Enrollment at Fordham University includes more than 8,000 undergraduate students and 7,000 graduate students spread over three campuses in New York State: Rose Hill in The Bronx, Lincoln Center in Manhattan, and Westchester in West Harrison. The University also offers programs in the People's Republic of China and the United Kingdom. Fordham awards bachelor's (BA, BFA, and BS), master's, and doctoral degrees.
Fordham University is composed of four undergraduate colleges and six graduate schools, including the tier-1 Fordham Graduate School of Social Service and the particularly selective tier-1 Fordham School of Law.
Fordham is among the largest of the 28 member institutions in the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, and is home to a large Jesuit community of the New York Province.
Fordham University was founded as St. John's College in 1841 by the Irish-born Coadjutor Bishop (later Archbishop) of the Diocese of New York, the Most Reverend John Joseph Hughes. The College was the first Catholic institution of higher education in the northeastern United States. Bishop Hughes purchased Rose Hill Manor in the Bronx, then part of Westchester County, at $40,000 for the purpose of establishing the school. Rose Hill is the name given to the site in 1787 by Robert Watts, a wealthy New York merchant, in honor of his family's ancestral home of the same name in Scotland. His was married to Mary Alexander, the daughter of Major General William "Lord Stirling" Alexander, and Sara "Lady Sterling" Livingston of American Revolutionary War fame.
St. John's College opened with a student body of six on June 24, 1841. The Reverend John McCloskey (later Archbishop of New York, eventually to become the first American Cardinal) was its president, and the faculty were secular priests and lay instructors. The College was paired with a seminary, St. Joseph's, which had been founded in 1839 and was in the separate charge of Italian Lazarists (also known as "Vincentians"). St. Joseph's Seminary closed in 1861.
In 1846 St. John's College received its charter from the New York state legislature, and Bishop Hughes convinced a group of Jesuits in Kentucky to staff the new school. In 1847, Fordham's first school in Manhattan opened. In 1861, this school became the separate, chartered College of St. Francis Xavier.
With the addition in 1905 of a law school and a (now defunct) medical school, the name was changed to Fordham University in 1907 (despite the name of the original college, Fordham has never had any connection with St. John's University). The name Fordham ("ford by the hamlet") refers to the Fordham neighborhood of the Bronx in which the Rose Hill campus is located. This neighborhood was named either as a reference to the colonial settlement that was located near a shallow crossing of the Bronx River, or as a reference to Rev. John Fordham, an Anglican priest.
In 1908, Fordham University Press was established.
In 1912, the university opened a College of Pharmacy, which offered a three-year program in pharmacy and did not require its students to obtain bachelor's degrees until the late 1930s. The College had a mainly Jewish student body, and in recognition of that, students were exempt from the then-required course in Catholic theology. The College's longtime dean, Jacob Diner, was also Jewish.
In 1961, Fordham Law School opened at the new Lincoln Center campus -- the first building to open in the Lincoln Square Renewal Project.In 1969, the colleges at 302 Broadway were moved to the new Lowenstein Building on the Lincoln Center campus, and other colleges soon followed.
In 1969 the board of trustees was reorganized to include a majority of non-clergy members, and officially made the University an independent institution. The College of Pharmacy closed because of declining enrollment in 1972. Fordham College at Rose Hill became coeducational in 1974, as a result of the merger with Thomas More College (the University’s coordinate college for women opened in 1964).
Since its opening in 1968, the undergraduate college in Manhattan has had its name changed from "The Liberal Arts College" to "The College at Lincoln Center" and in 1996 to Fordham College at Lincoln Center. In 1993, a twenty-story residence hall was added to the campus to house 850 graduate and undergraduate students.
In August 2005, the University announced a multi-year, $1 billion proposed master plan to add of academic, student activities, and dormitory space to the Lincoln Center campus. The development of the campus will begin with the expansion of Quinn Library and the construction of a new Law School building, a new student center, a dormitory, and additional parking. Future phases of the development plan include the construction of new space for Fordham College of Liberal Studies, Fordham College at Lincoln Center, the Graduate School of Business, the Graduate School of Social Service, and the Graduate School of Education. In 2007, responding to unforeseen objections and concerns from the Upper West Side community, Fordham launched a "neighbors" site designed to answer community concerns about the Lincoln Center campus expansion.
The plans for the Lincoln Center campus are part of a university-wide plan to enhance the quality of education at Fordham in an effort to become the prominent and preeminent Catholic institution of higher learning in America. The first part of the strategic plan is entitled Toward 2016, with intent to achieve significant goals by the University's 175th Anniversary. The University pledged to make the consrtruction of a Law School and a science facility as the necessary first steps in that plan
In October 2005, the University's Board of Trustees declared that Marymount College would be phased out of the Institution by June 2007. The campus in Tarrytown, New York was, in part, home to Fordham's Graduate School of Religion & Religious Education and had ceased to be an undergraduate women's college. Officials cited financial infeasibility as the cause of the college's elimination. In September 2007 the administration announced that it was seeking a buyer for the Marymount campus, and that its programs would be moved to 400 Westchester Avenue in Harrison, New York by Fall 2008. University administration stated that the costs of operating the campus exceeded the University's needs.
In December 2007, the University established the Fordham Museum of Greek, Etruscan and Roman Art at its Rose Hill campus. The museum contains more than 200 relics from classical antiquity, ranging from Greek terra cotta vases to Roman marble heads to Etruscan urns. The museum was a gift from William D. Walsh, a 1951 graduate and founding chairman of Sequoia Associates. The museum is located at the William D. Walsh Family Library on the Rose Hill campus. It is the largest collection of its kind in the New York metropolitan area.
In April 2008, Fordham entered into an affiliation with Heythrop College, the Jesuit specialist Philosophy and Theology College of the University of London. Fordham will utilize a large portion of space at the college, which is located near Kensington Square, in central London. The University of London consortium of colleges consists of such institutions as King's College London, University College London, and the London School of Economics and Political Science. Fordham will also house its London Dramatic Academy, and College of Business Administration programs at Heythrop as well.
Fordham University's academic ideals are drawn from its Jesuit influences. The University promotes a Jesuit principle known as cura personalis, which fosters a faculty and administration respect for the individual student and their uniqueness, and the Jesuit principle magis which intends to inspire service and strive for excellence in all aspects of life, even beyond the academic.
Students are expected to complete the core (in their home school) by the end of sophomore year, with the exception of the Global, Pluralism, and Senior Values courses.
In 2008, U.S. News & World Report ranked Fordham 61st among national universities in the United States, up six places from the previous year. In the same year the Graduate School of Social Service was ranked 17th nationally by U.S. News & World Report, the Graduate School of Education was ranked 58th nationally, and also ranked the College of Business Administration 71st, up nine spots from 2007.
In 2008, BusinessWeek magazine ranked Fordham's College of Business Administration 27th nationally. Fordham grants degrees in the BIMBA program (Beijing International MBA) — the first foreign MBA degree to be approved by the Chinese Government and ranked #1 in China by Fortune Magazine.
Fordham University School of Law, the 15th most selective law school in the United States, is ranked 25th in the nation in the 2008 U.S. News & World Report law school rankings.
The Washington Monthly rankings, meant as a public-interest focused alternative to the U.S. News rankings, places Fordham at 50th in the nation, overall.
While not strictly a "ranking", the editors of Kaplan/Newsweek’s 2008 edition of How to Get Into College Guide included Fordham University as one of the “25 Hottest Schools in America”, with the title "Hottest Catholic School."
Fordham also participates in the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU)'s University and College Accountability Network (U-CAN).
The undergraduate Fordham College of Liberal Studies holds classes on all three New York campuses, utilizing the same faculty and curriculum as the other colleges in the University. In addition, the flexibility of multiple campuses facilitates options for both full-time and part-time study and unconventional scheduling, in order to accommodate students who are employed full-time or otherwise unable to take advantage of the offerings at Fordham's other, more centralized, undergraduate colleges.
The Rose Hill campus, established in 1841, is home to the undergraduate Fordham College at Rose Hill, the College of Business Administration, and a portion of the Fordham College of Liberal Studies as well as the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and the Graduate School of Religion & Religious Education. Located on 85 acres in the north Bronx, it is among the largest "open space campuses" in New York City. The campus is bordered by the New York Botanical Garden, the Bronx Zoo, and "Little Italy of the Bronx" on Arthur Avenue. Rose Hill's traditional collegiate Gothic architecture, cobblestone streets, and green expanses of lawn have been used as settings in a number of feature films over the years. Rose Hill is also home to the University Church, which was built in 1845 as a seminary chapel and parish church for surrounding farms. The gothic-style church is an official New York City landmark and contains the original altar from Old St. Patrick's Cathedral along with stained glass windows first intended as a gift by Louis-Philippe of France for the cathedral. Among the 15 campus dormitories are Fordham's three residential colleges: O'Hare Hall, Tierney Hall, and Queen's Court (the last, with its notable Bishop's Lounge, dates back to the days of St. John's College). Finlay Hall, now an upperclassman dormitory, was built in 1905 as home to the (since defunct) medical school,and later was home to the chemistry department for 47 years, until 1968. Another dormitory, Walsh Hall, was built facing the street as a condition of the loan Fordham received from New York City. If Fordham had defaulted on the loan, the city would have converted it into a housing project, however this did not occur, and the building's entrance still confusingly faces the street on the edge of the campus instead of the interior of the campus. Walsh Hall was formerly known simply as 555 due to its address: 555 E.191st Street. The campus is served by the Fordham station of the Metro-North Railroad (the tracks run along the boundary fence), with a southern terminus at Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan. Public transit buses stop adjacent to campus exits and New York City Subway stations are within walking distance. The University also provides a "Ram Van" shuttle service among the three residential campuses. About 6,284 undergraduates and graduates attend the Rose Hill campus, with 3,143 in residence.
The Lincoln Center campus, established in 1961, is home to the undergraduate Fordham College at Lincoln Center and a portion of Fordham College of Liberal Studies, as well as the School of Law, the Graduate School of Business Administration, the Graduate School of Education, and the Graduate School of Social Service. The eight-acre campus occupies the area from West 60th Street to West 62nd Street between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues, in the cultural heart of Manhattan. Across the street is one of the world's great cultural centers, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts; nearby are Central Park, Broadway, and Columbus Circle. The campus is served by public transit bus stops at the campus entrances, and by the New York City Subway at 59th Street–Columbus Circle station. The University also provides a "Ram Van" shuttle service among its three campuses.
About 8,000 undergraduate, graduate, professional, and doctoral students study at the Lincoln Center campus, where about 940 live in apartment-style housing. There are almost 1,800 undergraduates enrolled in Fordham College At Lincoln Center, with an additional 300 undergraduates in the Fordham College of Liberal Studies (at this campus), and the remainder comprise the graduate population. The Lincoln Center campus currently consists of the Leon Lowenstein Building, McMahon Hall dormitory, Gerald M. Quinn Library, and Fordham School of Law. Fordham offices are also housed at 33 W. 60th St and 888 W. 57th St. The Lincoln Center campus also has two outdoor basketball and tennis courts.
There are two open, grassy plazas at the Lincoln Center Campus, built over the Quinn Library, one level up from the street. The larger plaza was historically known as Robert Moses Plaza and once hosted a bust of its namesake on a barren cement landscape (lawns have since been added), and the smaller one is known as St. Peter's Garden. A memorial to Fordham students and alumni who died on 9/11 stands in St. Peter's Garden. According to Fordham's expansion plan, Robert Moses Plaza may be razed to make way for several new buildings.
Located north of New York City in Tarrytown, New York, the campus was home to a branch of Fordham College of Liberal Studies, as well as extensions of the graduate schools of education, social service, and business administration.
Marymount College graduated its final undergraduate class in May 2007, after Fordham University announced in 2005 that the college would be phased out. University administration announced that the campus would remain open for Fordham graduate programs in several disciplines. However, in the fall of 2007 the University announced its intention to seek buyers for the Marymount campus and move its programs to less expansive facilities elsewhere in Westchester. University administration stated that the expenses required to support the programs on campus far exceeded their demand. University officials estimate that the revenue gained from the proposed sale would not be greater than the expenses Fordham incurred maintaining and improving the campus since its merger with Marymount College. President Father McShane nonetheless stated that the University's decision was a "painful" one. Fordham then announced it's intention to move the remaining programs from the Marymount campus to a new location at 400 Westchester Avenue in Harrison, New York by Fall 2008. On February 17, 2008, Fordham announced the sale of the campus for $27 million to EF Schools, a chain of private language-instruction schools.
The new campus includes a three-story, building on 32 landscaped acres with a stream and pond. Fordham signed a 20-year lease for the new campus. The facilities include 26 newly designed classrooms featuring technological amenities such as "smart boards", teleconferencing capabilities, and newly installed seating and learning areas.
In addition, faculty offices and administrative support space, a library resource center, a food service facility, and meeting areas both indoor and outdoor for student sessions are available. Over $8 million was spent in renovation to provide the University with green building technology, including the design of academic facilities surrounding a large central courtyard.
This campus is served by the White Plains station of the Metro-North Railroad, approximately away in the county seat of White Plains, with a southern terminus at Grand Central Station in Manhattan. The White Plains station and the campus are both served by the Westchester County Bus System ("The Bee-Line"). In addition, the University offers a "Ram-Van" shuttle among the three campuses. Westchester County Airport is the closest to this campus, at a drive of approximately .
The London Dramatic Academy is currently headed by Richard Digby Day.
During the summer, the College of Business Administration holds marketing classes in the Center.
There are many student activities at Fordham, including the following.
The University supports 22 men's and women's varsity teams and a number of club teams, plus a significant intramural sports program. The Fordham Rams are members of NCAA Division I and compete in the Atlantic 10 Conference in all sports except football. In football, the Rams play in the Patriot League of NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision. The Rams were the 2002 Patriot League co-champions, and captured the 2007 Patriot League title outright.
Fordham athletics gained early fame for college football in the beginning of the 20th century, particularly with the success of the famous "Seven Blocks of Granite". In addition, the University launched the careers of dozens of professional baseball players, including a Hall of Fame inductee, Frankie Frisch, known by the further-alliterative nickname, "The Fordham Flash."
In 1982, the American Parliamentary Debate Association (APDA), Inc. was founded at Fordham, during a tournament called the "Fordham Fandango." FDS is still very active on APDA, and regularly places among the top teams in the country. The team competes weekly on APDA, but also occasionally attends international tournaments, ranking well in the World Universities Debating Championship standings.
Global Outreach! (commonly known as GO!), is a student led, university sponsored organization dedicated to educating students about issues of social justice and individual responsibility through service trips to global and domestic locations. Separate programs on each campus currently sponsor 27 annual trips ranging from Thailand to East New York, and dealing with such diverse issues as public health, affordable housing, migrant labor, and disaster relief.
The Military Science program is available to Fordham undergraduate and graduate students regardless of their course of study, as well as to students at over 50 other New York area colleges and universities. It includes the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program, as well as military science classes and extracurricular activities.
The Army ROTC Battalion at Fordham University has its roots training cadets in the late 1840s before it was officially established as a formal program in 1926. It has since been the Army ROTC headquarters for the New York City region. Among the notable graduates of the Fordham ROTC Battalion (though not necessarily of Fordham University) include former Secretary of State Colin Powell, four-star General John M. Keane, and at least four recipients of the Medal of Honor. The battalion has been distinguished as being in the top fifteen percent of the United State's Army ROTC programs.
The Philip H. McGrath House of Prayer is located in Goshen, NY, and is used exclusively for Fordham's Retreat Ministries The McGrath House is situated in a rural, residential area about seventy miles northwest of Fordham's Rose Hill campus.
The McGrath House has facilities for a large group of students and retreat coordinators to stay overnight while participating in a Fordham Retreat. Fordham Campus Ministry regularly hosts non-compulsory retreats at the McGrath House, including Emmaus, Kairos, Charis, Global Outreach Retreats, and other specialized retreats.
Among the notable people who have attended Fordham are:
Magenta was Fordham's original color, but Harvard used the same color. A series of baseball games between the two was to determine the right to use it. Harvard, despite having lost the competition, continued to use the color. Therefore, Fordham eventually changed its official color to maroon. (Harvard subsequently also abandoned magenta, though in favor of crimson.)
The ram evolved into Fordham's mascot and symbol from a slightly vulgar cheer that Fordham fans sang during an 1893 football game against the United States Military Academy at West Point. The students began cheering "One-damn, two-damn, three-damn...Fordham!" The song was an instant hit, but "damn" was later sanitized to "Ram" to conform to the university's image.
The "Victory Bell", which is mounted outside the Rose Hill Gym, is from the Japanese aircraft carrier Junyō. According to the plaque below the bell, it was recovered near Saipan where it was "silenced by an aerial Bomb." It was given to Fordham as a gift by Admiral Chester W. Nimitz "as a Memorial to Our Dear Young Dead of World War II." It was blessed by Cardinal Spellman, and "was first rung at Fordham by the President of the United States, the Honorable Harry S. Truman on May 11, 1946, the Charter Centenary of the University." It is rung by each Fordham senior player after victorious home football games and its ringing also marks the start of the commencement ceremonies each May. A small group of students rang the bell on the 50th anniversary of Pearl Harbor in honor of the war dead.
The men's and women's basketball teams, as well as the volleyball squad, play in the Rose Hill Gymnasium, the oldest gym still in use at the NCAA Division I level.
The Great Seal of Fordham University bears the Society of Jesus coat of arms at the center. The shield bears the Greek letters of the name Jesus, IHS, with the cross resting in the horizontal line of the letter "H", three nails beneath (evoking those used in the crucifixion of Jesus), all in gold in a field framed in maroon, the color of the University, with silver fleurs-de-lis (reminiscent of the French origin of the first Jesuit instructors) on the edge of the maroon frame. Around the shield, a scroll with the University's motto in latin, Sapienta et Doctrina (Wisdom and Learning), is etched. The scroll rests on a field in which tongues of fire are displayed, recalling the outpouring of the Holy Spirit of Wisdom that marked the first Pentecost. A laurel above the shield has engraved the names of the disciplines that were taught when the school was granted university status in 1907: arts, science, philosophy, medicine, and law. Surrounding the entire seal is a heraldic belt, which has engraved the name of the school in Latin, Universitas Fordhamensis, and year of founding.
Since 1910, when the Rev. Edward P. Tivnan, SJ, installed a seismograph in the basement of the administration building at the Rose Hill Campus, Fordham has been the site of the oldest seismic station in New York City. William Spain Seismic Observatory has since measured much of the world's natural and unnatural trembling, including earthquakes, China's first atomic explosion in 1964, and local subway trains.
The station opened in 1924 and sits at the edge of Edward's Parade in the center of the campus, next to Freeman Hall, home of the department of physics. It is named in honor of a physics student who died in 1922 and whose father donated the funds to build the station.
Fordham College at Rose Hill annually stages an Encaenia on an evening near the conclusion of the academic year. Faculty, administrators, and students process in academic regalia to a ceremony where candidates for degrees at the current year's commencement are presented awards and honors. The ceremony includes a sentimental speech by the college's valedictorian, as well as the traditionally more humorous yet equally endearing speech by the honorary "Lord" or "Lady of the Manor" selected for the evening.
Fordham's school song is "Alma Mater Fordham":
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