Volunteering at Fordham’s 173rd Commencement Week

While most students have gone home to begin their summer vacations, a few Manresa students stayed behind to volunteer for Fordham’s 173rd Commencement Week. Being part of these graduation festivities is a unique experience that not many Fordham students see until they themselves are graduating.

Manresa Scholars Amos Ong and Lindsey Register were two students who volunteered for Commencement Week. They, along with other Manresa Scholars, took on important roles such as serving as ushers during the Graduation Ceremony and setting-up and assisting with the Encaenia Academic Awards Ceremony for Rose Hill Seniors.

In order to put on Commencement Week, which includes a multitude of events for students and their families, in addition to the graduation ceremonies themselves, Fordham relies on faculty and student volunteers to put everything together. Fordham’s staff, faculty, students, and alumni all come together for Commencement.

Ong described the experience as the perfect fitting to the end of his freshman year. “I was reminded of what it means to be part of something bigger, something that is more than just myself, and to use my time productively in contributing to something good.”

Ong and other student volunteers assisted Dean Parmach, and got to learn some interesting stories behind the graduation ceremony and Fordham traditions. For example, hanging from the University Church ceiling is the official Vatican approved cardinal’s hat of Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J., who taught at Fordham. By Church tradition, the hat is to remain suspended from the rafters until it disintegrates on its own. There’s also the statue of Archbishop Hughes, founder of Fordham, who gets dressed with his own large scale Fordham cap and gown during Commencement week by the University carpenters.

For Register, the experience was eye opening. “It was great to see and partake in the behind the scenes work that happens all throughout the week, even from the Deans themselves, who you would never expect to be cleaning the graduation chairs or distributing granola bars the day of the event! The dedication from the whole Fordham community to make the ceremony enjoyable and memorable for the graduates and their families is truly an amazing thing,” said Register.

Commencement Week is truly a product of the efforts of the entire Fordham Family as we celebrate the Class of 2017 and all their accomplishments.

Anja Asato, FCRH 2018
Manresa Programming & Marketing Fellow, 2016-2017

University Commencement 2015: A Reflection

Once a year, all of the colleges and schools of Fordham University come together to celebrate all of the various degreesunnamed that its students have worked hard for years to earn. Now when I say all of the schools, I mean all of them: Fordham College at Rose Hill and at Lincoln Center, the Gabelli School of Business, and all of the different graduate and professional schools, as well. They all meet on one great, green lawn, as a family, surrounded by their own families and friends.

This year I had the honor to be able to help out during Commencement to ensure that everything ran smoothly for the graduates. This was my first time witnessing a Fordham Commencement, and I cannot express how impressed I was with the time and effort that the faculty put in to this day to show our Class of 2015 that we are so proud of all they have accomplished while part of our Fordham family.

The morning began with rain, only an hour and a half before Commencement was to begin. However, the Fordham staff kicked into high gear, getting everything ready for the families and graduates. At 10:30 am, commencement began with the parading in of about 4,000 graduates. Introductions were made, as well as speeches from New York Senator Charles Schumer and the First Lady of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Lordina Dramani Mahama, an advocate for women’s empowerment and for the poor. She and nine other prominent men and women, including William Loschert of Loschert Hall, received honorary degrees.

While all of this was exciting, the highlight of the day, by far, was getting a chance to watch our Fordham University Class of 2015 graduates walk across the Keating Hall Terrace and have their hard work of the past four years recognized.  Congratulations to Manresa’s very own 2014-2015 RAs, Delia Grizzard, FCRH ’15 and Stanley Stillwell, GSB ’15, and our 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 tutor, Ryan Gilligan, FCRH ’15.  We are so proud of you, and good luck wherever life takes you next!

Nicole Benevento, FCRH 2017
Manresa Student Intern, 2014-2015 and 2015-2016

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