Many donors are giving to the Trustee Diversity Fund and other scholarships for students from underrepresented groups to support greater on-campus diversity and inclusion, a central goal of the University’s $350 million fundraising campaign, Cura Personalis | For Every Fordham Student.

But some scholarship donors are advancing this goal through their focus on students from particular schools—like the Catholic schools in Fordham’s backyard.

One of the newest such efforts is the Cristo Rey‒Fordham Scholarship Fund, which supports Fordham students who graduated from schools in the Cristo Rey network. The fund’s initial gift came from Thomas Kelly, M.D., FCRH ’71, who sought to help students overcome financial need and receive a Jesuit education, which for him took place at Canisius High School in Buffalo, New York, and then at Fordham, with scholarship help.

“Those were important years for me, and therefore I’d like to see the next generation have that opportunity,” said Kelly, a member of the Fordham University President’s Council.

Schools in the Cristo Rey network serve students from lower-income backgrounds, providing a four-year corporate work-study program that helps pay their tuition. Nearly all Cristo Rey graduates at Fordham come from Cristo Rey New York High School in East Harlem. Kelly’s scholarship adds to Fordham’s own commitment, announced four years ago, to meet up to the full cost of tuition for students from the Cristo Rey network.

Bronx Catholic Schools ‘Feed’ Fordham

Further north, in the Bronx, are Catholic high schools with socioeconomically diverse students that have long been “feeder” schools for Fordham—educating many a first-generation Irish American like William Rockford, FCRH ’67, GSAS ’72. A “dayhop” student who commuted to Fordham and worked his way through, he established a scholarship to Fordham for students at his alma mater, All Hallows High School, seeking to help the less-advantaged students of today.

He and his wife have been contributing to the William D. and Beverly B. Rockford Endowed Scholarship for more than two decades. “I hope it helps out these kids that are probably very ambitious but couldn’t afford to get a good education,” he said.

Albert Salvatico, FCRH ’71, another Bronx native from a working-class background, established a scholarship with his wife, Jean, to enable graduates of his own alma mater, Cardinal Hayes High School, to come to the University. A believer in diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, he wanted to help students overcome socioeconomic barriers to a Fordham education.

So far, the scholarship has helped eight Hayes graduates do just that. “It’s been one of the more rewarding things of my life,” he said.

Learn more about Cura Personalis | For Every Fordham Student and make a gift.


Chris Gosier is research news director for Fordham Now. He can be reached at (646) 312-8267 or [email protected].