Living and Learning Together

In the Manresa Scholars Program, Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH) students each take one of our five FCRH Manresa seminars, in disciplines such as History, Mathematics, Theology, Biology, and Philosophy.

Taking class with those with whom you live creates an interactive and specialized experience for Scholars as well as for each Manresa professor. Each professor also serves as the academic advisor (called the “Core Advisor”) for the members of their class, allowing them to understand students’ passions and strengths on a deeper level.


During a recent FCRH Manresa Core Advising group meeting, students discussed their academic achievements, as well as challenges that they’ve experienced thus far in the transition from high school to college life. A common theme was the sense of well-roundedness and self-reflection that Manresa Scholars felt in their academic lives. Manresa Scholars understand that their membership in the Program, paired with Ignatian values emphasized in their Manresa courses and events, allow them to draw unique connections between all of their courses. Manresa advisors were impressed with the initiative that the Scholars displayed, especially considering that it is only their third week on campus.

As Scholars continue to engage in Shared Expectations programs and expand their knowledge in their Manresa seminars, we are excited to see how they grow as individuals and as a community.

Lindsey Register, FCRH 2020
Manresa Programming & Marketing Fellow, 2017-2018


Of Manresa and Midterms

Being a Manresa Scholar was tough. The Shared Expectations, the Manresa seminar, the extracurricular programs—certainly not a walk in the park. But would I have wanted my freshman year to go any other way? Not a chance. And I suspect, by the end of this year, neither will anyone from the Manresa Class of 2021.

I remember sitting in the O’Keefe Study Commons on the eve of Dean Parmach’s philosophy mid-term. A sprawl of handouts and notes covered the table before me. I had inhaled so much Philosophy that I felt about 99% confident. I got up to finally call it a night, but something stopped me—that 1% of uncertainty: What if that’s one of the questions? What if that’s what the entire test is on? The possibility haunted me and I had to choose: sleep or certainty. And though I tried my best, certainty won out. I studied, skimmed, and searched that last concept until I couldn’t keep my eyes open.

The next morning, I sat in my desk with a glint of sleep deprivation and determination in my eye. Dean Parmach placed a test in front of me and I began to read. And guess what: That 1% I studied an extra hour for? That small, specific piece of knowledge I dissected so carefully? Nowhere on the test. Zero mention. Suffice it to say, I was a tad peeved, but it was a good thing I had prepared the other 99% of knowledge. It turned out just fine.

It takes a special type of relentless perseverance to thrive in Manresa: a meticulous work ethic paired with an unslakable sense of curiosity. It’s that very drive that propelled you to apply to and ultimately be accepted into the program; resolve and resourcefulness define Manresa Scholars. The Manresa Scholars Program imbues within you an endless pursuit of knowledge; “almost” will hardly be enough, and excellence will become your earmark.McCarthy Dinner Immersion.jpg

Though occasionally the work is intense and the sleep scarce, nothing prepares you better for a fruitful college experience than Manresa. The lessons I gleaned from Manresa last year—both academic and personal—continue to shape the course of my Fordham career. As a Manresa Scholar, I learned that my words and actions have the power to affect a change; I learned to think and speak concisely, making every word forcible and meaningful.

The very hallmark of a Manresa Scholar resides in their ability to be men and women for others. This year, I get a chance to put that adage into effect in a personal way; I was afforded the opportunity to work as Dean Parmach’s Faculty Advisor Student Assistant (FASA) for the same class I took last year. As a FASA, I aim to help this batch of unsuspecting interlocutors. I provide insight into the academic experience and help to guide the freshmen through the maze of first-year uncertainties. I see it as my way to give back to a program and class that empowered and inspired me.

Now, I know how rigorous these classes are, but I know that you’re in Manresa because of your desire for rigor. As a former Manresa Scholar and FASA, I’ll be accessible if you need help with learning that 99%. But that last 1%? Well—I couldn’t stop you if I tried.

Rafael Saplala, FCRH 2020
Manresa Scholar, 2016-2017

A Night of Clarity

Last Thursday night, a group of 17 Manresa Scholars, dressed in formal attire, met in the Ph.D. defense room in Duane Library. The meeting marked the culmination of the students’ Philosophy of Human Nature course as part of the Manresa Scholars Program. The class met outside of the classroom several times throughout the semester for guest lectures and joint programs with other classes; however, this final program, named A Night of Clarity, gave the students the stage.

During the program, four groups of students presented and defended original philosophical responses that incorporated various course themes studied throughout the semester. The responses attempted to present and cogently argue relevant applications of the course material outside of the classroom, specifically among the Millennial Generation. Four judges, including Dr. Robert Parmach, Freshman Dean and professor of the course, and Ms. Danielle O’Boyle, Assistant District Attorney for New York State, offered constructive criticism of each group’s presentation.

My group argued that students of this course are prepared to address and avoid the traps many other members of the Millennial Generation have fallen into, such as laziness and entitlement due to the modern convenience and prevalence of the Internet and social media. We argued that we, as well as all Manresa Scholars, are capable of creating concrete, practical progress in the world.

As Manresa Scholars, my peers and I strive to continually learn in and out of the classroom, as exhibited by our dedication to excellence in out-of-class programs. It is not sufficient to simply fulfill the curriculum; rather, Manresa Scholars strive to embody and practice their knowledge constantly.

Lucas Baker, GSB 2019
Manresa Scholar, 2015-2016

Vocational and Personal Discernment with Fr. James Martin S.J.

Each semester in the West Wing ILC, students read texts that reflect the mission and values of the University and our seminar. In the past, our texts have included Fr. Greg Boyle’s Tattoos on the Heart: the Power of Boundless Compassion, as well as Jeffrey Sachs’s The End of Poverty.

This semester, we read Fr. James Martin’s book, In Good Company: The Fast Track from the Corporate World to Poverty, IMG_0904Chastity, and Obedience. Fr. Martin joined us for a dinner colloquium last week to discuss his journey from the fast-paced world of finance to priesthood, writing, and reflection. Fr. Martin began with a brief summary of his early life at the Wharton School of Business at Penn, and explained how no one had ever asked him what he wanted to do with his life. He mentioned the time he went to his academic advisor and proposed the notion of taking “American Poetry” during his undergraduate career, and how his advisor immediately dismissed that idea as a waste of time.

After years of competing in the stressful corporate world, Fr. Martin was extremely candid about his time suffering from depression and health issues due to his career. He admitting that it was a dark period where nothing made sense and it was extremely difficult to find the good in life. When flipping through the channels one night after a long day of work, he found a documentary about a Catholic retreat house and one priest’s journey to faith. He told the WW-ILC students that there was something very romantic and personal about this documentary and he couldn’t get it out of his mind.

With a corporate mindset, Fr. Martin made it his mission to become a part of this world, and worked to try to find his faith. Since joining the Jesuits, he has been extremely successful both personally and professionally. He spoke humbly about his experience with the Jesuits and his time at America magazine, The National Catholic Review.

Fr. Martin has written for many publications, including the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, and is a regular commentator in the national and international media. The West Wing students spent the majority of the class period asking him questions about his time in college, which proved to be very pertinent to students’ own vocational journey.

Bridget Brennan, FCRH 2016
WW-ILC Resident Assistant and Student Intern, 2014-15 & 2015-16

West Wing ILC: Manresa’s Upperclass Partner in Jesuit Education

The West Wing Integrated Learning Community (WW-ILC) is a co-curricular living-learning community for nearly forty sophomores and juniors enrolled in both Fordham College at Rose Hill and the Gabelli School of Business. Our students are enrolled in a 1-credit seminar that meets once weekly to discuss current events, public policy problems, and Ignatian spirituality. Dr. Robert J. Hume, Professor of Political Science, teaches the seminar, along with Dean Robert Parmach, the FCRH Freshman Dean.

The WW-ILC and the Manresa Scholars Program interact extensively for academic, spiritual, and social programming, and share common goals. Many Manresa Scholars end up taking part in WW-ILC during their sophomore year.

There are three components to the WW-ILC – the first being academic. The students come prepared every Tuesday night to engage with one another on the readings and other materials for class. The second component is community; all of the students enrolled in the class live together in one wing of O’Hare Hall. They get to know one another both in the classroom and in their hall. The third component is service – students are expected to complete at least two community service projects each semester. IMG_0167

This year’s first service project was park restoration project at Mullaly Park, just north of Yankee Stadium, with the non-profit group, The Bronx is Blooming. Just a week into school, our students were working with one another pulling weeds, mulching, and wheel-barrowing side by side on a Saturday afternoon. We were able to see how much we could accomplish in a short period of time when we work together on a single goal. We were able to interact with residents of the area who were playing soccer, basketball, and walking through the park, as well as other student volunteers from Lehman, Monroe, and Hostos College. Within just a few hours, the park was transformed into a neat, beautiful, and healthy garden for the residents of the South Bronx to enjoy for months to come. By working with and for our fellow members of the Bronx community, we were reminded of our Ignatian call to be men and women for others.

Bridget Brennan, FCRH 2016
WW-ILC Resident Assistant and Student Intern, 2014-15 & 2015-16

The Best of Both Worlds: Reflections of a Business Student in a Manresa Class

You have probably heard the rather humorless jokes about “ethical businesspeople” and how oxymoronic that phrase may be. While, unfortunately, there are some immoral people in the business world, students and faculty at Fordham, and especially in the Manresa Program, are working to challenge that stereotype with education and engagement, starting in the classroom.

Last year, I took Lost Interlocutor: Philosophy of Human Nature as well as the Manresa spring symposium on Jesuit Education and Social Justice. In doing so, I gained so much more than simply checking off a core requirement. I improved my eloquentia perfecta skills (if you are not yet familiar with that phrase, you soon will be), engaged with students of diverse backgrounds, and gained a deeper understanding of valuable Jesuit principles.

While the works of Plato and Nietzsche might not arise frequently in a commercial environment, studying them will force you to concretely deliberate abstract ideas, such as truth and justice. The resulting communication skills will prove to be priceless when pitching a new product, explaining stock trends, or managing employees.

An additional asset of the Manresa courses is your classmates. Capped at 15 students, classes are teeming with engaging discussion between students of diverse academic interests who are genuinely interested and up for a challenge. The benefits of this dialogue cannot be understated. By discussing the Jesuit ideas of magis, cura personalis, and Ignatian examen with people of different perspectives, you will gain a deeper understanding of these principles. This effectively translates into a sound personal moral code, essential to being an ethical decision maker and leader.

By engaging in a Manresa course, you will become an ethical business leader and will be well on your way to becoming a man or woman for and with others.

Claire Siegrist, GSB 2018 (studying Information Systems and French)
Manresa Scholar,  2014-2015

Welcome Home: A Note from a Recent Manresa Scholar

To the newest members of the Manresa legacy,

Each of you share one very special similarity – you’ll remember Loyola Hall as your first home away from home. Loyola is a very dear place in the hearts of many sophomores. Manresa is a program that allows each student to interact with many different people, to both socialize and study under one roof, and to feel loved like family. New members, please continue this special atmosphere and fill it with a new era of love and friendship.

You will notice upon moving in that living in Loyola Hall is a huge privilege. You are undeniably the luckiest kids of the freshman class. However, that does not warrant you the right to act spoiled. Your Loyola home is there to be shared. Invite friends to spend time in your room and invite classmates to study with you in the Study and Social Commons. The Loyola family is not, and should never be, an exclusive one.

A beautiful building is far from the best thing this experience will offer you. The Manresa program is a perfect blend of academics and extraordinary experiences. For one, you’ll get the chance to learn in a class size of no more than 15 people, while inside your residence hall. You’ll be challenged by a curriculum far different than anything you’ve ever experienced, and you’ll be positively influenced by other’s motivation to succeed. You’ll be structured by a staff that truly makes things happen, and you’ll be offered opportunities to participate in both service and recreational activities for the first time. You’ll grow close with Dean Parmach and other staff members, each more than willing to help you in every aspect of your Fordham career. Finally, you’ll be surrounded by a wide range of individuals, each tethered to you by the most unique of familial ties.

Take advantage of everything this program has to offer. Wake up early for Saturday service projects. Make close connections with your professors, Dean Parmach, and Resident Director Alex Fischer. Attend weekly mass with your housemates and resident housemaster, Fr. Lito Salazar, S.J. Study hard, make friends, be open to all people. Continue to make Manresa the influential program it is. Congrats! You’re going to love it.

Caroline Deakin, FCRH 2018

Manresa Scholar, 2014-2015

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