Family Celebrates a Fordham Legacy
by Jennifer Spencer
Jeffrey and Darice Gall, FCRH ’87, with daughter Olivia at Darice’s five-year Fordham reunion in 1992.
They say a picture’s worth a thousand words. In the case of mother-daughter duo and Fordham alumni Darice and Olivia Gall, it’s also worth a whole lot of good memories.
As her daughter’s Fordham graduation neared this spring, Darice Gall, FCRH ’87, PAR ’13, was reminded of a photograph she had taken of her daughter Olivia, FCRH ’13, at Darice’s own five-year reunion.
“When I knew graduation was coming, I dug out that old photo of Liv, and posted it to Facebook. All my friends wrote in and said, ‘You have to recreate that next week!’” Darice said.
And that they did. Though it may have been a little bit harder to hold college-graduate Olivia in their arms than it was baby Olivia, the only emotion evident in their faces is that of pure joy.
After they posted the photo to Fordham’s Alumni Facebook page, the Galls said they received comments and strong reactions from lots of people—most of whom they had never met.
“One of Liv’s friends showed it to a coworker, and they started crying,” said Darice, laughing.
Darice and Olivia say that the family’s love of Fordham exemplified in the photograph rings true in reality. When Olivia started looking for schools, mom Darice encouraged her to consider Fordham.
Darice’s own Fordham experience, complete with working in the student deli, performing at Mimes and Mummers, and being Homecoming Queen her junior year, had been so rich that, as she said, “I just dreamed that one day [Olivia] would go there.”
For her part, Olivia said she initially felt like she wanted to attend school somewhere that wasn’t her “mom’s college.” But when she attended a Fordham Fall Preview Day, something just clicked.
“It was so friendly and welcoming, and they had a marching band playing. Every five feet, someone stopped to see if we needed help. I had spent all this time researching all these other schools, and I ended up liking the one I knew the most about,” Olivia said.
Given that her early memories involve doing cartwheels on Edwards Parade, it’s not surprising that Olivia ultimately chose Fordham.
Olivia Gall, FCRH ’13, welcomed six young cousins to Fordham, three of whom are sons of Darice Gall’s sister Karyn Duda Leito, FCLC ’90.
She’s keeping up the tradition of starting the Fordham pride young. When six of her young cousins came to visit, all sporting Fordham T-shirts, they inspired a passing Jesuit to remark that they looked like fine prospects for Fordham’s Class of 2022.
Commencement was a special experience for the Galls. As an alumna parent, Darice was able to process in with the legacy parents. Olivia said it meant a lot to her to have her mom share in the moment she received her diploma.
“It was so special to me that they announced my name and ‘and her mother’ as I walked across the stage. It added a lot to my experience being up there with her, as she really is a major influence and inspires me a lot,” she said.
The family recreated the photograph at Olivia’s graduation this May.
Darice said that while she was too excited to remember walking into her own graduation, processing in as a legacy parent at Olivia’s commencement will long be a treasured memory.
“It was like I graduated all over again, but even better,” she said. “Being able to walk in and sit on the Keating steps, and the fact they announce you and let you have that moment to take a picture, was just so special.”
Olivia studied English and communications at Fordham and has interned at MTV, The Book Report Network, and the Yale University Press. She hopes to land a job in publishing in New York City.
Living in nearby Woodbridge, Conn., allowed the Gall family to visit campus and participate in family events throughout Olivia’s Fordham career. Darice encouraged parents that the rewards of being involved in Fordham are well worth the investment.
“I think Fordham just does such a bang up job of celebrating families,” Darice said.
“The motto of Fordham, that they care for the whole person, is, I believe, so like the way a parent cares for their kid. I would encourage parents that your child will be cared for, and you’ll be welcomed back again and again.”