In February 1949, Fordham gained a new president who would launch the most significant physical expansion of the University since Archbishop John Hughes acquired the property for the Rose Hill campus in 1841.

New construction was just one ambition that Laurence J. McGinley, S.J., outlined right after he took office on Feb. 2. When he left 14 years later, Martyrs’ Court and a campus center had been built at Rose Hill. Dealy Hall had been renovated and a new Jesuit residence—Faber Hall—was almost complete. But McGinley’s most striking legacy was downtown, next to Columbus Circle.

Because Fordham’s downtown schools were outgrowing their building at 302 Broadway, McGinley had seized the opportunity to join the West Side redevelopment initiated by Robert Moses, the powerful city and state planner. Fordham bought a four-block portion of the site, becoming the first institution to fully embrace the project. The University opened its law school at the site in 1961, beginning the development of what is today Fordham-Lincoln Center.

Laurence J. McGinley, S.J., enters the construction site that will become Fordham-Lincoln Center.

Chris Gosier is research news director for Fordham Now. He can be reached at (646) 312-8267 or [email protected].