how she was the only one in the family not to have a Fordham degree.

“When we go on vacation, we always take photos and make a ram sign with our hands,” says Claire, “and my mom jokes that she needs to go back and get a Fordham degree so she can join in.”

Though she’s the only one in the family without a Fordham degree, McGonigle says his wife also recognizes how special Fordham’s culture is. “Every time we’d visit [our daughters], we’d leave feeling terrific about where they were and what they were doing. It’s a great feeling.”

Claire says her dad never expected that she and her sisters would end up going to the same college, let alone his alma mater.

“He didn’t ever push us to go to Fordham,” she explains. “We all came to the decision on our own. So I think that is the most special part. We all chose to have that common experience individually.”


Alexandra Loizzo-Desai can be reached at [email protected] or 212-636-6536.