Jesuit Discusses Fordham’s Commitment to Neighborhood
Tags: Fordham University, Jesuit, Jesuit Father Joseph McShane, jesuits, Society of Jesus
Jesuit Father Joseph McShane, president of Fordham University, recently took part in a panel on how colleges and their surrounding neighborhoods have opportunities to grow together. Fr. McShane said that colleges and universities must have a commitment to their neighborhood.
“In your commitment, you have to be in dialogue constantly with the neighborhood so that you don’t become an ‘ivory tower’ institution. Rather, you become — happily and proudly — part of the fabric of the neighborhood,” McShane said.
McShane told the audience how Fordham responded to the troubles afflicting the Bronx from the 1970s through early 1990s by joining with three neighbor institutions: the New York Botanical Garden, the Bronx Zoo and Montefiore Medical Center.
“The decay of the Bronx never jumped over the four institutions,” he said. “We stood our ground and we committed. We became, in a certain sense, not just the anchor, but the wall.”
Starting under presidents Jesuit Fathers James Finlay and Joseph O’Hare, Fordham reached out to listen to the community’s aspirations, McShane said. Fordham took part in efforts to save the housing stock in the Bronx and increased its commitment to local hiring, among other efforts.