Fordham Parents Reflect, "Why We Chose Fordham"
by Jennifer Spencer
Members of the Parents' Leadership Council during move-in weekend.
The transformative undergraduate years set a course for a student's life, establish lifelong friendships, and mark the season when a teenager becomes an adult.
The decision of where to spend those years is a big one for everyone involved, particularly for parents. For several Fordham families, the choice came down to community.
"Even though it seems like a big school in a big city, you feel very connected to the faculty and your world around you. I think it's an excellent preparation for the real world," said Susan Stone, PAR '15.
Choosing a college that provides a jump start into the professional world seems like a good idea for anyone. But what about wanting a university to "just feel right"?
For Fordham mom—and former assistant director of admissions—Jeanne Wallace (FCRH '79, GSE '87, PAR '10 and '13), that "match" between student and campus was vital.
Wallace said that during her tenure at Fordham's admissions office, she "constantly preached" to her staff about helping students find the college or university that was a good fit for them.
When her own sons started to search for colleges, it was important to her that they have the opportunity to make their own choices, even though she and many family members had strong ties to Fordham.
Her older son, Peter, FCRH '10, initially decided to go to Notre Dame but decided in the summer it just wasn't the right place for him. Thanks to guidance from friends and family, he switched to Fordham and loved it.
"There's so much stuff out there for kids in terms of what is the 'right' decision," Wallace said. "There was so much pressure for Peter as the valedictorian."
"I always preached to him about a combination of being challenged and being in the right school for you," Jeanne Wallace said. "If you are, you're going to really grow and blossom and you'll take what you were doing in high school to the next level."
Patti Schechter, whose daughter Savannah, FCLC '16, started at the Lincoln Center campus just a few short weeks ago, said she felt that connection immediately.
Savannah was interested in New York City schools, Patti said, but Fordham wasn't on initially on her short list.
When they first visited NYU, Patti said didn't feel it was a fit, but decided to let her daughter come to her own conclusions.
"I decided, maybe for the first time in my life, to keep my mouth shut and let her make a decision," Patti laughed.
Shortly after, they visited Fordham. Savannah, who signed a pop music recording contract before starting Fordham, loved the Lincoln Center campus's proximity to the sights and sounds of Broadway.
But when she heard Fordham University President Joseph M. McShane, S.J., speak, she knew she had found her home.
"My daughter went to a small private school. She loved the nurturing and the personal contact at Fordham, as well as the academics," Schechter said.
Many families choose Fordham for the opportunities its location in New York City can provide.
"So many employers can come on campus an interview students," Wallace said.
"When it costs so much money to pay for an education, I think that's a real necessary component in terms of choosing a school these days," she said.
Being educated in the heart of New York City was also important to Patti Shechter as her daughter pursues a career in the arts.
"My daughter says, 'The key to being a well rounded artist is to be a well rounded person.' Fordham is the perfect place for that," Schechter said.
For Stone, a recent trip to campus to help greet parents at move-in day was a reminder of not only why she loves Fordham, but also why she was so happy to send her sons there to become men for others.
"There's such a great energy on campus. It gives you great faith in the generation coming up," she said.
"The media tend to say this generation is a problem, look at their values, I don't see that problem at all. The more young people I meet, the more faith I have for what they will become."