During the past four years at Fordham, senior Brittany Ballentine has performed in Matthew Rushing’s Uptown, and danced with Ailey dancers on stage at the Apollo Theatre and alongside Ailey’s first company in Memoria at the City Center.

These experiences, she said, along with her Fordham education, wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the Robert E. Campbell Scholarship and the Denise Jefferson Memorial Scholarship—two of more than 600 donor-funded scholarships awarded annually to Fordham students.

The Ailey/Fordham B.F.A. in Dance program student and others had a chance to thank their donors in person on April 27 at the University’s annual Scholarship Donors and Recipients Reception, held at The University Club in Manhattan. She was among 300 students and donors who attended this festive gathering that celebrates the spirit of giving and the promise of a Fordham education.

“The financial aid I received has helped turn my dreams into opportunities,” said Ballentine. “If not for the scholarships and the generous donors who make them possible, I simply would not have had these chances to shine.”

McShaneScholars1078“This is one of the most wonderful nights of the year for Fordham,” said Joseph M. McShane, SJ, president of Fordham, as he compared the celebration to a Thanksgiving holiday. “It’s the only day of the year when all the generations come together to break bread and tell the stories that unite us as families. Tonight is our Thanksgiving. This is the story of the Fordham family.”

The lively conversations between donors and students revealed stories of the rewards of hard work and the desire to give back. Students shared experiences made possible by their scholarships, and their plans for the future.

Fordham College at Lincoln Center senior Elizabeth Zanghi met James P. Flaherty, FCRH ’69, and his wife Jane, whose scholarship helped to fund Zanghi’s studies in art history, French, and Orthodox Christian studies. “It has helped so much, especially because I will be going on to graduate school,” said Zanghi, who plans to become a college professor. She is among 19 recipients of two scholarships established by the Flahertys.

Scholarship recipient Amanda Varrone, a Fordham College at Rose Hill junior, said she is thankful for the scholarship that has helped finance her studies in English and Spanish. “I hope to go on to law school,” she said. “And I look forward to continuing learning and growing, not only as a student, but as a person.”

John R. Costantino, GABELLI ’67, LAW ’70, and his wife Barbara chatted with Ferdinand Ruplin, LAW, about everything from his childhood on Long Island to their last trip to Disney World with their grandchildren. “They really are like family,” Ruplin said. The Costantinos have become close to several recipients of the scholarship they established for business students who go to Fordham Law, and in two weeks, will even attend one’s wedding.

The spirit of the evening was captured by Fordham’s Board of Trustees Chair Robert D. Daleo, GABELLI ’72, who grew up in the Bronx and followed his late brother Paul to Fordham, where he received a Uniroyal scholarship that helped fund his education.

“I thought if I ever had the opportunity, I’m going to pay this back,” he said. “I now have the capability and desire to honor my brother with a scholarship in his name and repay Fordham.”

Written by Claire Curry