John N. Tognino (FCLS ’75), chairman of the Fordham Board of Trustees and his wife, Norma, have made a $3.5 million gift to the University and the Great Hall at Duane Library on the Rose Hill campus was renamed in their honor, the University announced on Friday, Oct. 12.

“John and Norma Tognino’s longstanding service and generosity to Fordham have been nothing short of remarkable,” said Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham University. “They have been tireless supporters of the University’s mission, and our achievements are rightly considered their achievements, as well.  Indeed, we are proud to count to them as members of the Fordham family, and proud that the Great Hall will now bear their names.”

Joseph M. McShane, S.J., Norma Tognino and John N. Tognino, at the Archbishop Hughes Society Dinner. Photo by Chris Taggart

The gift and renaming of the second-floor facility was announced in the Great Hall during the inaugural Archbishop Hughes Society Dinner for some of the University’s largest benefactors.

“We are grateful for this opportunity to say thank you to Fordham ” said Tognino, chairman and chief executive officer of the Pepper Financial Group. “We are honored to be joining the Archbishop Hughes Society. It is difficult to express what this means to our family but suffice it to say we always cherish tonight. Norma and I both hope that we can, in a small way, help Fordham fulfill its mission and insure continuing generations of students the opportunity to pursue their dreams.”

Tognino spent 36 years at Merrill Lynch & Co., where he held numerous positions, including managing director for global equities and managing director for international equities.

After retiring from Merrill Lynch in 1993, Tognino served as president and chief executive officer of the Security Traders Association and executive vice president of capital markets and trading at Charles Schwab & Co. In 1991, Tognino was appointed executive vice president of global sales and member affairs at NASDAQ.

Over the years, Tognino has maintained strong ties to his alma mater, serving as chairman of Fordham’s Board of Directors and the Executive Committee since 2004 and establishing the Tognino Family Scholarship, which provides financial support to Fordham College of Liberal Studies and College of Business Administration students, and the Tognino Endowment for Disability Services, which supports special-needs students.

The $3.5 million gift by the Togninos comes in the wake of other large donations in recent months. In March, E. Gerald Corrigan (GSAS ’65, ’71), Ph.D., made a $5 million gift to fund initiatives at both Fordham College at Rose Hill and the Graduate School of Business Administration. And Fordham Law School announced last winter that James Leitner (LAW ’82) and his wife, Sandra, had made a $3.1 million gift to establish a second Leitner Family Chair in International Human Right and fund other initiatives.

The facility that will now be known as the John and Norma Tognino Hall had been the main floor of Fordham’s library. For more than 70 years, Duane Library served as an architectural and intellectual centerpiece of the Rose Hill campus. The building was closed in 1997 when the William D. Walsh Family Library opened, and renovation of the building began shortly thereafter.

Although Duane Library is not an official city landmark, it was treated as such during its three-year, $12 million restoration. The building was reopened in May of 2004 and now houses the Department of Theology, the Office of Admission, the Curran Center for American Catholic Studies, a visitors’ center, lecture rooms and a University Commons.

In 2005, the New York Landmarks Conservancy awarded Fordham a Lucy G. Moses Preservation Project Award for excellence in historic preservation for its renovation of Duane Library. A venue for conferences and lectures, the second-floor hall features a 47-foot-high sloped ceiling and a stained-glass window designed to represent the Jesuit tradition of education.