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A History and Memoir, Revised Edition

Raymond Schroth

Publication Year: 2008

Fordham University is the quintessential American-Catholic institution-and one now looked upon as among the best Catholic universities in the country. Its story is also the story of New York, especially the Bronx, andFordham's commitment to the city during its rise, fall, and rebirth. It's a story of Jesuits, soldiers, alumni who fought in World Wars, chaplains, teachers, and administrators who made bold moves and big mistakes, ofpresidents who thought small and those who had vision. And of the first women, students and faculty, who helped bring Fordham into the 20th century. Finally it's the story of an institution's attempt to keep its Jesuitand Catholic identity as it strives for leadership in a competitive world. Combining authoritative history and fascinating anecdotes, Schroth offers an engaging account of Fordham's one hundred thirrty-seven years-here, updated, revised, and expanded to cover the new presidency of Joseph M. McShane, S.J., and the challenges Fordham faces in the new century.

Published by: Fordham University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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Table of Contents

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pp. vii

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pp. ix

My list of people to thank is long. For inspiration, one who most stands out appears in these pages. Joseph R. Frese, S.J., was my mentor from my arrival at Fordham when I served his daily Mass on the fourth floor of Dealy Hall. He gave me my topic for my first book, The Eagle and Brooklyn, concelebrated my first Mass, ...

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pp. x-xi

I do a lot of my thinking on long runs and bike rides, so it was on a ride along the New Jersey shore in the summer of 1996, with my biography, The American Journey of Eric Sevareid (1995) behind me, that I decided to try to tell the story of Fordham. ...

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pp. xii-xxx

The bright Sunday-in-May dawn breaks over the Bronx. It is 6:30, but much of the campus has been up all night, and some who would have liked to sleep later had been awakened at 4:30 by the mad clanging of the old ship’s bell of the aircraft carrier Junyo. Presented by Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, ...

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1 Michael Nash Arrives

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pp. 1-20

When young Michael Nash and his five companions climbed down from their New York and Harlem Railroad car at the Fordham station on Sunday evening, August 9, 1846, he was not quite twenty-one years old, the age at which today most Bronx Fordham graduates are heading for law school or graduate study ...

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2 A Visit from Mr. Poe

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pp. 21-42

In the 1950s, on the corner of 190th Street and Webster Avenue, parallel to the old New York and Harlem Railroad (later, N.Y. Central) tracks and the Third Avenue elevated subway tracks that clattered up the western border of Fordham campus at that time, stood a bar called Poe’s Raven. It was not the most popular college ...

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3 Brownson, Hughes, and Shaw

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pp. 43-62

Little Robert Gould Shaw is mad. He’s a fiery, precocious, headstrong young fellow with, at thirteen, a strong sense of right and wrong—particularly when he feels that he himself has been wronged. This October 20, 1850, he’s sitting in the St. John’s College study hall, his head down over his work, ...

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4 Michael Nash Goes to War

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pp. 63-81

Robert Gould Shaw returned to his family estate on Staten Island in the summer of 1856.The family had moved there some years before in order to be near his mother’s eye specialist. A tutor, whom Shaw referred to as “the Crammer,” was hired to prepare him for the Harvard entrance examination. With an exaggerated estimate ...

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5 Jimmy Walsh Gets Started

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pp. 82-105

Little Jimmy Walsh—thirteen years old, born the year the Civil War ended—had, then in his second semester at St. John’s, never been flogged, but he had heard about those who had been. He wrote to his parents on March 4, 1879, in one of his very frequent but very short obligatory reports, that there had been quite a stir ...

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6 Becoming a University

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pp. 106-131

One winter Saturday in 1999, I took three young women from my Books That Changed America course, in which we had been reading Jacob Riis’s How the Other Half Lives, to visit the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, an old row house on Orchard Street with three apartments restored to resemble the crowded flats ...

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7 “We’ll Do, or Die”

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pp. 132-156

What most of today’s Fordham students know about World War I they have picked up from an introductory American history course, assuming they take American history to fulfill the sophomore history requirement rather than taking Asian, ancient, medieval, or Latin American history. ...

Image plates

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8 Gannon Takes Charge

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pp. 157-180

In 1957, as young Jesuits at the novitiate at St. Andrew-on-Hudson, right next to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Hyde Park estate, many of us heard Fr. Robert I. Gannon’s voice long before we ever saw his face. Gannon, former president of Fordham (1936–49), was one of our novice master’s heroes, and one of Fr. Martin Neylon’s ...

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9 From Oedipus to Dachau

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pp. 181-201

President Roosevelt’s Monday, October 28, 1940, visit to Fordham is a day that will live in irony and ambiguity. According to Gannon’s account, FDR’s campaign manager, pressed by Republican candidate Wendell Willkie’s surge in strength, called on him at the height of the fall campaign to request an honorary degree ...

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10 Lou Mitchell Meets G. Gordon Liddy

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pp. 202-226

When J. Harding Fisher was a student at Fordham in the early 1890s, the president was Fr. Thomas Gannon, a man with none of the oratorical gifts of his famous successor, but with his own dry view of the world, which he delivered annually to his boys after the reading of grades before vacation: ...

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11 Football Loses, Courtney Wins

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pp. 227-246

The theater is both the largest and smallest of worlds, and what may have stunned a corner of the Rose Hill campus was but a blip on the screen in the daily lives of young men and women who, often holding down full-time jobs, commuted to Fordham’s downtown schools at 302 Broadway. ...

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12 Jesuits and Women

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pp. 247-263

One summer afternoon in 1998, I biked from Mitchell Farm, Fordham’s Jesuit villa house in Mahopac, Westchester County, to the little town of Shrub Oak about a half-hour south of Mahopac. There I pedaled laboriously to the top of a steep country road called Stony Street, where a vast four-winged ...

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13 Leo

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pp. 264-290

Sometime during the 1969–70 academic year, Leo McLaughlin, who had lost the Fordham presidency in December 1968, and taken the position of chancellor, came up to me in the Loyola Hall recreation room during drinks before dinner with some personal news. “I’m telling you this because it’s something you might ...

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14 The War at Home

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pp. 291-308

“I am a Fordham graduate, class of 1962, and I am proud of it. I am also an American. Of this too I am very proud.” In October 1965, Lt. Daniel F. Garde sat in his officers’ quarters near Saigon and worked on an unusual letter home. He had heard that college students had been demonstrating against American policy ...

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15 The Bronx Is Burning

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pp. 309-337

Dawn Cardi, TMC, ’73, is a Manhattan criminal lawyer. When we spoke in November 1999, she had just finished setting up a witnessprotection program not just for a witness but for his whole family. She lives happily with her second husband and their two sons and daughter in Riverdale, a few miles and thirty years ...

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16 Identity Reconsidered

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pp. 338-359

We don’t know who he is.We do know he is up to no good. He drives cautiously up the New York State Thruway toward a state park in Rockland County, a nightmarish thirty-five-mile trip in the night with the snow “beating relentlessly against the windshield.” A state trooper has rushed by him, ...

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Epilogue: A Millennium’s Last Class

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pp. 360-372

The New York Province used to send Jesuit scholastics who were teaching high school to summer graduate classes at Fordham. In 1962, I took a course on John Henry Newman from Francis X. Connolly. I did not know then that Connolly had been at Fordham since the 1930s, that he had been a major figure ...

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Epilogue II: Eight Years Later

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pp. 373-375

When freshman Taylor Maier arrived in 2007 he felt he had a lot to live up to. His older brother Drew had entered two years before and had a high GPA. His mother, Joyce, and father, Newsday investigative reporter Tom Maier, class of ’78, had been married in the Fordham chapel about 100 feet from his dorm room. ...

Chronology of Fordham

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pp. 376-388

Notes and Sources

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pp. 389-403

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 404-412


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pp. 413-426

E-ISBN-13: 9780823247226
Print-ISBN-13: 9780823229772
Print-ISBN-10: 0823229777

Page Count: 300
Publication Year: 2008

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Subject Headings

  • Fordham University -- History.
  • Fordham University -- Biography.
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