Twenty-eight dedicated employees were feted on March 4 for their longstanding service to Fordham at the University’s 2012 convocation.

Seventeen faculty members received the Bene Merenti medal recognizing 20 or 40 years of service in the classroom.  Eight university administrators received the Archbishop Hughes medal for completing 20 years of service in helping advance the mission of Fordham in their various departments.

Father McShane congratulates John Carroll, a.v.p. of campus safety and security, on 20 years’ service to Fordham. The president knew Carroll when he was a beat officer in Marble Hill. Photo by Bruce Gilbert

A special award for outstanding contributions to the University, the Sursum Corda, went to three employees: John Algieri, director of budget development, Susan Santangelo, director of faculty administration at Fordham Law, and John McDonagh, foreman in Facilities Operations at the Lincoln Center campus.

Collectively, the employees have given nearly 650 years of service to Fordham, said Monsignor Joseph G. Quinn, vice president for University mission and ministry.

“They are an example of how the ever noble mission of this great University has been lived out in generous, selfless and dedicated fashion one day at a time for decades,’ he said.

Some awardees have spent most, if not all, of their careers at Fordham. Santangelo began as a clerical worker in the Law School in 1960. Algieri, who began as a grant accounts officer 36 years ago, now directs the University’s budget development, where he has helped to create 30-plus consecutive balanced budgets for the University.

“It means working with vice presidents and the deans and the academic areas with the ultimate goal to make sure the numbers are balanced,” he said. “Every year is a new challenge. But Fordham—its people, and its atmosphere—is an accommodating place to work.”

In giving tribute to the employees’ service, Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham, invoked two favorite texts: a biblical passage from 1 Peter 2, , and another text describing the reconstruction of the foundations of  York Minster cathedral in England.

St. Peter, he said, exhorted his audience to, “Like living stones, be yourselves built into a spiritual house.”

In the York Minster text, the author reflected on how the foundations of the old cathedral, unseen for centuries, had sturdily supported the work of God.

Those texts, Father McShane said, captured the employees’ contributions almost exactly.

“Many of the men and women that we celebrate today labor quietly day by day to support the University and its students as we labor together in the vocation that we all share,” he said. “Their contributions are largely hidden from view.“

“But like the foundations of a cathedral, they are absolutely essential to our mission.

“You are not merely the foundation,” he continued. “You are in a very true sense the University itself. You are living stones. You endow our buildings, our classrooms, our walkways, with your love, devotion, wisdom and passion.”

On a lighter note, Father McShane singled out Archbishop Hughes medalist John Carroll, associate vice president for safety and security, whom he said he has known since his formative years: As a young beat officer patrolling in the 34th Marble Hill precinct some decades back, Carroll had more than once confiscated the young Joseph McShane’s stickball bat.

“I’m afraid my mother went to her grave wondering where all those bats went to – they were broom handles, which my mother had to go out and replace . . .”

The event was sponsored by the Office of the President. For a full listing of the honorees, see Fordham’s news blog.