On March 5, the diversity and loyalty that makes Fordham strong was on full display as the community came together to celebrate 59 of its longest serving members.

The gathering is an annual occasion to honor employees with Bene Merenti and Archbishop Hughes medals for 20 or 40 years of service.

Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham, noted that this year the celebration was taking place in a world gripped by anxiety and worry. Such uncertainties make it even more important honor the professors, lecturers, caretakers, designers, fundraisers, bursars, DJs, secretaries, managers, librarians, public safety officers, and more who help make the University function.

They’re a “paradoxical lot,” he said—wonderfully adaptive and yet unchanging, and remarkably diverse but united.

“In response to the many challenges that an accelerating, evolving world has presented to them, they have displayed a rare combination of wisdom and courage. They have brought to the University a broad array of interests and talents.  In spite of this, they are and have remain united in their devotion to the mission of the University,” he said.

“Therefore, we celebrate unity in diversity, and a constancy grounded in our history that is combined with a zest for new challenges.”

“Let us make this a moment in which we give the world the light it needs,” Father McShane said.
“Let us sweep that light into the most forgotten corners of a world and a nation that so sorely need the hope that our light can and does give.”

Many of the honorees were joined by children and grandchildren. When Aleksander Rebisz was honored with a Sursum Corda Award for outstanding contributions to the University, his son-in-law Matt Kraeger hoisted aloft Rebisz’ 2-year-old grandson Mason for a better view, to the delight of the audience.

Jonathan M. Crystal, Ph.D., associate professor of political science, associate vice president and associate chief academic officer, said that when he began his career at Fordham in 1997, his oldest son Nathan was just a year old. On Sunday, Nathan was unable to see his dad accept a Bene Merenti award because he was away at college. Crystal, who was lauded in a citation as the “keystone” of the University’s academic enterprise, said it was a little frightening how quickly time had passed.

“To be surrounded by all of my colleagues is an amazing feeling. This is one of the best days of my life,” he said.

“If you ask most people in the world, ‘do you love the place you work,’ maybe they like their job and maybe they like their colleagues,” he said. “But people who work at Fordham love Fordham.”

Georgine Barna Hoar, an adjunct professor of Spanish who was awarded a Bene Merenti medal for her four decades years of service, credited the teaching profession with having kept her young. She and her husband Leo Hoar, Ph.D., professor emeritus who retired in 2015 after teaching Spanish for 53 years, estimated that they have collectively served 12,500 students—the same number of chairs set up for Commencement Day on Edwards Parade.  Each semester on the last day of class, she said she makes a point to thank her students for all that they’ve taught her.

“In practicing a language, it helps to talk about things that interest them,” she said. “I don’t know what programs they watch and what concerts they go to, so they tell me, and it makes them feel good because they have helped me to understand what’s important to them.”

For John Platt, director of communications at WFUV (90.7), the afternoon was slightly bittersweet, as his colleague in 20 years of service and fellow honoree, Rich Conaty, the host of The Big Broadcast, died in December.

He was grateful for the stability that WFUV has provided him. In commercial radio, where he worked previously, he noted that the field is so unpredictable, time can feel as if it should be measured “in dog years.”

“If you look at my resume prior to WFUV, it’s a very checkered career. Ownership changes, management changes, program directors change,” he said. “To be at WFUV [this long]with a team of people who are all doing radio for its own sake . . . is about the most gratifying way you can make a living.”

Dominique R. Jenkins, a friend of Assistant Director of Enrollment Services Melissa L. Scriven, an Archbishop Hughes Medal winner for 20 years of service, marveled at how the awardees— though occasionally humbled to be in the spotlight—showed “pride in everything they do.”

“Why leave if you work in such a great environment, with a great group of people?” she said.

Bene Merenti
Medal | Forty Years

Bruce F. Berg | Professor of Political Science
Constance W. Hassett | Professor of English
Georgine Barna Hoar | Adjunct Professor of Spanish
Gail D. Hollister | Archibald R. Murray Professor of Law
Katherin Marton | Professor of Finance and Business Economics
E. Doyle McCarthy | Professor of Sociology and American Studies
Marie A. Sheehan | Adjunct Assistant Professor, College at 60
David P. Stuhr | Associate Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Business, Retired Faculty Advisor
Anthony Tartaglia | Adjunct Instructor of Mathematics
Frank M. Werner | Associate Professor of Finance and Business Economics

Bene Merenti Medal | Twenty Years

Stephan Apicella-Hitchcock | Artist-in-Residence
Cheryl G. Bader | Clinical Associate Professor of Law
Paul M. Bochner | Clinical Assistant Professor of Taxation
Colin M. Cathcart | Associate Professor of Visual Arts
Jeffrey E. Cohen | Professor of Political Science
Carole Beth Cox | Professor of Social Work
Jonathan M. Crystal | Associate Professor of Political Science, Associate Vice President and Associate Chief Academic Officer
Maddy Cunningham | Associate Professor of Social Work
Pearl Fisk | Adjunct Assistant Professor of Social Work
Warren Dana Holman | Clinical Professor of Social Work
Francesca Parmeggiani | Associate Professor of Italian and Comparative Literature
S. Elizabeth Penry | Assistant Professor of History
Aditya N. Saharia | Associate Professor of Information Systems
Kieran Scott | Associate Professor of Religious Education
Yvette Michelle Sealy | Associate Professor of Social Work
Daniel Soyer | Professor of History
Kirsten Swinth | Associate Professor of History and American Studies
David S.L. Wei | Professor of Computer and Information Science
Greg Winczewski | Lecturer of Economics, Director International Political Economy Program 

Archbishop Hughes Medal | Forty Years 

John M. Algieri | Director of Budget Development

Archbishop Hughes Medal | ​Twenty​ ​Years​

Bob Ahrens | Executive Sports Producer, WFUV 
Hopeton Campbell | Director of the Edward A. Walsh Digital Media Lab
Marcos Antonio Carrasco | Information Technology Analyst/Manager
Joan P. Cavanagh | Director of Interfaith Programs, Director of Campus Ministry at Westchester 
Rich Conaty | WFUV Host, The Big Broadcast
Frank A. DeOrio | Director of University Procurement
Aldo Di Vitto | Facilities Architect
Melissa D. Forston | Senior IT Business Analyst/Manager
Gloria L. Guzman | Assistant Director of Budget Operations
John C. Hurley Jr. | Technical Support Manager, University Libraries
Daniel Thomas Kiely | Director of Public Safety at Rose Hill
Michael Lambros | Caretaker, The Louis Calder Center
Yael Mandelstam | Head of Cataloging, T.J. & Nancy Maloney Law School Library
Kimberly M. McKeon | Senior Director of Development Research and Prospect Management
Jan Miner | Assistant Dean and Director of Field Instruction, Graduate School of Social Service and Adjunct Instructor of Social Work
Maureen Murray | Nurse Practitioner, University Health Services
Norma L. Pérez | Office Manager, Information Technology Department, School of Law
John Platt | Director of Communications, WFUV
Marguerite Power | Financial Aid Supervisor, Graduate School of Social Service
Eric J. Sanders | Senior Associate Academic Advisor for Student-Athletes
Michael J.K. Schiumo | Assistant Dean of Alumni Relations and Development, School of Law
Melissa L. Scriven | Assistant Director of Enrollment Services
Gilbert M. Stack | Director of Assessment and Accreditation, Gabelli School of Business
Melanie Teagle | Senior Designer, Office of Marketing and Communications
Wendy Viggiano | Enrollment Service Administrator – Technical Support
Richard A. Waite | Director of University Conference Services

Sursum Corda Award

Marc Christopher Canton | Director of University Transportation
Susan Bair Egan | Associate Dean and Director of the M.S.W. Program, Graduate School of Social Service
Aleksander Rebisz | Refrigeration Engineer


Patrick Verel is a news producer for Fordham Now. He can be reached at [email protected] or (212) 636-7790.