James E. Buckman, Esq., FCRH ’66
Vice Chairman, York Capital Management
From his years at Fordham through his service in the U.S. Air Force Reserve and successful career as an attorney and corporate executive, James E. Buckman has held fast to the belief that one's purpose in life is to serve others.
"I started at Fordham Prep at 13, and I guess I bought hook, line and sinker the Jesuit ideal of learning for learning's sake, learning so you can help others," Buckman says. "This has informed my own career, and what I've tried to pass on to my family."
After earning his bachelor's degree at Fordham College at Rose Hill, Buckman went on to Yale Law School and graduated in 1969. He joined New York City law firm Dewey, Ballantine, Bushby, Palmer & Wood as an associate, and a subsequent job offer led him to Atlanta where he and his wife Nancy spent the next two decades raising their three daughters. Buckman, who served in the Connecticut and Georgia National Guard and in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, held positions as general counsel and executive vice president for Days Inns of America, Inc., and partner at Troutman Sanders LLP, an Atlanta law firm. In 1992, he returned to New York to become general counsel of Hospitality Franchise and, when the company merged to form Cendant Corporation, he served as its vice chairman. Today, he holds the same post at York Capital Management in New York City, where he oversees private investments and assists in the firm's operations. Buckman is also a dedicated member of the boards of directors of Wyndam Worldwide, the New York Philharmonic, Marymount College and the Museum of the City of New York.
He says his Jesuit education informed his career in many ways: in the positions he accepted, the counsel he's provided clients and in dialog with fellow executives as they discuss business issues from a perspective that, in his words, "is not merely the marketplace perspective." The Jesuit tradition has also guided him personally, as a husband, parent and member of the human family. "It's tough to advance the good of mankind in bulk," he says. "I think it's the day-to-day activities, the readiness to help others you encounter on a one-by one-basis. That's the satisfaction."
A Bronx native, Buckman is among a lineage of Fordham graduates, which includes his uncle, two brothers, a cousin, niece and grandniece. He met his wife Nancy when she was a student at Manhattanville College and the two married in 1969. The values he holds close to his heart have been carried forth in his family. The couple's three daughters all attended Jesuit universities, and one is a graduate of Fordham Law School.
Passing Jesuit ideals on to future generations and encouraging others to consider their life purpose inspired Buckman—a trustee of Fordham, member of the President's Council and co-chair of the campaign—and his wife, Nancy, to establish the James and Nancy Buckman Chair in Applied Christian Ethics. (Barbara Hilkert Andolsen, Ph.D., was recently appointed the inaugural chair.) Buckman says the couple hopes their gift will help to advance the University's strengths in religion, theology, philosophy and ethics-key areas he believes distinguish Fordham and are central to the University's mission to educate men and women for others.
Fordham University honored Buckman during the eighth annual Fordham Founder's Award Dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria on March 30.