Trailblazer Bios

The Fordham Community has come together this month, submitting Fordham women of the past and present, graduates and alums, professors, and staff.  All these trailblazers have impacted our University and we celebrate their contributions.  After submissions close on Wednesday, March 22, the artist will create a participatory mural using photos of select submissions.  Here are all the trailblazers submitted.

  • Sayema Abedin
    FCRH'22 GSAS '23Sayema Abedin

    Sayema Abedin is a graduate student in Ethics and Society at Fordham, as well as an Intern in the Office of Multicultural Affairs. She graduated from Fordham College in 2022.

  • Lymaris Albors
    GSAS '05 

    Lymaris Albors is the Chief Executive Officer of Acacia Network, one of the leading human services organizations in New York City and one of the largest Hispanic-led nonprofits in the state, with over 2,700 employees.

    Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Lymaris moved to New York City to pursue graduate studies at Fordham University. Driven by her passion to effect change and improve health outcomes for underserved populations, she soon began her work at Cicatelli Associates Inc., a firm dedicated to tackling health disparities worldwide. After a fruitful tenure at CAI, she transitioned to the William F. Ryan Community Health Center, where she drove critical quality and performance improvement initiatives.

    At Acacia Network, Albors spearheaded Acacia Network’s expansion to Puerto Rico, as well as its footprint in housing and arts & culture, prior to her elevation to CEO last year.

  • Alisa Ali
    PCS '14

    Alisa Ali is the 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. DJ on WFUV 90.7, the radio station of Fordham University.  She chose to enroll at Fordham's School of Professional and Continuing Studies after a conversation with the late trailblazer Rita Houston, who said only Fordham students could work at the station without prior experience.  Starting at the station right after she enrolled in her first class, she graduated in 2014 and has worked at the station ever since. 

    Prior to her DJ shifts on WFUV, Alisa spent years as a host on FUV's now defunct "Alternate Side" channel.

    Beyond DJing, Ali does a lot of work behind the scenes at the station, as a producer of many of the FUV Live sessions and broadcasts. She also collaborates with NPR Music on various projects, most recently including their Turning the Tables project, where they recast the popular music canon with a closer eye on female artists.

  • Anne Anastasi

    Anne Anastasi


    Anne Anastasi was an American psychologist and Fordham Professor best known for her pioneering development of psychometrics. Her generative work, Psychological Testing, remains a classic text in which she drew attention to the individual being tested and therefore, to the responsibilities of the testers. She called for them to go beyond test scores, to search the assessed individual's history to help them to better understand their own results and themselves. Her seminal text, Psychological Testing—first published in 1954 and subsequently translated into nine languages—is widely considered the definitive book in the field of quantitative psychology and remains required reading on college and university campuses everywhere.

    She was admitted to Barnard College at age 15 and graduated before earning a doctoral degree in psychology at Columbia University. She later taught at Barnard and at Queens College before coming to Fordham University in 1947, where she remained for 38 years. In 1968, she was named chair of the Department of Psychology, a position she held for 11 years. Upon her retirement in 1979, she was named professor emerita and was awarded an honorary doctor of science degree.

    She received the American Psychological Foundation Gold Medal for her work and, in 1987, President Ronald Reagan presented her with the National Medal of Science, the nation’s highest award for scientific achievement. Only the third woman elected president of the American Psychological Association, she was also president of two divisions of the Eastern Psychological Association and president of the American Psychological Foundation.

    Anastasi’s profound and lasting legacy of scholarship and teaching has enriched not only the field of psychology but also generations of psychology students and professors at Fordham. Through a series of generous gifts from her estate, the University has established both the Anne Anastasi Chair in Psychometrics and Quantitative Psychology and the Anne Anastasi Memorial Scholarship Fund, which provides fellowships for graduate students in psychology.

  • Nicole Jara Andrade

    Nicole Andrade is a Graduate Intern in the Office of Multicultural Affairs at Fordham University. She received her BA in Political Science from Penn State and is currently a graduate student at New York University, where she is studying for an MA in Higher Education & Student Affairs.

  • Deborah Anne Batts

    Deborah Anne Batts was a United States district judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and Fordham Law School Professor. 

    Batts was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and received a BA in Government from Radcliffe College in 1969 before earning a JD from Harvard Law School in 1972. She subsequently clerked for Judge Lawrence Pierce of the United States district court, on which she served as a judge until her death. She was an Assistant United States Attorney from 1979 to 1984. In 1984, she became the first African American faculty member and an associate professor of law at Fordham University School of Law.  She was a special associate counsel to the Department of Investigation for New York City from 1990 to 1991. Outside of work, Batts dedicated her time to the RISE program, aiming to lower recidivism amongst at-risk offenders and continued to teach at the Fordham University School of Law.

    Following the recommendation of Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, President Bill Clinton nominated Batts to a seat on the Southern District left open in 1989 when Judge Richard Owen took senior status. During Gay Pride Week in June 1994, Batts was sworn in as a United States district judge for Manhattan, becoming the nation's first openly LGBT, African-American federal judge.Batts was confirmed by the United States Senate on May 6, 1994, and received her commission on May 9, 1994. She took senior status on April 13, 2012. She continued to serve concurrently as an adjunct professor at Fordham University until her death in 2020.

  • Meaghan Barakett
    GSS '16 Meaghan Jarensky Barakett, GSS '16

    Meaghan Barakett is the founder and president of One Girl Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to helping young women effectively serve their communities.

    Under her leadership, One Girl created Women in Charge: A Forum on Women’s Leadership, an annual conference in partnership with the Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service. Meaghan is a former model, yoga and meditation instructor, Miss New York USA, and Mrs. New York America. She has most recently been an advocate for laws to protect victims of cyberbullying and online impersonation.

    She earned a bachelor’s degree from Pace University and a master’s degree in nonprofit leadership from Fordham University.

    Meaghan and her husband, Brett, live with their children in Palm Beach, Florida.

  • Sheila Birnbaum

    Sheila L. Birnbaum an attorney focusing on product liability and mass torts. She is one of the country’s preeminent product liability defense lawyers, having served as national counsel or lead defense counsel for numerous Fortune 500 companies in some of the largest and most complex tort cases in the United States. She has also argued many influential appeals in appellate courts across the United States, including the U.S. Supreme Court.

    In addition to her legal achievements, Ms. Birnbaum has led an active career as an academic, becoming the first tenured woman professor of law at Fordham University Law School, and was a professor of law and associate dean at New York University School of Law.  

    Ms. Birnbaum has been recognized by many organizations as an outstanding lawyer. She has been named by Fortune as one of the 50 most powerful women in American business, Chambers USA as a “star individual” in the area of product liability, and Crain’s New York Business as one of the 25 most influential women in New York business. She is consistently ranked as a leading lawyer by many legal publications. The National Law Journal has recognized her multiple times as one of the “100 most outstanding members of the legal profession,” in addition to being profiled as one of three most outstanding lawyers of the year.  She received her BA and MA from Hunter College and a law degree from New York University.

  • Rose Marie Bravo
    TMC '71
    Rose Marie Bravo

    Rose Marie Bravo is an icon of the fashion industry, as timeless as the Burberry tartan she helped make famous. Known throughout the industry as the force behind the fashion house’s resurgence, Bravo breathed new life into the 19th-century British brand, transforming Burberry into one of the most recognizable luxury brands in the world. Born Rose Marie La Pila,

    Bravo grew up in the Bronx, the daughter of an Italian-born barber and a seamstress from Sicily. She graduated from the Bronx High School of Science before earning a bachelor’s degree in English cum laude at Fordham University’s Thomas More College in 1971. In keeping with her ambitious nature, she graduated in two-and-a-half years. After graduating, she became an assistant buyer for Abraham & Strauss, a New York City department store chain. She joined Macy’s, the landmark Manhattan retailer, as an assistant buyer three years later, in 1974. She was promoted to group vice president responsible for cosmetics, contemporary sportswear, and coats, eventually becoming senior vice president of merchandising. When Macy’s acquired I. Magnin, a high-end California-based retailer, in 1988, Macy’s executives chose Bravo to head the company. In 1992, she became the first woman president of Saks Fifth Avenue, where she added a number of hip luxury labels, such as Gucci and Prada, to the store’s sales floor and introduced new fragrance lines to its cosmetics counters. She took over Burberry five years later, in 1997, and immediately revived the company. Under her stewardship, Burberry’s annual sales jumped from $470 million to more than $1 billion.

    In recognition of her service, Queen Elizabeth II named Bravo a Commander of the British Empire in June 2006. Like Estée Lauder and Helena Rubenstein before her, Bravo established a standard of excellence for future generations of female—and male—executives to aspire to. In 1996, Crain’s New York Business named Bravo one of the 75 Most Influential Women in business, and in 2005 Forbes magazine included her in its annual list of the 100 Most Powerful Women in business. A longtime member of the Fordham University Board of Trustees and a 2006 recipient of the Fordham Founder’s Award, Bravo is a strong and impassioned advocate for higher education, most recently during Excelsior | Ever Upward | The Campaign for Fordham.

    In 2003, Bravo established the Biagio and Anna Lapila Endowed Scholarship Fund at Fordham in honor of her parents. “I would be happy,” she has said, “if my legacy was that one kid, one young man or one young woman, made it through, that maybe would’ve never had the chance to get the quality education that Fordham University offers.”

  • Lucille Buell

    LAW '47

    Judge Lucille Buell graduated first in her class at Fordham Law School in 1947, the first woman to do so.  She was also editor of the Fordham Law Review and received the Chapin Award.  She was hired by Hughes, Hubbard & Reed, becoming the first Fordham Law woman to break into the high-powered Wall Street ranks before teaching at both Fordham and Cornell Law schools.  

    In 1974, Buell was the first woman elected to a countywide judgeship in Westchester. She was the first woman Westchester Family Court Judge 1974-1981, first woman Acting Westchester County Court Judge and first woman Supreme Court Judge in the Ninth Judicial District 1982 to retirement in 1989. 

  • Michele Burris

    Michele Burris is the Vice President for Student Affairs at Fordham University.

  • Mother ButlerMother Butler painting

    Mother Butler was mother general of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, an order of nuns, and founder of Marymount colleges and schools.  Born in Ireland, she entered the Congregation of the Sacred Heart of Mary in Béziers, France in 1876. In 1903 she was appointed head of the congregation's school at Sag Harbor, Long Island, New York, with the responsibility to extend the influence of the order in there. Her cousin, James Butler, gave her a site in Tarrytown, New York in 1907 where she founded the first Marymount school that year, and then the first Marymount college in 1918. She acted as president of the college, with the institution being granted a charter from the University of the State of New York to award bachelor's degrees in 1924. (It was taken over by Fordham University in 2000, operating as a campus until 2008.)  Butler was elected mother general of her order in 1926 serving until her death in 1940, being the first American superior elected to the international congregation of the catholic church. Under her influence, the order founded 14 schools, including a novitiate in New York, three Marymount schools and three colleges, and 23 foundations internationally with Marymount schools in Rome, Paris, and Quebec, and a novitiate in Ferrybank, Waterford, Ireland.  In 1954 her spiritual writing were published as As an eagle: the spiritual writings of Mother Butler R.S.H.M. by J.K. Leahy. She was put forward as a candidate for canonization in 1948.

  • Jenifer Campbell 

    Jenifer Campbell is a longtime administrator at Fordham University, currently serving as Dean of Students at Fordham College Lincoln Center, and former director of Residential Life at Lincoln Center. She received her doctorate from the Fordham Graduate School of Education.

  • Eunice Carter
    LAW '24

    Eunice Carter old photo


    Eunice Roberta Hunton Carter was one of New York's first female African-American lawyers, and one of the first African-American prosecutors in the United States. She was active in the Pan-African Congress and in United Nations committees to advance the status of women in the world. She led a massive prostitution racketeering investigation, building the case and strategy that allowed New York District Attorney Thomas Dewey to successfully charge Mafioso kingpin Charles "Lucky" Luciano with compulsory prostitution.

    Born in Atlanta, Carter grew up in a family dedicated to social justice. Her father, William Alphaeus Hunton, was a Black YMCA administrator who fought to establish facilities for people of color. Carter’s mother traveled extensively as a civil rights activist and women’s suffragist, including to France during World War I to help rally Black U.S. troops serving there.

    Carter earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Smith College before attending Fordham Law School.  After graduating in 1932, she started a private law practice. But it was her 1935 appointment to Dewey’s “Twenty Against the Underworld” legal team that ultimately led to her lasting renown.

    Carter followed in her parents’ footsteps when she became a national leader of the YWCA and a member of the U.S. National Council of Negro Women, taking up William’s YMCA torch and Addie’s dedication to women’s suffrage. She served as the liaison to the Women’s Day Court when she was an assistant district attorney, as well.

    Fordham Law School recently established the annual Eunice Carter Lecture in her honor. In 2022, Nikole Hannah-Jones, creator of The New York Times Magazine’s “1619 Project” and author of the new book The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story, delivered the inaugural lecture.

  • Marie Castro

    Marie Castro from OMA


    Marie Castro is the Assistant Director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs. 

    Castro received her MA from New York University in Higher Education and Student Affairs in 2022.  While at NYU, she was awarded a microgrant for a university-wide anti-racism initiative to create a podcast; Marie hosted one of the four episodes entitled “Complicit Behavior Meets Implicit Bias”.  She received her Bachelor's degree from SUNY Oswego in 2019. 

  • Mary Higgins Clark
    FCLC '79

    Mary Higgins Clark

    Mary Higgins Clark built an illustrious career on gripping stories, most of them suspense novels that have captivated millions. But her own story could have been written by another famous author, Horatio Alger, whose tales of hard-won success illuminate her path to prominence. Her literary fame—and her education at Fordham—came after years of striving and after some professional and personal setbacks.

    Born and raised in the Bronx, Higgins Clark graduated from Villa Maria Academy before enrolling in secretarial school to help support her family. She worked as a secretary at an advertising agency and, later, as a flight attendant before marrying William F. Clark, an airline executive and a 1949 graduate of Fordham College at Rose Hill. When her husband died suddenly in 1964, Higgins Clark started writing radio scripts and eventually wrote her first book, a biographical novel about George Washington, which she followed up with her first suspense novel, Where are the Children? At the same time, she went back to school, earning a bachelor’s degree in philosophy summa cum laude from Fordham College at Lincoln Center in 1979.

    While she was a student, Higgins Clark unexpectedly met a producer of the upcoming film adaptation of her suspense novel. She told him she couldn’t stop and talk: She had a midterm to take. Ever since, Higgins Clark, one of the most prolific and successful authors in the world, has kept Fordham University at the front of her thoughts and has remained a tireless champion for education. Known worldwide as the “Queen of Suspense,” she has written more than 30 novels—all of which have been national bestsellers, a publishing feat remarkable for both its longevity and breadth.

    Her work has won her numerous literary awards, including the medallion of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, which the French government presented to her in 2000 in recognition of her contributions to literature. One of Fordham University’s most active alumni, Higgins Clark was an early and eloquent advocate of Fordham College at Lincoln Center as a member of the college’s board of advisers. She served on the University’s Board of Trustees from 1990 to 1996, and in 2004, the University presented her with a Fordham Founder’s Award for her unflagging commitment to wisdom and learning in the service of others. She passed away in 2020.

  • Melissa Cebollero

    Melissa Cebollero is the Senior Assistant Vice President of Government and Community Affairs at Montefiore Health System in the Bronx. She created 2 of the longest-running health campaigns in the borough of the Bronx, #not62 and DIVA, which address two of the most pressing health issues in the borough- social inequities in health and domestic violence. She is formerly the Director of Health at the Office of the Bronx Borough President.  She is a graduate of Fordham College.

  • Patricia Clarkson
    FCLC '82

    Patricia Clarkson

    Patricia Clarkson once told a group of Fordham Theatre students that acting was the only thing she’s ever wanted to do. Fortunately for her, and for audiences everywhere, she’s been doing it for a long time. Since the mid-1980s, the Emmy Award winner has been lighting up the stage and screen with her sly smile and sultry voice, choosing complex, multidimensional roles that showcase her unique talent. She’s been called an indie darling, a character actor, and a scene-stealer, garnering praise for large and small parts alike.

    Clarkson made her film debut as the pregnant wife of Eliot Ness in the 1987 hit The Untouchables. Her breakthrough role came in the independent 1998 feature High Art, in which her portrayal of a formerly glamorous heroin addict earned her a best supporting actress nomination from the National Society of Film Critics. Indie Wire said she turned the supporting role into “pure magic.”

    In 2003 she earned an Academy Award nomination for her role in Pieces of April, as well as the Sundance festival’s Special Jury Prize for acting. She’s collaborated with legendary directors, like Woody Allen in Vicky Cristina Barcelona, and played opposite other esteemed actors, like Ben Kingsley in Learning to Drive. On the small screen, Clarkson earned two Emmy Awards for her turn as the free- spirited Aunt Sarah on the HBO series Six Feet Under. More recently, she showed off her comedy chops in the NBC mockumentary Parks and Recreation as Tammy One, the parks department head’s conniving first wife.

    A New Orleans native, Clarkson transferred from Louisiana State University to Fordham, where she graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in theater. She earned an M.F.A. from the Yale School of Drama and shortly afterward made her Broadway debut in The House of Blue Leaves. Her later role in The Maiden’s Prayer earned her Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk award nominations. The New York Times praised her “focused” performance, noting that she played the part with “equal parts sharp-edged surface and dissolving center.” She earned a Tony nod for her role in 2014’s The Elephant Man on Broadway.

    Clarkson speaks out about subjects that are important to her. After the 2010 BP oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, she publicly urged a tough focus on cleanup and a continued vigilance about offshore drilling regulations. She has fervently voiced her support for gay rights. And she has no patience for sexism in Hollywood. Responding to complaints about the female-fronted Ghostbusters film in June 2016, she told The Guardian, “There are still so many movies made starring 50 men and one woman!” Her deeply held beliefs have served her well. “I have very strong ideas and strong convictions,” she once told the Times, “and I think I have brought to fulfillment the life I’ve really always wanted.”

  • Lana Del Rey
    FCRH '08


    Lana Del Rey, born Elizabeth Woolridge Grant, is an American singer-songwriter. Noted for its cinematic quality and exploration of tragic romance, glamour, and melancholia, her music makes frequent references to contemporary pop culture and 1950s–1960s Americana.  She has received two Brit Awards, two MTV Europe Music Awards, and a Satellite Award, in addition to nominations for six Grammy Awards and a Golden Globe Award. Variety honored her at their Hitmakers Awards for being "one of the most influential singer-songwriters of the 21st century".

    Raised in northern New York, Del Rey moved to New York City and took a gap year before enrolling at Fordham, graduating in 2008.  After numerous projects, including her self-titled debut studio album, Del Rey's breakthrough came in 2011 with the viral success of her single "Video Games"; she subsequently signed a recording contract.  She achieved critical and commercial success with her second album, Born to Die (2012).  Lana Del Rey's discography consists of nine full-length albums, seven extended plays, one mixtape, one reissue, one compilation, thirty-nine singles, and twelve promotional singles.

  • Rose DiMartino
    MA '77

     Rose DiMartino

    Rose F. DiMartino is a partner at the law firm of Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, working in the Asset Management Department. An expert on the Investment Company Act of 1940, she has over 30 years of experience counseling registered investment companies and their advisers in all aspects of fund organization and operation. She focuses on both open-end and closed-end funds, advising them, their Boards and advisers on a full range of matters, including regulatory and compliance, contract approvals, disclosure issues, restructuring and financing, and acquisitions. Ms. DiMartino also advises clients on investment adviser registration and regulation, strategic alliances, and wrap fee programs.

    Ms. DiMartino is admitted to the Bar of the State of New York. Ms. DiMartino received a JD (cum laude) from St. John's University School of Law, an MA from Fordham University, and her bachelors from Catholic University.  She is active in her church, St. Ignatius Loyola, in Manhattan, where she lives with her wife Karen.

  • Gloria Durka

    Gloria Durka is professor in the Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education at Fordham University in New York City.   She has made significant contributions to the field of religious education in the areas of family, feminism, beauty, interreligious education, and teaching to end violence.  She authored and co-edited thirteen books and published more than a hundred articles.  Her writings have been translated into French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, and Japanese.   She has presented papers, workshops and lectured throughout the world.  Since her appointment at Fordham University in 1978, she has delivered more than 75 papers at scholarly associations, and over 300 addresses to professional religious educators and pastoral ministers both here in the U.S. and abroad. 

  • Geraldine Ferraro
    LAW '60Geraldine Ferraro

    Geraldine Ferraro was an American politician who was the first woman to be nominated for vice president by a major political party in the United States as Walter Mondale’s running mate in 1984.

    Ferraro was the daughter of Italian immigrants. Her father died when she was eight years old. She attended Marymount College in Manhattan, graduating in 1956. While teaching English in public schools in Queens, she attended Fordham University Law School at night, earning her JD in 1960. Admitted to the New York bar in 1961, she maintained a private law practice until 1974. 

    In 1974, Ferraro accepted a position as an assistant district attorney in the Investigations Bureau in Queens. She transferred the next year to the Special Victims Bureau, which she helped to create to handle cases of domestic violence and rape. In 1978 she was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from New York’s 9th Congressional District and was reelected in 1980 and 1982.

  • Joan Garry
    FCRH '79

    joan garry headshot

    Joan Garry has been a community engaged leader and trailblazer in the nonprofit world and as an engaged Fordham alum. The former President of GLAAD, Garry was at the forefront of advancing human and civil rights for the LGBTQ community, and now serves as an executive coach and strategic advisor to CEOs and boards at some of the nation’s largest organizations. 

    She brings this experience back to Fordham, serving on the President's Council, regularly speaking at events around the University, and supporting initiatives in equity and inclusion.

    The Amityville, NY native lives in New Jersey with her wife Eileen.

  • Martha HirstMeet Martha Hirst

    Martha K. Hirst is Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, and Treasurer of Fordham University. She came to Fordham in 2015 after four years at St. Johns University, where she served as executive vice president, chief operating officer, and treasurer.

    Prior to her work in academia, Hirst served as commissioner of New York City's Department of Citywide Administrative Services for eight years and as deputy commissioner of the Department of Sanitation for six. She served in key roles under every mayor from Ed Koch to Michael Bloomberg, including positions in housing, intergovernmental relations, real estate, energy management, and facilities management and construction. Hirst headed the team of solid waste management planners and engineers that designed, secured regulatory approvals for, and implemented the closing of the Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island. She also oversaw recycling education and outreach programs for the city.

    Hirst graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in history and urban studies from New York University, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She also holds a master’s degree in urban planning from the NYU Wagner School of Public Service.

  • Gail HollisterFordham Law Professor Gail Hollister

    Gail D. Hollister was the longtime Archibald R. Murray Professor of Law and Murray Professor of Law Emerita at Fordham Law School, from where she graduated in 1970. Hollister was a member of the Fordham Law faculty for 40 years—from 1977 until her retirement in 2017. She was chosen by Dean Emeritus and Norris Professor of Law John D. Feerick ’61 to serve as the first leader of the newly created student affairs office while serving as a full-time faculty member. Hollister was also named director of legal writing in 1982, was the first holder of the Archibald R. Murray Chair of Law, and was named the first associate dean of administration in 2001. She also proudly served as an advisory board member of The Feerick Center for Social Justice, beginning in 2017. Hollister died on April 29 at the age of 75. She is survived by her husband, Edward G. Williams, her son, Gregory P. Williams, and her daughter-in-law, Sarah R. Williams.

    Hollister majored in political science and graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1967. She earned a J.D. from Fordham Law in 1970 and was a member of the Fordham Law Review and the Law School’s social committee.

    Hollister clerked for the late Judge Inzer B. Wyatt, U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of New York and was later was an associate at Webster, Sheffield, Fleischmann, Hitchcock & Brookfield.  She also practiced at Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith where she specialized in securities regulation.

    Hollister joined the Fordham Law School faculty the fall of 1977 under the leadership of Hon. Joseph McLaughlin, who served as dean from 1971 to 1981.  At that time, the school had fewer than 25 full-time faculty members and only three members on the administrative staff (the dean, assistant dean, and registrar). Hollister was the third woman to join the law school's full-time faculty and the second woman to be granted tenure at Fordham Law.

    Teaching was Hollister’s passion, and she taught a number of courses at Fordham Law—including Legal Writing, Legal Process, and Torts—and specialized in Torts, Negligence, and Malpractice. 

  • Fanny Holtzman
    Law '22 

    Fanny E. Holtzmann was a pioneering female lawyer in the motion picture and theatre industry.

    Born in the borough of Brooklyn in New York City, she was influenced by her immigrant grandfather, a Talmudic scholar who introduced her to the study of law.

    Although she dropped out of high school at the end of her junior year, Holtzmann studied law in night school at Fordham University and earned her degree in 1922. After placing third in the New York bar exam, she rented an office in the Broadway Theater District the following year and opened a practice, representing Edmund Goulding and William Randolph Hearst among her earliest clients.

    Holtzmann gained international fame during a 1934 libel trial in Britain in which she represented Princess Irina Alexandrovna of Russia, who contended that the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film Rasputin and the Empress (1932) had misrepresented her relationship with Rasputin. Her client was awarded $125,000 in damages for the showing of the film in the UK, and eventually, she won a large settlement for its release in other countries as well.

    In the 1930s, Holtzmann helped Eastern European Jews emigrate to the United States, and following World War II she assisted Jewish refugees. At the founding conference of the United Nations in 1945, she served as counsel to the Republic of China, and assisted China in becoming a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council.  She passed away in 1980.


  • Rita Houston

    Rita Houston at WFUV Office

    Rita Houston shaped the musical direction of WFUV, the radio station, for decades until her untimely passing in 2020 of ovarian cancer. Houston's music mix brought 'rock for grownups' diversity to the left end of the New York radio dial.

    Well-known for her rapport with artists, Houston hosted hundreds of interview sessions and Marquee Member concerts. She also served as Executive Producer of the FUV Live concert series, booked the annual Holiday Cheer for FUV concert, and produced annual benefit CDs of performances from WFUV's Studio A.

    After years as a popular midday host, Houston shifted her on-air presence to create 'The Whole Wide World with Rita Houston,' Friday nights from 6-9pm, showcasing her famously wide-ranging taste in music and often featuring live sessions with artists from around the globe.

    Out of the studio, Houston was instrumental in the "Required Listening" series of shows at the Bottom Line in Manhattan's Greenwich Village (R.I.P.), showcasing new and underappreciated artists for an eager audience. She also served as host of the "In Their Own Words" series there as well, renowned interview-and-performance evenings with influential songwriters talking about their ideas and influences.

    Houston was awarded Radio & Records (R&R) Music Director of the Year twice and received the Deems Taylor Award for Broadcast Excellence. In 2001, Houston enjoyed acclaim as part of the WFUV team as they were named Album Network 2001 Major Market Adult Rock Station of the Year, Gavin's Station of the Year, and the 2001, 2002 and 2003 FMQB Progressive Noncommercial Radio Station of the Year. In 2009 Rita was the Honoree at the Emelin Theatre's Benefit Gala in Mamaroneck, NY.  She is part of the permanent DJ exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and was named Program Director of the Year by FMQB for 2019.

    Houston came to WFUV in 1994 from Westchester's WXPS. A native of Mount Vernon, NY, she lived in Nyack, NY with her wife Laura.

  • Detrel Howell
    GSE '97


    Detrel Howell is Co-Chair of the Bronx County Re-entry Task Force and a Rentry Operations Manager in the Bronx with the New York State Department of Corrections, where she has worked since 2008.

    She enlisted in the United States Army in 1987 and served through 1995, honorably discharged at the rank of E-4/Specialist. The physical and emotional challenges that she endured as a combat veteran resulted in her mission to do more for female veterans.

    In 2019, while working toward completing the requirements of a Master of Divinity degree at New York Theological Seminary, Howell founded United In Sisterhood, an organization solely dedicated to meeting the needs of female veterans. Her mission for the organization is to bring supportive services to this often-overlooked population through inspiration, encouragement, building lasting bonds, and also providing linkages to viable empowering resources.

    Detrel is an active member of the National Association of Black Military Women, and was honored in 2018 as the Veteran of the Game by the New York Mets during a presentation of the American flag by the organization’s star pitcher.

  • Hélène Iswolsky

    Hélène Iswolsky was known as one of the leading intellectual lay persons among the Russian emigre communities in the West and founder of "The Third Hour," an ecumenical movement in the U.S. She once taught Russian at Fordham.

    The daughter of Alexander Iswolsky, who had been the Tzar ambassador to the Holy See and in Paris, she was born in 1896 and raised in the  Russian Orthodox faith. She converted to Catholicism in the 1920s, while she lived in the France. During the Second World War, she moved to the US, where she settled permanently.

    She was a pioneer in the ecumenical movement with her magazine, the Third Hour (1947-1975), which published authors such as Nicholas Berdyaev, W.H. Auden and Dorothy Day.

    A prolific author of books, articles, and translations, she died in 1975.

  • Irma Jaffe

    Irma Jaffe photo

    Irma Jaffe was an an art historian and founder of the Department of Art History and Music at Fordham University. Born Irma Blumenthal, she entered the University of Illinois at 17 but left school her sophomore year to marry Samuel B. Jaffe.  Eighteen years later, at the time her daughter entered Radcliffe College in 1954, Jaffe elected to return to college at Columbia University's School of General Studies. She graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa in 1958 and continued in graduate school at Columbia, receiving her M.A. in 1960.

    While completing her Ph.D., she was appointed research curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1964. That year, she published her first article on Italian art history, on the Barccacia fountain, the famous boat-shaped fountain in the Piazza di Spagna, near the Spanish Steps in Rome. She completed her Ph.D. in 1966 with a dissertation on the Italian-American painter Joseph Stella.

    She left the Whitney to establish a fine arts department at Fordham. She also wrote and narrated a television series, "Project Now: Introduction to Art History," for WABC-TV New York, NY, airing between 1969-1970. As department head at Fordham, she launched a symposium "Baroque Art: the Jesuit Contribution," with the Baroque scholar Rudolf Wittkower. Jaffe wrote the volume on John Trumbull for the innovative books series analyzing a single work of an artist's career, the Art in Context series. In 2002, she published Shining Eyes, Cruel Fortune: The Lives and Loves of Italian Renaissance Women Poets.  Her research work led her to two volumes on Italian-Americans in art, The Italian Presence in American Art, spanning 1760 through 1920. She was awarded the title of Cavaliere in the Order of Merit of the Republic of Italy.  

  • Sr. Elizabeth Johnson, C.S.J.

    Elizabeth Johnson, Distinguished Professor of Theology at Fordham University


    Sr. Elizabeth A. Johnson C.S.J. is a Roman Catholic feminist theologian and Distinguished Professor Emerita of Theology at Fordham University and a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Brentwood. The National Catholic Reporter has called Johnson "one of the country's most prominent and respected theologians.

    Johnson has served as president of the Catholic Theological Society of America and is "one of its most well-known members.  The New York Times has described Johnson as "a highly respected theologian whose books are widely used in theology classes."

    Her controversial Quest for the Living God was hailed for expounding on "new ways to think and speak about God within the framework of traditional Catholic beliefs and motifs." 

    Johnson grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and joined the religious congregation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph as a young adult. She received a B.S. from Brentwood College in 1964 and an M.A. from Manhattan College in 1964. Johnson taught science and religion at the elementary and high school level, then taught theology at St. Joseph's College (New York) and at CUA before moving to Fordham in 1991.  In 1981, she became the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in theology at the Catholic University of America.

  • Carey Kasten
    Carey Kasten
    Carey Kasten is a Professor at Fordham in the Modern Languages and Literatures Department.  She specializes in contemporary Spanish culture. She is the author of The Cultural Politics of Twentieth-Century Spanish Theater: Representing the Auto Sacramental (Bucknell UP, 2012), which examines how 20th century artists used 17th century Eucharist plays to reassess the way politics and the arts interact in the Spanish nation's past and present, and to posit new ideas for future relations between the state and the national culture industry. She has published articles in Hispanic Review, Hecho Teatral, and the Bulletin of Spanish Studies. She also edited a special issue of the Bulletin of Spanish Studies on "The Baroque in the Construction of a National Culture in Francoist Spain." Her current research focuses on early fascism and the avant-garde in Spain.  She regularly teaches community engaged learning classes, connecting her students to native Spanish speakers to learn collaboratively.  She attended Skidmore and received her Ph.D at Columbia.


  • Sr. Monica Kevin
    UGE ’48, GSAS MA ’61, Ph.D ’64

    Monica Kevin, O.S.U., a three-time Fordham graduate, was a biology professor and dean at the University, and the first woman to lead the Faculty Senate.  She received a bachelor of science degree in mathematics from the Undergraduate School of Education at Fordham in 1948. After graduation, Sister Monica went on to become a teacher at Catholic schools in Connecticut and New York for several years.

    Sister Monica made the decision to pursue her master’s degree in Biology and was accepted into Fordham’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences program, where she obtained her degree in 1961. Sister Monica continued her studies in the field of Biology and earned a doctoral degree in 1964.

    Sr. Monica went on to work at St. John’s University as a member of their faculty. She returned to Fordham to work for the Biology Department three years later as a researcher, teacher, and mentor to doctoral students. She also directed the Pre-Med/Health Program. Through her forty years at Fordham, Sister Monica served on a multitude of College and University Committees. She was appointed to the Faculty Senate and was voted in as President in 1977 until 1980. Sister Monica was intrigued by the sport of basketball and could be found in the gym stands supporting the Fordham basketball team.  In 1986, Sister Monica undertook the role of Dean of the newly centralized Summer session which she organized and administered for 12 years.


  • Maryanne KowaleskiMaryanne Kowaleski


    Maryanne Kowaleski is a medieval historian, who was Joseph Fitzpatrick S. J. Distinguished Professor of History and Medieval Studies at Fordham University from 2005 until her retirement.

    Kowaleski completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan in 1974 graduating with an AB in French and Medieval/Renaissance studies. She then completed a MA in medieval studies at the University of Toronto in 1976, before completing the Medieval Studies Licentiate in 1978 at the Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies at Toronto.  She received her PhD from Toronto in 1982.  She joined the History Department at Fordham University that year as an assistant professor.  She was promoted to full professor in 1996. 

    She has served on the Board of Advisors of the Journal of British Studies and on the Editorial Board of Speculum: The Journal of the Medieval Academy of America, among many other roles in the field.

  • Lorna R. Lewis
    FCRH '75 


    Dr. Lorna Lewis has been a pioneer over her nearly 40-year career as an educator and current Superintendent of Malvern schools in Long Island. In June 2018 she became the first woman of color to preside over the New York State Council of School Superintendents (NYCOSS), which represents more than 800 top education leaders statewide. She has also served as the superintendent of Plainview-Old Bethpage CSD and East Williston UFSD. An outspoken voice for inclusion and equity in public education, Dr. Lewis is a founding member of NYCOSS' Commission on Diversity and Inclusivity and also chairs their curriculum committee. She has served as an administrator in Rockville Centre schools, science director in Uniondale schools, and Deputy Superintendent in the Three Village schools, all in Long Island.

    In the 1970s, Dr. Lewis immigrated from Jamaica to New York and at the age of 16, enrolled in Fordham University where she received her B.S. in Physics. She went on to earn three Masters degrees before completing her Doctorate in Science Education (Ed.D.) from Teachers College, Columbia University.

    She is a past-president of Long Island Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development and has presented workshops at local universities, School Board Associations, and BOCES on De-tracking Our Schools, Equity and Access, Using Data to Improve Instruction, Deconstructing the Grades 3 – 8 Mathematics Assessment, Teaching for the Giftedness in All Children, Maintaining Excellence with Reduced Revenues, and The Annual Professional Performance Appraisal. She has served as an adjunct professor of graduate science methods at Hofstra University, and invited lecturer for the Adelphi University Robert Finkelstein Memorial series as well as a Fordham University Barbara L. Jackson lecture.

    In 2019 the NAACP recognized her with a Legacy Award and she was the guest speaker for the Temple Beth-El of Great Neck Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Shabbat Service. She has been recognized for her incredible accomplishments as a leader in education by the Anti-Defamation League of New York and New Jersey, The Korean Parents Association of Long Island, St John's University Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa, Long Island Black Educators Association, National Coalition of 100 Black Women – Suffolk County Chapter and Erase Racism.

  • Maria Eleanor L. Marcus

    Maria Eleanor Lenhoff Marcus was a trailblazing lawyer and beloved Fordham Law professor.

    As Associate Counsel for the NAACP from 1961 to 1967, Marcus traveled through the South litigating - and winning - civil rights cases. At the NAACP, she collaborated closely with General Counsel Robert L. Carter and Mississippi NAACP leader Medgar Evers, among many other activists.

    From 1967 to 1978, she served as an Assistant Attorney General for New York State, eventually becoming chief of the Litigation Bureau. She argued and won six cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, including New York Telephone v. New York State Dept. of Labor, which secured unemployment benefits for striking workers.

    In 1978, Marcus joined the faculty at Fordham Law School, where for over thirty years she was a celebrated teacher and mentor to generations of students, guided the moot court team to national renown, and was named Joseph M. McLaughlin Professor of Law. A passionate educator, Marcus believed strong personal connections were crucial to teaching and often maintained decades-long friendships with former students. She was frequently recognized by Fordham with top teaching honors including the Dean's Medal of Recognition and Teacher of the Year. For a decade after retiring from teaching in 2011, she continued to be the moderator of Fordham Law's Moot Court Board.

    Marcus brought her commitment to fighting for justice to her scholarly work, authoring numerous law review articles on topics ranging from domestic violence to school desegregation to regulation of hate speech on the airwaves.

    Maria Eleanor Lenhoff was born in Vienna, Austria in 1933. Her family fled the Nazis first to Switzerland, then to England, finally settling in the U.S., where Lenhoff's father taught law at the University of Buffalo.  She graduated from Yale Law School in 1957 as one of a handful of women in her class, after earning her BA from Oberlin College.   She passed away last year.

  • Cira Martinez
    Law '79

    Judge Cira Martinez was supervising judge of the Bronx Family court and a fierce advocate for children.

    Born in Havana, Cuba, Judge Martinez started her career in the court system as a court interpreter before she became a lawyer. She was the first Hispanic woman to graduate from Fordham University’s School of Law in 1979 and was later the first Hispanic woman appointed to the Bronx family court.

    Judge Martinez was a founding member of the International Association of LGBTQ+ Judges.

  • Elizabeth Ireland McCann
    Law '66 

    Elizabeth Ireland McCann was an American theatrical producer. She won nine Tony Awards and three Emmy Awards over a long career on Broadway.

    McCann was born in New York City in 1931 to Scottish-born Irish Catholic immigrants. She graduated from Manhattanville College in 1952 and earned a master's degree in English literature from Columbia University in 1954. In 1966 she completed a law degree at Fordham University. McCann produced over 60 plays on Broadway and won nine Tony Awards. She and her producing partner Nelle Nugent won Tony Awards in 1978 for Dracula (best revival), in 1979 for The Elephant Man (best play), in 1980 for Morning's at Seven (best revival), in 1981 for Amadeus, and in 1982 for The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (best play). She won four more Tony Awards without Nugent: in 1998 for the revival of A View from the Bridge, in 2000 for Copenhagen, in 2002 for The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?, and in 2009 for the revival of Hair. She also produced off-Broadway runs of Edward Albee's Three Tall Women and The Play About the Baby, and was general manager of the Big Apple Circus. McCann was managing producer on the annual Tony Awards broadcast six times, in 2001 and from 2004 to 2008, and won three Emmy Awards for those shows. She produced several television adaptations of plays she'd produced, including Morning's at Seven (1982), Orpheus Descending (1990), and Passing Strange (2009).

    McCann was inducted into American Theater Hall of Fame in 2004. Her last show, Hangmen starring Dan Stevens, was in previews in March 2020, when Broadway closed for the COVID-19 pandemic. McCann died from cancer in 2021, aged 90 years, at a hospital in the Bronx.

  • Margaret Mead

    Margaret Mead was a cultural anthropologist and Fordham professor best known for her studies of people on the remote islands of Oceania, including Samoa, Papua New Guinea, and Bali. She conducted her fieldwork studies using extremely organized and cutting-edge methodologies. Her work on The Study of Culture at Distance (1953) provided the framework for anthropological research that would continue for decades.

    In 1920, Margaret enrolled at Barnard College in New York City. She made the decision to become an anthropologist after taking classes with Franz Boas, frequently referred to as the founder of contemporary American anthropology.  In 1929, Margaret graduated with a PhD from Columbia University. 

    Dr. Mead was chairman of the Social Sciences department when Fordham College at Lincoln Center was built in 1969. She served as a consultant to the college by recruiting faculty and planning the program. She began the position as chair after retiring as curator of ethnology at the American Museum of Natural History.

    In the 1960s and 1970s, Mead used her research on Oceanic societies to question western conceptions of gender, family, and sex. Her case studies also influenced the debate on the importance of "nature versus nurture". 

  • Mary Rose McGeady, D.C.
    GSAS '61Mary Rose McGeady


    When Mary Rose McGeady, D.C., was named president and chief executive officer of Covenant House in 1990, the New York-based shelter for homeless and runaway youths was in the middle of a financial and institutional crisis. By her retirement 13 years later, Sister McGeady had revitalized Covenant House into one of the country’s most effective charitable agencies.

    Born in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, Sister McGeady grew up in Washington, D.C. She entered the Daughters of Charity in 1946 and later moved to Boston, Mass., where she worked at the Nazareth Child Care Center, while attending Emmanuel College. She joined the staff of the Astor Home for Children, a treatment center for disturbed youth in Rhinebeck, New York, in 1955. After earning a master’s degree in clinical psychology at Fordham, she headed the Astor Home for five years, from 1961 to 1966, and continued to work with children in Massachusetts and New York. In 1987, she was appointed associate director of the Brooklyn Diocese’s Catholic Charities, heading the network’s operations in Queens.

    Following the sudden resignation of the founder of Covenant House in 1990, Sister McGeady was asked to take over. Initially, she did not want the job, but she prayed and made a covenant with God, she said, to try to make it work. And did she ever. She stared down a staggering $38 million debt—and inspired a frustrated staff of 1,200 to breathe new life into the agency’s wide array of services and programs. In the process, she helped transform the lives of hundreds of thousands of children in 21 cities and five different countries around the world.

    Her tireless efforts on behalf of Covenant House inspired John Cardinal O’Connor to say this of its gregariously tough president: “She’s about as no-nonsense looking as they come, even when she smiles, which is often. It’s a bright and warm smile, but it turns up ever so slightly at one end, as if to say, ‘I’m a very friendly lady, but don’t try to push me around.’”

    Sister McGeady’s enduring spirit of service and social justice reflects the timeless mission of Fordham University. Her legacy is evident in the work of the University’s Interdisciplinary Center for Family and Child Advocacy and in the Graduate School of Social Service’s Institute for Women and Girls.

  • Christina McGrath
    FCRH ‘90 FGSE ‘96

    Christina McGrath is Associate Vice President of Enrollment, Operations, and Logistics at Fordham University.  After graduating Fordham College at Rose Hill in 1990, Christina was offered a full-time job in the Registrar’s Office. She has worked in Academic Records and Enrollment Services ever since, and studied for a Masters from the Graduate School of Education.  She was made Assistant Vice President in 2013, and was promoted to Associate Vice President last year.

  • Mildred O'Connor
    Law '21


    Mildred O'Connor was one of the first three women to graduate from Fordham Law School in 1921.

  • Patricia O'Connor
    Law '21


    Patricia O'Connor was one of the first three women to graduate from Fordham Law School in 1921.

  • Julia Olivo-Rodriguez


    Julia Olivo-Rodriguez, administrative assistant in the Office of the Provost, has worked at Fordham for 30 years

  • Bridget OrchardBRIDGET ORCHARD


    Bridget Orchard was head softball coach at Fordham from 2001 until 2018.

    Orchard had been the head coach at Fordham for the previous 17 seasons where she built the Rams into a perennial power in the Atlantic 10 Conference while taking her teams to eight NCAA regionals and earning seven Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year awards.
    The numbers for Orchard during her time at Fordham have been described as "staggering". She won 624 games in 17 seasons and led a coaching staff that earned two NFCA Mid-Atlantic Region Staff of the Year awards. Orchard coached one All-American and saw her student-athletes be named the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year (five times), Pitcher of the Year (three times) and Rookie of the Year (seven times). Fordham also produced five Academic All-Americans, 25 Academic All-Conference honorees and two Atlantic 10 Student-Athletes of the Year while totaling 82 All-Atlantic 10 selections, 48 NFCA Mid-Atlantic All-Region picks and 13 ECAC All-Stars under Orchard’s watch.

    Currently the Head Coach at Villanova, Orchard spent four seasons as the head coach at Cabrini College in Radnor, Pennsylvania, where she also served as Director of Student Activities.In 2013, she was inducted into the Cabrini College Athletic Hall of Fame for her coaching tenure.

    She received her degree in communication arts from Villanova and a Masters of Education from Temple.

  • Anna Ponterosso
    FCRH '88

    Anna Ponterosso is the University Registrar and Director of Academic Records in the Enrollment Group. Anna attended and graduated from Fordham College of Liberal Studies at Rose Hill with a B.S. in Computer System/Management Applications and a double major in History. She started her career at Fordham in 1988 and held various positions within the Office of the Registrar.

    In 2013, she was promoted to University Registrar and Director of Academic Records. Anna and her team collaborate with students, faculty, the President's Office, IT, and the various Dean’s Offices to improve services related to VA benefits, registration, transcript ordering, degree audits, the Academic Bulletin, grading, transfer credit articulation, graduation clearances and certified electronic diploma ordering.

    During the pandemic, with the help of new developments in technology, Anna and her team introduced online transcript ordering and certified electronic diplomas that provide automated, uninterrupted services to the students no matter their location or the time of day. Today, Anna and her skilled team continue to find pathways to improve the quality of service for the entire Fordham community. 



  • Barbara Porco
    Gabelli faculty/alumni

    Barbara M. Porco


    Barbara Porco is a Clinical Professor and Associate Dean of Graduate Studies at the Gabelli School of Business and Director for The Center for Professional Accounting Practices, serving on the accounting faculty of Fordham for over 30 years.  Dr. Porco is a licensed Certified Public Accountant and Certified Fraud Examiner and is certified in financial forensics. Her past positions include director of personal financial planning, audit supervisor, and senior tax manager in the financial service group at PwC. She is an educator and consultant to an array of domestic and international banks, financial services organizations, hospitals, Big Four accounting firms, and regulatory agencies, including FINRA and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. For more than a decade, she has held the title of master professor and presently oversees the development and training of instructors and program delivery for the National Audit Intern Program of one of the world’s largest accounting firms. Dr. Porco holds a certification in corporate sustainability and innovation and a master’s degree in sustainability and environmental management from Harvard University.  

    She has been the recipient of several university awards including the 2019 Faculty Magis Award, the 2018 Dean’s Net Impact Award, and the 2017 Gabelli Teaching Innovation Award. She recently served as one of the founding members of the president’s assembled council entitled Fordham’s Continuous University Strategic Planning (CUSP) Committee as well as a senator for the university’s Faculty Senate. At the request of the board of trustees, she served in the provost office as the director of financial and budgetary development for a two-year appointment. Additionally, Dr. Porco has been ranked nationally in the Top 50 Researchers in Accounting Education by the American Accounting Association.  She proudly serves on the AICPA’s Sustainability Assurance and Advisory Task Force as the academic representative for extended external reporting (EER) assurance. 

  • Loretta A. Preska
    Law '73

    Loretta A. Preska is a federal judge on senior status with the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. She joined the court in 1992 after being nominated by President George H.W. Bush. From 2009 to 2016, she served as the chief judge of the district court,  the first Fordham Law woman graduate to hold that position.

    A native of Albany, New York, Preska graduated from the College of St. Rose with her bachelor's degree in 1970, from Fordham University School of Law with her J.D. in 1973, and from New York University School of Law with her LL.M. in 1978. She maintained a private practice in New York City from 1973 until 1992. That year, Preska was nominated by President George H.W. Bush and confirmed by the United States Senate later that year. From 2009 to 2016, she served as chief judge of the district court. Judge Preska elected to take senior status beginning on March 1, 2017.

  • Ella Ralston
    Law '21


    Ella Ralston was one of the first three women to graduate from Fordham Law School in 1921.  Ralston had the highest GPA in the 3rd year evening division and was the first Fordham Law woman to pass the New York State bar.

  • Marianne Reilly
    GSE '98Marianne Reilly

    Marianne Reilly returned to her alma mater, Manhattan College, as director of intercollegiate athletics in 2016. Reilly was one of only 39 female intercollegiate athletic directors out of 351 NCAA Division I schools at the time of her hire. She arrived with a diverse portfolio of work in collegiate athletics administration after spending three decades at Fordham University, where she began her career as an assistant in recreation, facility management, and club sports. She was elevated to associate director of athletics in 1996 to accompany her responsibilities as the senior woman administrator for the Rams’ athletics department.

    At Fordham, Reilly served on the leadership team of the athletics department and supervised NCAA compliance, academic eligibility, and athletic training while also serving as a sport administrator for a number of varsity programs. She mentored coaches, administrators, and student-athletes and oversaw the successful development of the women’s basketball and softball programs.

    A graduate of Manhattan College with a degree in physical education, Reilly was the first woman inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame and the first 1,000-point scorer in program history. In 2014, she was inducted into the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Honor Roll at the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts.

    Reilly had two stints as an NCAA coach: as an assistant coach at Fordham University and as head coach at the College of Mount Saint Vincent. A former teacher in the local public and Catholic schools in New York City, Reilly earned a master’s degree in education and administration from Lehman College, and a professional diploma in administration and supervision from Fordham University’s Graduate School of Education. She currently serves on the board of trustees at Saint Barnabas High School in the Woodlawn section of the Bronx.

    Reilly and her husband, Tom Delaney, live in Tuckahoe, New York.

  • Clara Rodríguez

    Clara E. Rodriguez


    Clara Rodríguez is a Professor of Sociology at Fordham University's College at Lincoln Center and former Dean of Fordham University's College of Liberal Studies. She is the author of numerous books including Heroes, Lovers and Others and Changing Race: Latinos, The Census and the History of Ethnicity in the United States and Hispanics in the Labor Force: Issues and Policies, with Meléndez, E. and Barry Figueroa, J., eds.  She has written numerous articles on Latinos in the United States and is co-author of The Culture and Commerce of Publishing in the 21st Century, Stanford University Press (2007) which received the Sigma Nu National Jesuit Book Award in 2007 and was translated into Chinese. She has also been a consultant to a number of television shows and documentaries, most recently, “Dora, the Explorer” and “Sesame Street.” 

    She has received numerous research and teaching awards, including the American Sociological Association’s Award for Distinguished Contributions to Research in the Field of Latina/o Studies and Fordham's award for Distinguished Teaching in the Social Sciences.

    She was elected to a three-year term on the American Sociological Association’s Governing Council and was selected as one of the “100 Most Influential Hispanics in the nation” by Hispanic Business in 2007. She was appointed to the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee for a three-year term by the Postmaster General and is a member of board of the National Council of La Raza.

    She received her BA from City College of the City University of New York. She did graduate work at Cornell and received her Ph.D from Washington Univeristy (St. Louis).

  • Janet Ruffing, RSM

    Janet Ruffing, a Sister of Mercy, is Professor Emerita of Spirituality and Spiritual Direction at Fordham University, where she directed the spiritual direction program from 1986 until her arrival at Yale Divinity School in the spring of 2010. She has published five books and numerous articles on spiritual direction and supervision, mercy spirituality, female religious life and leadership, kataphatic mysticism, prayer, and other technical topics in spirituality. She has lectured or given workshops in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, the UK, Ireland, India, Thailand, the Philippines, Korea, Hong Kong and Macau. She was a founding member of Spiritual Directors International and is past president of The Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality.   She graduated from Russell College and received her masters and Ph.D from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley.

  • Betty Santangelo
    LAW '74

    Betty Santangelo alum

    Betty Santangelo graduated from Fordham Law School in 1974, before embarking on a storied career as an attorney.  She became a partner at Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP in Oct 1997 where she continues to practice law.  Prior, she was First Vice President/ Assistant General Counsel at Merrill Lynch and an Assistant U.S. Attorney from 1977 to 1983.

    Santangelo is a former adjunct professor at Fordham Law School, where she taught a course on money laundering and founded Fordham Law Women to raise awareness of the issues faced by women in the law school community. In 2019, Fordham Law established the Betty Santangelo Award to recognize female alumnae working to advance the careers of women in the legal industry. 

    She is a much sought-after speaker on corporate compliance, anti-money laundering, white-collar criminal and securities law issues, including at SIFMA, the FIA, ACAMS, the ABA/ABA AML conference and FIBA. From the Emerald Literati Network she received an “outstanding paper” award in 2006 for an article she wrote on money laundering enforcement actions and a “highly commended” award in 2011 for an article she wrote on beneficial ownership information and USA PATRIOT Act obligations. In 2008, she won a Burton Award, which recognizes exceptional legal writing, for an article she wrote on the FCPA. She is a recipient of the YWCA Woman of Achievement award, as well as other awards.

  • Madeline Singas
    LAW '98 Madeline Singas

    Madeline Singas serves the people of the state of New York as an Associate Judge of the Court of Appeals.  The daughter of Greek immigrants, she was raised in Astoria, Queens. She is a graduate of the Bronx High School of Science, Barnard College of Columbia University (B.A.), and Fordham University School of Law (J.D.). Judge Singas began her legal career as an Assistant District Attorney in Queens County, serving from 1991 to 2006. From 2006 to 2011, she served as Chief of the Nassau County District Attorney’s Special Victims Bureau, from 2011 to 2015 as Chief Assistant District Attorney, and in 2015, Acting District Attorney until her election as Nassau County District Attorney, a role she held from January 2016 until her appointment to the Court of Appeals. Judge Singas was nominated to the Court of Appeals by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on May 25, 2021 and confirmed by the New York State Senate on June 8, 2021. Judge Singas lives on Long Island with her husband and twins.

  • Mary Anne Sullivan
    TMC '73


    Mary Anne Sullivan is one of the top energy lawyers in the country and a partner at the global firm of Hogan Lovells. She served as general counsel for the U.S. Department of Energy in the Clinton administration, and before that as the department’s deputy general counsel for environment and nuclear programs. She provided critical legal support for the world’s first deep geologic disposal facility for radioactive waste and negotiated the first agreements with electric utilities on voluntarily reducing greenhouse gas emissions. 

    She serves as Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees of Fordham University, where she attended Thomas More College, the women's college that was disolved shortly after Sullivan's graduation in 1973, when Fordham College went co-educational.  Her parents were also both Fordham graduates.

  • Marie Clark Taylor
    Ph.D '41

    Marie Clark Taylor photo


    Marie Clark Taylor was the first African-American woman to gain a PhD in botany, and the first woman of any race to gain a Ph.D. in science from Fordham University. She later became Head of the Botany Department at Howard University, where an auditorium is named in her honor.  

    Taylor was born in Sharpsburg, Pennsylvania in 1911. She earned her B.S. and M.S. in Botany at Howard University. After teaching high school, she enrolled in the doctoral studies program at Fordham University, where she was a member of the Scientific Research Society’s Sigma Xi.

    In 1941, she became the first woman of any race to receive a scientific doctorate from Fordham when she received her Ph.D. in botany, cum laude. Her research interest was plant photomorphogenesis or the influence of light on plant growth. For her dissertation, she studied the influence of definite photoperiods upon the growth and development of initiated floral primordia.

    During World War II, Taylor served in the Army Red Cross in New Guinea, where she met her husband Richard Taylor. He was serving in the all-black 93rd Airborne Infantry Division. They were married in 1948 and had one son in 1950.

    After serving in the Army Red Cross in New Guinea during World War II, Taylor returned to Washington and joined the Botany Department at Howard University as an assistant professor. In 1947, she succeeded Charles Stewart Parker as Chair of the Botany Department, a position she held until her retirement in 1976. During that time, the department grew, and she was instrumental in the design and construction of a new biology building on the Howard University campus, the botanical greenhouse laboratory on the rooftop of the Ernest E. Just Hall Biology Building.

    During her career, Taylor organized a series of summer science institutes for high school teachers in order to introduce them to new methods of teaching science. She encouraged teachers to adopt her innovative methods, such as using real botanical materials and light-microscopes to study living cells. Grants from the National Science Foundation allowed her to grow and develop these summer institutes between the 1950s and 1960s. During the mid-1960s, she was specifically requested by President Lyndon B. Johnson to expand her work nationally and overseas, bringing her teaching style to an international level.

    Taylor died in 1990 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

  • Tania TetlowTania Tetlow Portait 516 

    Tania Tetlow was named the 33rd president of Fordham University on February 10, 2022, and took office on July 1. She is the first layperson, and the first woman, to hold the office at Fordham.

    President Tetlow was the 17th president of Loyola University New Orleans. She was the first woman and the first layperson to lead Loyola since the Society of Jesus founded the university in 1912. President Tetlow was also the fourth, as well as the youngest, woman to lead one of the 27 colleges and universities in the U.S. that make up the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. She joined Loyola in August 2018 and during her tenure ushered in a new and exciting era at the Jesuit, Catholic university.

    Under her leadership, Loyola successfully completed a turnaround after the most challenging period in its financial history, improving its bond rating and repositioning university finances through careful budgeting, increased retention, continued enrollment growth, and expansion of online, graduate, and professional programs.

    A dynamic leader, President Tetlow also set a clear and attainable vision for the future at Loyola. The university’s Strategic Plan for Inclusive Excellence and Strategic Plan 2020: Courage and Creativity were created to capitalize on the university’s strength in diversity, equity, and inclusion, while encouraging sustainable and meaningful improvements to programs and enrollment growth. New academic programs created in response to local and regional needs placed increased emphasis on health care. A new undergraduate nursing program established in partnership with national industry leader Ochsner Health System has created clinical placement opportunities for students and helped fill a critical gap for the system.

    President Tetlow oversaw the completion of Loyola’s $100 million Faith in the Future campaign, the most ambitious fundraising campaign in its history. Funds raised went primarily toward scholarships, endowed professorships, improvements to academic programs, and construction of the new Chapel of St. Ignatius and the Gayle and Tom Benson Jesuit Center. Newly created student hardship and digital equity funds have helped ensure that students are able to complete their Loyola education.

    When the COVID-19 pandemic took root in New Orleans in March 2020, President Tetlow ensured the general safety of the Loyola community and a smooth transition to online and hybrid operations with minimal impact to finances. Consistent, clear communication and new virtual marketing and recruitment tools ensured that Loyola not only survived but, in many ways, thrived, taking advantage of new technology and bringing lessons learned into future operations.

    Prior to joining Loyola, President Tetlow served as senior vice president and chief of staff as well as the Felder-Fayard Professor of Law at Tulane University, where she was a key strategic adviser to President Michael Fitts. As a law professor, President Tetlow’s research helped persuade the Department of Justice to reimagine its regulation of constitutional policing. She also directed Tulane’s Domestic Violence Law Clinic for which she raised millions of dollars in federal grant funds.

    Before her career in academia, President Tetlow was an associate at Phelps Dunbar, litigating complex commercial transactions. She also served as an assistant United States attorney, prosecuting everything from violent crime to fraud cases.

    President Tetlow graduated cum laude from Tulane University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in American studies and is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School, where she earned a Juris Doctor degree and was a Harry S. Truman Fellow. A Catholic who was born in New York and grew up in New Orleans, President Tetlow has deep family ties to the Jesuits and to Fordham, where her parents met as graduate students in the late 1960s.

  • Marisa Totino Villani
    BS '08 MS '11 Ph.D '22

    Marisa Totino Villani is the Senior Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Studies at the Gabelli School of Business at Fordham University.  

    At Fordham, she oversees the undergraduate business program. Marisa has worked in many facets of higher education, including academic affairs, student success, alumni relations, housing and residential life, student leadership, and transition year advising and programming. She has her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Fordham University and is currently enrolled in Fordham’s Catholic Education and Leadership doctoral program.  A first generation college student, she is a Triple Ram, having received her bachelors, masters and doctorate from Fordham.

    She serves on the Board of Trustees at her alma mater St. Catharine Academy in the Bronx.

  • Leigh Weber

    Leigh Weber


    Leigh Marie Weber is the Assistant Director of the Fordham College Office of Multicultural Affairs. Leigh’s passion has always been to work with students at the collegiate level, and help aid in their spiritual, intellectual, and academic development. The Jesuit tenant of Cura Personalis, care for the whole person, resonates with her personal and professional values; she believes it is also critical in the multicultural development of all students.

    Prior to receiving her new role, Leigh served as a graduate intern at Fordham from 2104-2016. During that time, Leigh received her MA from New York University in Higher Education and Student Affairs. In 2014, she received her Bachelors of Science in Speech and Hearing Science from SUNY Cortland. 

  • Ruth Whitehead Whaley
    LAW '24

    Ruth Whitehead Whaley painting


    In 1925, the year that future civil rights leaders Robert F. Kennedy and Malcolm X were born, a year that saw 17 known lynchings of black Americans, Ruth Whitehead Whaley became one of the first black women admitted to practice law in New York. She was also the first black woman to enroll at Fordham Law School, where she graduated in 1924 at the top of her class.

    In 1933, Whitehead Whaley became the first black woman to practice law in her home state of North Carolina. She also maintained a private practice in New York until 1944. She was later appointed secretary of the New York City Board of Estimate, which worked in tandem with the City Council. She served in that post from 1951 to 1973.

    Whitehead Whaley argued before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals many times during her remarkable career. She became a recognized expert in civil service law, representing black local government employees—including her husband—in discharge proceedings. In 1949, she penned an essay titled “Women Lawyers Must Balk Both Color and Sex Bias.” In it, she expressed concern about the continued dearth of black female lawyers in the country, writing that in 1920, there were only four. By 1949, there were fewer than 150, and fewer than 100 who were practicing.

    Her colleagues recognized her courage and her competence. Whitehead Whaley was the first president of the New York City National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women, and served as president of the National Council for Negro Women. She also was a member of the Fordham University Council, a body of prominent individuals who served as ambassadors for the University. A number of societies, awards, and scholarships are named in her honor. The Association of Black Women Attorneys’ Ruth Whitehead Whaley Scholarship is awarded annually to law students on the basis of service to their community and financial need.

    At Fordham, students in the top 25 percent of each class at the School of Law are honored as Ruth Whitehead Whaley Scholars. And the Black Law Students Association bestows an annual Ruth Whitehead Whaley Trailblazing Alumnus Award, presented to alumni who embody Whitehead Whaley’s “bold spirit and commitment to excellence.”

  • Elizabeth Yeampierre


    Elizabeth Yeampierre is an internationally recognized Puerto Rican attorney and environmental justice leader of African and Indigenous ancestry born and raised in New York City. A national leader in the climate justice movement, Elizabeth is the co-chair of the Climate Justice Alliance. She is Executive Director of UPROSE, Brooklyn's oldest Latino community based organization. Her award winning vision for an inter-generational, multi-cultural and community led organization is the driving force behind UPROSE. She is a long-time advocate and trailblazer for community organizing around just, sustainable development, environmental justice and community-led climate adaptation and community resiliency in Sunset Park. Prior to assuming the Executive Director position at UPROSE, Ms. Yeampierre was the Director of Legal Education and Training at the Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund, Director of Legal Services for the American Indian law Alliance and Dean of Puerto Rican Student Affairs at Yale University. She holds a BA from Fordham University, a law degree from Northeastern University.

  • Christiana Zenner

    Christiana Zenner

    Christiana Zenner is Associate Professor of Theology, Science and Ethics in the Department of Theology at Fordham University, where she is affiliated faculty in Environmental Studies and American Studies. Her research into emerging and established fresh water ethics intersects with ecological theory, religious ecologies, developments in the earth sciences, and the ecological turn in Catholic social teaching. She lectures nationally and internationally on these topics and has provided analysis of contemporary topics in ecological ethics and religion and science in venues such as Public Radio International, the Bulletin of the Atomic ScientistsThe New Republic, the Washington Post, TED-Ed, MSNBC, and others.

    Professor Zenner is the author of Just Water: Theology, Ethics, and Global Fresh Water Crises (second edition, Orbis Books, 2018; first edition, 2014) and co-editor of two volumes on sustainability and bioethics. Her peer-reviewed articles are published in venues such as Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: WATERJournal of Environmental Studies and SciencesJournal of Feminist Studies in ReligionJournal of Catholic Social ThoughtJournal of Moral Theology, New Theology Review, and Journal of the Society for Christian Ethics.

    Dr. Zenner teaches a range of undergraduate and graduate courses, including: Religion and Ecology, Human Nature After Darwin, Ecological Ethics, and Theology and Contemporary Science. She is headquartered at Fordham's Lincoln Center campus, in the heart of New York City.