Fordham's Religious Tradition
The University was founded in 1841 as St. John’s College by John Hughes, the first Catholic archbishop of New York. He persuaded the Jesuits to come up from Kentucky in 1846 to staff St. John’s, which was later renamed Fordham University.
Fordham has found that its Catholic and Jesuit origins and traditions have provided valuable marks of its distinctiveness and a source of strength. As a consequence,these traditions, religious ideas, perspectives, and values hold an important place in the curriculum. Theology is an important subject requiring serious intellectual study. Students of all faiths and of no faith are given encouragement and opportunity to join in seminars and discussions of religious issues and to participate in religious liturgies. Priests, nuns, and lay persons on the faculty and staff are ready to assist students in the quest for their own religious commitment. None of these opportunities are forced on anyone; their use depends on the interest, good will, and initiative of the students.
A loving and respectful openness to people of all faiths is an integral part of Fordham’s stance, as it should be in any university. The very nature of religious belief requires free, uncoerced consent, just as the nature of a university requires a respect for evidence, for investigation, for reason and enlightened assent.
St. Ignatius of Loyola Archbishop John Hughes
Founder, Society of Jesus Founder, Fordham University
Reviewed August 2014