One of the great civic contributions that Fordham President Emeritus Joseph A. O’Hare, SJ, made to the city was helping define and shape the New York City Campaign Finance Board. Father O’Hare served as the agency’s founding board chair from 1988 to 2003, having been appointed by Mayor Edward Koch.

On April 14, the board recognized Father O’Hare’s many contributions with a ceremony and naming of its boardroom at 100 Church Street.

More than 150 people were on hand for the ceremonial naming of the Joseph A. O’Hare S.J. Boardroom, among them Fordham colleagues Jeffrey Gray, senior vice president for student affairs; Brian Byrne, vice president for Lincoln Center; and John Feerick, Sidney C. Norris Professor in Public Service at Fordham Law School and former law school dean.

Rose Gill Hearn, chair of the board, said that Father O’Hare’s imprint is still on the agency today “through his integrity, fairness, and intelligence.”

“The CFB continues to benefit from his dedication, because of the respect and admiration Father O’Hare’s name elicits from everyone who knows him,” she said.

Although the board’s first executive director Nicole Gordon said she had written extensively on what makes an effective campaign finance program, “at the end of the day it’s about the individuals who serve. They have to be people of conviction and integrity. That’s what Father O’Hare established here.”

Former board chair Frederick A.O. Schwarz Jr. called Father O’Hare a “precursor to Pope Francis. “He couples a faith with an equal faith in the potential of human beings.”

During Father O’Hare’s tenure as board chair, the CFB developed a reputation as an agency where ethics were held to the highest standard; the board even fined its creator Mayor Koch’s own staff for errors that were made in campaign contribution reporting.



Janet Sassi is editor/associate director of internal communications. She can be reached at (212) 636-7577 or [email protected]