Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Fordham University - perhaps the last stop in our arduous, amazing, agonizing college search.

I'm sorry it's been so long since I last posted.  I have been embroiled in motherly duties, helping my daughter wade through oodles of College brochures, facts, figures and websites to find the place she will call home for the next four years.  As a parent, I am supposed to guide her objectively, steer but not interfere, keep my emotional ambivalence with this stage in her life under wraps and insure we can actually foot the bill.  Our oldest is a sophomore in college now and with two more future college students in the wings, that affordability issue is a big one. 
Keating Hall
Fordham University

We've spent the last few weeks trekking from one admitted students day to the next and I'm a little surprised, but happy that Fordham University has made the short list.  We're down to 2 or 3 schools at this point.  I can't say how this will turn out come May 1st, but as you know, our family does have a history at this very old and prestigious institution.

My grandfather, Thomas F. Hennessy (1899-1954) graduated from Fordham University in 1922 after serving on the Students Army Training Corp at Fordham in 1918. 

Thomas won his own scholarship for $100 towards 
tuition and $100 for maintenance in 1921.  He graduated from Fordham Law School in 1925 and served as a member of the Fordham Law School faculty. He is memorialized in 1954 in "The Advocate," a publication of the Alumni Assoc. of Fordham Law School.  After graduating, Thomas went on to serve as a vice chairman of the Westchester County Democratic committee.

Our first visit to Fordham last summer did not go so well.  My daughter, who teeters between being agnostic and atheist, was immediately turned off by this decidedly religious institution as well as a perceived lack of diversity.  She was also intimidated by the stately, looming buildings in spite of their architectural beauty.  Our family heritage was inconsequential to her. No, this was not her kind of school!  

As she continued her search, Fordham's academic offerings and reputation as well as it's proximity to Manhattan drew her back in.  Thus, when they offered her a scholarship, it seemed worthy of another look.  Sure enough, a year later and a whole lot wiser, she found the beauty and history of Fordham inviting and engaging.  I thought all might be lost on my-so-not-into-sports kid when the President devoted much of his speech to Fordham's affiliation with the Yankees, taunting Mets and Red Sox fans.  Yet, when the Father began to talk about Fordham's mission to create graduates who are "bothered" by injustice and the tough questions and issues of our time, it resonated loudly, like the crack of the bat hitting a walk off home run.

1935 Fordham University
 Founded as St. John's College in 1841
The name was changed
to Fordham in 1907
The Law school and
Medical Schools opened in 1905

As for the Catholic tradition of Fordham, she's standing firm on her agnostic-atheist fence.  It could be interesting for her to debate spirituality at Fordham with those infinitely more versed in the subject than I.   Of course I understand her position, having gone through my own period of exploration and I would expect nothing less from her.  She hates it when I tell her that though, feeling it invalidates her position, as if it's just a phase.  And she's right.  This is her journey and whose to say what discoveries she'll make and where she will end up.  But, for the next four years, I wouldn't mind her being in the Bronx, less than an hour away! 

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