Fordham Club: Interviews

Interview with Fordham Club Member Sean Radomski, FCRH ’11

What position(s) did you hold while a student member of the Fordham Club?
Other than the President, we did not have any set committees or positions in the Fordham Club. I was, however, one of four students that Dean Latham asked to give a speech concerning my experiences at Fordham and how the University helped me grow as a person. I delivered this speech at the spring gathering of current students and alumni at the American Irish Historical Society. I was also very active in encouraging members to attend social events to further the fraternal aspect of Fordham Club. These included parties at members’ apartments, holiday parties, and the tours of the clock tower/tunnels.

What position(s) did you hold while a member of the Fordham Club?
For my first three years, I was the Fordham College at Rose Hill 2011 United Student Government (USG) secretary/treasurer. During my senior year, I moved up and was elected Fordham College a Rose Hillt 2011 USG president. While serving as class president, I was appointed election commission chair and vice chair of the first ever Fordham College Academic Dean’s Council. I was also active in College Republicans and was part of the committee that brought Newt Gingrich to campus during my sophomore year.

Can you speak briefly about your experiences with the Fordham Club?
The Fordham Club serves as an honors society, advisory council, and fraternity. For me, the fraternal aspect is the best experience. Although I had made many friends from the residence halls, classes, and student government, being selected for the Fordham Club allowed me to become close with a diverse group of student leaders whom I would not have met otherwise. I felt a special bond with the other 29 members from my class because we wanted to not only spend time together socially, but also help each other with our classwork and student life activities. Now that I have graduated, the Fordham Club allows me to stay connected with the dean in an effort to strengthen both the Fordham Club and Fordham as a whole. It also allows me to stay in touch with friends from my year and to make new friends with the current student members.

What activities and projects did the Fordham Club work on your year?
In addition to advising Dean Latham on a number of policy topics, the Class of 2011 Fordham Club was heavily involved in community service. In an effort to give back to the surrounding neighborhood, my fellow club member Paulina Fagan worked with Part of the Solution (POTS) to spearhead Halloween and Easter projects for local Bronx children. For Halloween 2010, the Fordham Club organized a haunted house in the Martyrs’ Hall Common Lounge where kids came to experience a fright and then joined up in the smaller lounges for Halloween activities. For Easter 2011, Paulina worked with POTS to set up Easter activities for kids in McGinley Second.

How did these activities, projects, and experiences contribute to what you do now?
Being in an organization with so many friends committed to giving back definitely influenced my decision of what law school to attend. As I explained in the speech at the American Irish Historical Society, my time at Fordham led me to choose William & Mary Law School in part because of its “citizen lawyer” ideal. Coined by George Wythe, the nation’s first law professor and signer of the Declaration of Independence, this ideal encourages William & Mary graduates to not only be lawyers, but to use our law degrees to give back through pro bono work, community service, or public service. I have recently tried to channel this ideal and the spirit of the POTS community service projects by initiating the Chris Creech Memorial Fund in honor of my friend, the William & Mary associate registrar who recently lost her battle with cancer. A classmate and I are currently attempting to raise $10,000 to build a park bench memorial in Chris’ honor. She was one of the most selfless and loving people we have ever met, and we hope that the memorial will keep her spirit alive and encourage others to live as she did.

How did these activities, projects, and experiences contribute to what you do now?
I think the best way that Fordham Club alumni can give back is to help both current students and other alumni to network and make professional connections. One thing that has become increasingly clear since I graduated from both Fordham and William & Mary is that it is important to do well academically and in the work place, but it is equally important to have a broad network of contacts. Each year, the Fordham Club selects the thirty brightest and most involved juniors from around 700 Fordham College at Rose Hill students. Since graduating, Fordham Club members have gone on to top graduate schools and exciting careers. Alumni possess a wealth of knowledge and can help the current student members hit the ground running once they graduate.

Is there anything else that has not been mentioned that you would like to include that may give us a sense of the club's past purpose and projects?
All I can say is that I really hope the current Fordham Club students find that enormous box of fezzes in time for inductions. Sara Kugel, Paulina Fagan, Kasia Laskowski, and I really, really want the fez tradition to continue!!!

Interview with past Fordham Club member and Fordham University Law Dean Robert Reilly, FCRH ’72

What position(s) did you hold while a member of the Fordham Club?
Member. I think the only positions were chairman, secretary/treasurer, and pledge master.

What other activities and leadership positions were you involved in on campus?
Director of the American Age lecture series, member of the Fordham University Glee Club, and various intramural sports.

Can you speak briefly about your experiences with the Fordham Club?
The pledge period was tremendously creative in the things we were assigned to accomplish—mostly in secret but sometimes quite publicly—including a talent show in the McGinley Center. It took a good deal of self confidence to complete some of these tasks with your dignity intact. It was very effective in building a sense of connection and community among our members in a very brief period of time. We, as seniors, made it a point as a group to support the many activities on campus—lectures, art shows, theatrical productions, football and basketball games, political forums. We encouraged our circle of friends to attend these events with us. I met wonderful friends through the Fordham Club, many of whom I did not know before the pledge period. I am now the godfather to some of their children, I have attended many of their weddings, and I always look forward to seeing them at alumni events. There is at least one member of the club that I am in email contact with several times a week. We share a special bond.

What activities and projects did the Fordham Club work on your year?
Besides what I mentioned earlier, on occasion we were asked to act as tour guides for prospective students. (This was before there was a formal program conducted through the Admission Office). I recall being a speaker at Orientation for Transfer and Visiting students and helping them to fit into the Fordham College community. The act of speaking on behalf of the college is a very transformative experience. I also recall being asked to attend a dinner when the dean was making connections with some alumni.

How did these activities, projects, and experiences contribute to what you do now?
My appreciation for the talents and abilities of others was developed in a special way through the Fordham Club. It caused me to look beyond my own areas of interest and appreciate the other nine schools of Fordham University, and to pay attention to the talents Fordham faculty members who were not in my major or on my class schedule.  Membership also gave me a perspective to appreciate the talents of my classmates. It gave me a great appreciation of other colleges and universities and how they have met their own challenges, an understanding that continues to this day. Being an observer of the college scene is a very enjoyable pastime. And all of this is part of my current work. Part of my responsibilities as the director of the American Age Lecture Series was to be aware of current affairs, bring interesting speakers to campus, create marketing and publicity for the program, and to act as master of ceremonies at many lectures. Today I am a frequent public speaker myself.

In what ways do you think you and other Fordham Club alumni would like to give back to Fordham Club?
I want to emphasize again that the purpose of the Fordham Club is to develop those who want to give back to Fordham College, not merely to the Fordham Club. That said, I feel tremendous affection for those who have had the Fordham Club experience, particularly if it has caused them to grow to appreciate the gifts and talents of others, and that very special place that is Fordham—the Jesuit University of New York. I am sure that alumni would be delighted to participate in structured conversations on careers, personal growth, finance, etc. for the benefit of Fordham College at Rose Hill students. We can help the dean build a structure for internships, mentoring, or programming.