Last fall, at a Mass in memory of Raymond A. Schroth, S.J., Kevin Doyle, FCRH ’78, spoke about his former Fordham professor’s dedication as a teacher.

“Ray was consistently demanding but incredibly patient,” Doyle said of Father Schroth, a Jesuit priest, professor, and journalist who died in July 2020 at the age of 86.

A 1955 graduate of Fordham College at Rose Hill, Father Schroth was an associate professor in the communications department at the University from 1969 to 1979 and served for several years during the 1990s as an associate dean of Fordham College at Rose Hill. Throughout his career, he was a mentor to dozens of students who became lifelong friends, including Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters Loretta Tofani, FCRH ’75, and Jim Dwyer, FCRH ’79.

At the memorial service, Doyle shared something Father Schroth wrote about one of his own Fordham professors, someone who had “loomed large as a Catholic intellectual 30 years before.”

“Ray wrote that he knew that ‘inside that handsome gray head and behind that gentle, courtly manner was a flame lit from the first torch ever lit and passed along at Fordham. I knew I should experience it before it flickered out.’”

Countless Fordham students and alumni have beheld that flame through the years and not only kept it from flickering out but taken up the torch and shared their own spark of light with others.

Take, for example, Bill Kiernan, a Long Island brewery owner and AP English teacher. He recently drew on two courses he took with Fordham professor Mark L. Chapman 20 years ago—the Black Prison Experience and the Black Church—to help his own students understand and join national conversations on racial justice following the killing of George Floyd.

Or consider neurochemist Nako Nakatsuka, a 2012 Fordham grad recently named one of MIT Technology Review’s “35 Innovators Under 35.” As an undergraduate, she formed a tight bond with chemistry professor Ipsita Banerjee, collaborating with her on research, motivated by a shared hunger for learning and scientific discovery.

“She was my scientific savior at a time when I was pretty lost and didn’t know how to focus my energy,” Nakatsuka said of Banerjee. “She really put in a lot of time and effort in developing my potential as a scientist.”

The Fordham family is full of such stories. Share yours with us at [email protected].


Ryan Stellabotte is the Senior Editorial Director of FORDHAM magazine. He can be reached at 212-636-6537 or [email protected].