Carolyn Dursi Cunniffe
Carolyn Dursi Cunniffe, Ph.D., UGE ’62, GSAS ’65, ’71
Carolyn Dursi Cunniffe, Ph.D., UGE ’62, GSAS ’65, ’71, has had a successful career as an executive in the cosmetics industry and, later, in executive recruiting. Fluent in French and Italian, she studied at the Sorbonne and the University of Perugia as well as Fordham, where she earned a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, and a doctorate in French literature.
After graduating, Carolyn spent 13 years at Revlon, progressing through roles in the U.S. and abroad and rising to VP status at a time when that title was a rarity for women. She moved on to Chanel Inc./Parfums Ungaro as vice president and was instrumental in launching the Diva and Tiffany fragrance brands in the U.S. market. In the 1990s she began a career in executive recruiting, holding leadership positions in several search firms before joining Cablevision Systems Corporation in 2000. She was a senior vice president and the key strategist in recruiting senior talent there before retiring in 2011.
Carolyn grew up in a family of eight, including two brothers who also went to Fordham. She always felt very connected to the University and considers herself fortunate to have received fellowships for her master’s and doctoral work. That’s part of what inspired her to support current Fordham students through Faith & Hope | The Campaign for Financial Aid, which she co-chaired. Another critical piece of that inspiration is her husband, Maurice “Mo” Cunniffe, FCRH ’54, an honorary chair of the campaign. Together, the Cunniffes have been magnanimous benefactors of Fordham, where she is a trustee and he is a trustee emeritus. They are both recipients of the Fordham Founder’s Award. Carolyn was also one of the founding members of the team behind the inaugural Women’s Philanthropy Summit at Fordham University in 2017.
The University acknowledged the couple’s generosity with the naming of two Rose Hill campus landmarks: Cunniffe House and the Carolyn Dursi Cunniffe Fountain. In 2016, the Cunniffes made a transformative gift to Fordham—the second largest in its history—to establish the Maurice and Carolyn Cunniffe Presidential Scholars Program.