Friday, October 14, 2011

We are the FCAA

As the current President of the Fordham College Alumni Association, I have the unique honor of leading a group of very talented directors, who collectively represent the College’s alumni across the country and around the world. Founded in 1905 as a New York State Domestic Not-For-Profit Corporation, the association continues to have an important and relevant impact on future as well as current alumni.

For future alumni (or our current students) the association provides financial support in the form of several endowed scholarships, research grants, and the Rev. George McMahon, S.J. Travel Fellowship. In addition physical gifts, such as the furnishings on Keating Hall’s lounge, are ever present reminders of the associations’ commitment to Fordham.

Historically, the University’s Founder’s Dinner as well as Dean’s Day, can be traced back to the associations’ efforts. More recently, items like co-events with the Mimes and Mummers Alumni Association and WFUV (for their 60th Anniversary), demonstrate the organic relationship between our alumni, the association and the College. We will be continuing that legacy with upcoming events and more programming on the near future.

Finally, my thanks to the entire FCAA Board, with special thanks to Kristin Nazario one of our most active directors, for giving the association the venue for our voice. Keep those posts coming, and Go Rams!

Rich Platoni
President FCAA

Thursday, October 13, 2011

TMC's Barbara Lenk to Massachusetts Supreme Court

Just want to extend congratulations to fellow alum Barbara A. Lenk (TMC ’72, magna cum laude), who was appointed Associate Justice of Massachusetts’ Supreme Judicial Court. Since 1995, Barbara served as a justice on the Massachusetts Appeals Court. Quite a history since graduation. After establishing her credentials at Rose Hill in spectacular fashion, Barbara received her doctorate in political philosophy from Yale University, and then her Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School (but we know where she got her start). When she heard the news, former TMC Dean Jean Murphy could not stop kvelling—and that’s the only way to describe it.

WFUV Manager's Retirement Provokes Discussion Among Fordham Radio Alumni

WFUV's home remains in Keating Hall, but little else
has remained the same since the 80's.
by Debra Caruso Marrone

Those of us who are alumni of WFUV, particularly those from the 70's and 80's took issue with comments by the recently retired general manager of the station, Ralph Jennings.

Jennings was the subject of a New York Times story by Jim Dwyer, a Fordham alum who was editor of The Ram.  Dwyer plied accolades on Jennings for the station's transformation from a student run operation with a modest listenership and a meager budget to a major metropolitan station with a greatly expanded audience and lots more money.

From an outsider's point of view, Jennings did just that and deserves credit.  The station, which had been operated on a shoestring, now competes with the bigs in the market.

But that's only part of the story.  What the former GM told the Times, an incredibly public forum, was wrong.

“You had a 50,000-watt radio station in New York City that covers 13 million people, acting as a sandbox,” Dr. Jennings told the newspaper.  Dwyer chimed in:  "When he arrived at Fordham in 1985 as the general manager, WFUV (90.7), in the tradition of college radio, featured student rock shows that were long on charm, guitar solos and shout-outs to the dudes back in the dorm."       

NOT TRUE responded a number of FUV alumni who joined a heated discussion on the WFUV Alumni Facebook page, some now noted broadcasters and journalists in their own right.

"To call FUV a 'sandbox' when we ran it is a total insult from Jennings and completely untrue," said one such alum.  "Plus, Dwyer saying that we had 'shout-outs to the dudes in the dorms' is utterly ridiculous. Perhaps we weren't such a 'professional' station as Jennings wanted us to be before he stepped in, but we accomplished a great deal and contrary to what he says, we were very professional in many ways... That's just complete arrogance on his part."

Another said:   "The article makes the era preceding Dr. Jennings arrival sound like Romper Room. We all know that is NOT the case."

And yet another:  "I think it has been made quite clear by those of us who were students at Fordham and active participants at WFUV in the 1970's that we were coming up with innovative programs, providing news, sports, music and entertainment that reached - and were supported by - listeners in the metro area. It was a wonderful experience."

I, too, worked at WFUV during the late 70's and early 80's as a member of the board of directors, first as news director and later as promotion director.

From the moment I walked through the door on the third floor of Keating Hall (the station now resides in bigger, better studios on the basement level), still 17 years old, it was drilled into me:  "This is a professional radio station; we have 50,000 far-reaching watts of power.  There are thousands of listeners throughout New York, New Jersey and Connecticut."  And most of all, we were reminded that the station was governed by the Federal Communications Commission and if we didn't abide by the rules laid down by the Communications Act of 1939, we risked losing Fordham University's license to operate a radio entity on the public airwaves.

There was no joking around on the air.  There were no "shout-outs." Any goofiness was consistent with what other radio stations did and still do.

More importantly, we students did everything we could to learn how to be professionals before we were even allowed to be on the air.

We took diction lessons.  We attended workshops.  We applied for FCC licenses to enable us to take transmitter meter readings, the gateway to hosting a music program.  We reported the news from such locations as national political conventions, presidential election headquarters, City Hall and more.

Being on the air was regarded as a great privilege, one not taken for granted.

I shouldn't have to repeat the names of the many FUV'ers who went on to great radio and television greatness.  There are so many.  I'd hate to leave anyone out, but readers should feel free to add names in the comments section.

Ralph Jennings should take credit for his accomplishments.  WFUV now has a professional staff featuring its own breed of notable broadcast professionals.  The studios are amazing and the programming is top notch.

But, his efforts to remove the station's amateur, though not childish status, also meant the removal of a hands-on tool that contributed to the experience and skill set of so many successful individuals, in and out of the media arena.  And to insult those individuals did no service to them or to his own reputation.

All the best to Ralph and I wish him a long and happy retirement.  I wish, though, he hadn't used The New York Times, arguably the loudest, most listened to voice in the world, to disparage the work of so many great alumni of WFUV, which by the way stands for Fordham University's Voice.

Debra Caruso Marrone, owner of DJC Communications in New York City, is a member of the Fordham College Alumni Association Board of Directors.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Executive Leadership Series - Young Alumni 18 October

Join other Fordham young alumni for a night of hors d'oeuvres, cocktails and conversation with a variety of distinguished leaders from among Fordham's President's Council. For more information on this group, visit

Breakout groups will be formed on topics critical to both career and life success. The event will end with open networking, allowing young alumni to spend additional time engaging with the mentors.

Dress code: Recommended dress code is business attire.

Engagement -Underscored in the President’s Council brochure, making magis a living ideal is at the root of the Council’s mission. Magis, meaning “more, to a greater extent,” is a core principle of Jesuit education fully embraced by the President’s Council through its leadership financial support, mentoring, and guest lecturing. Each of the engagement opportunities below supports students striving to reach their full potential, advancing their intellectual and personal development. Please consider how you can best participate.

For more information-Tim Dinneen at (212) 636-7068 or

Fordham hosts a science alum, son of the BX and Dean of Stanford School of Med

"One of the nation’s leading medical school deans spoke frankly of the need for America’s future doctors to change course in practice and research, in order to sidestep a looming healthcare debacle.

Highlighting a Fordham University event on Oct. 6, Philip A. Pizzo, FCRH ’66, dean of Stanford Medical School and a practicing physician for nearly five decades, praised the funding of broad scientific research, which, he said, often leads to important medical discoveries with multiple applications."

Many seats filled by pre-med and chem students from Rose Hill . Introductions by President McShane , Provost Freeman , Dean Latham . Other faculty and administration were in attendance as well as Board Members J.Tognino and P. Guenther( and respective spouses) . Great alumni event (turnout and response could have been better.)
read more

Monday, October 10, 2011

Reflections of Fordham by a new FCAA member

I am one of the newer members of the FCAA board. I attended my first meeting last month and look forward to the next meeting later this week. I am still learning about the prestigious organization that I have joined and the legacy that we are charged with maintaining.

As I walked on campus for the first time in a number of years, I found myself transported in time. I am sure that the young students and the faculty who passed by me thought perhaps I was crazy. I found myself smiling, no beaming as I recalled taking the very same steps more years ago than I would like to own to. I realized how much my Fordham education meant to me and how my life evolved because of it. Can I remember the details of my classes? Vaguely yes, but what I do remember was Fordham's promise to teach students how to think. Fordham was the foundation that I have bulit my life and career on. Throughout the years the one constancy has been my ability to think.

I want to be able to play a part in making this a reality for other young people who are very much as I was 30 years ago: fresh, vibrant, ready to take on the world but needing the polish and credibility that a liberal arts education can provide.

I am also a graduate of the HEC Paris and I would like to see Fordham adopt a philosophy similar to theirs. It is a fact that once you graduate from the HEC you can call on any other alum and they will take your call using the familiar "tu" not "vous". I think we all do bond as fellow alumni, but let's make it the Fordham "Tu".

Thank you Rich and fellow board members for allowing me to join you.