March 8, 2013
Bronx, N.Y. -
A day after Fordham University recognized some of its finest athletes at the 2013 Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony, the school recognized 345 student-athletes as champions for their academic prowess at the tenth annual Breakfast for Champions in the McGinley Center Ballroom and Lounge, including 46 members of the football program. The Rams in attendance were honored for compiling a 3.00 cumulative GPA or higher at an event sponsored by the Fordham Athletic Department with assistance from the Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) and the Office of Academic Advising.
The 345 in attendance represented over 64% of the student-athletes at Fordham and is the largest number of student-athletes to attend a Breakfast for Champions.
Krissy Boungiorno, GSB '14, President of SAAC and a member of the volleyball program, welcomed the crowd and introduced Monsignor Joseph G. Quinn, Vice President of University Mission and Ministry, for the invocation. Prior to the breakfast, Msgr. Quinn celebrated mass in the ballroom in front of a standing room crowd.
Following breakfast, David Roach, Director of Athletics, provided opening remarks, welcoming and honoring the student-athletes in attendance.
"We honor you here today for your success both athletically and academically," said Roach. "It's amazing that 345 of you are being honored for having a 3.0 GPA or better. We all know that education takes place inside and outside the classroom and what you learn through intercollegiate competition is very valuable. You prove that you can compete at the highest level of NCAA competition while challenging yourself at being successful at the highest academic level. You prove every day that the Fordham way is the right way."
Roach closed his remarks by reciting a story from a book called Hugs for Dad by John William Smith where a father asks his son to return a grocery shopping cart to the retrieval area. The son balked because no one else was doing it but the father and son saw an elderly couple returning their cart to the area. The father then stated to the son that there are two kinds of people in the world, those who put their shopping carts away and those who don't.
Roach used the moral of the shopping cart story to congratulate the student-athletes for not taking the easy way out. "People of character do the right thing not because they think it will change the world, but because they refuse to be changed by the world. There's a lot to admire in people that have a strong sense of decency and responsibility, people who put principles above convenience. And I want to thank you for the way you represent Fordham every day and the character that you bring to athletics in your academic pursuits."
After Deputy Director of Athletics Charlie Elwood recognized the top team performer for each varsity program, Buongiorno introduced the keynote speaker, Joanne Kastberg, GSB '87, a member of the track and field team at Fordham during her undergraduate days. She and her husband, Jim, GSB '85 who was a four-year letterman with the Fordham football team, launched the Kastberg Challenge in 2010, a unique and spirited way that will help raise the financial commitment to the women's athletic programs to an unprecedented level.
Having been a scholarship athlete, Kastberg is cognizant of the difficulties of balancing academics and athletics and the importance of academic scholarships.
"I congratulate you all here today for it is no small nor easy task to shoulder a fulltime class schedule at a prestigious catholic university while competing at the highest level of collegiate sports ," said Kastberg. "If not for athletics, I would probably never have the opportunity to be making this address. Everyone's circumstances are different but for my husband and me, college itself would have been very difficult to attend without sports and the scholarships we received."
After some time away from Fordham while their children were young, the Kastbergs returned to their alma mater and became active with various groups, including the Maroon Club, and they decided to help other student-athletes who, like them, depend on athletic aid to attend college.
"As our children grew older, we began to reconnect with Fordham," said Kastberg. "At most events, Father McShane consistently reminded us of the Jesuit ideal `To whom much is given, much is expected'. My husband and I felt a strong need to help provide the same opportunity afforded to us to other students and as former student-athletes, we were attracted to athletics."
In closing, Kastberg urged the student-athletes to take advantage of all of the many opportunities associated with Fordham. "You attend a great school in the greatest city in the world. Take advantage of it. Discover everything you can about the school, the city and everything its culture has to offer. Fordham is uniquely New York and Fordham students add to the vibrant nature of the city in a unique way."
Following Kastberg's address, Buongiorno announced the presentation of the annual SAAC community service gift. This year the gift was doubled by a generous matching donation from the office of University Mission and Ministry and the Dorothy Day Center for Service and Justice since SAAC identified the St. Francis de Sales School in Rockaway Beach which was severely damaged by Hurricane Sandy as the recipient. The matching funds provided by the office of University Mission and Ministry and the Dorothy Day Center for Service and Justice increased the check amount to $10,000.
Following an emotional video on the effects of Hurricane Sandy on the Rockaways, Buongiorno called upon Jess Crowley, FCRH '13 and a member of the softball team, and William DeLuca, GSB '13 and a member of the football program, to present the gift, which was accepted by Jamie Agoglia, GSB '92, president of the St. Francis de Sales parish council.
Agoglia mentioned that there are many Fordham alumni in the Rockaways and spoke of the resilience of the people of the St. Francis de Sales parish and of all those who live in the Rockaways.
"What you saw in the video shows that there is a lot going on in the Rockaways," said Agoglia. "The Rockaways are still in a rehab state but it's a great place to be. The mayor of New Orleans came to the Rockaways recently and said that the Rockaways were hit harder than New Orleans was hit by Katrina. He was able to explain through the support of each other and the community that things can come back."
Following Sandy, the St. Francis de Sales School became ground zero for the Rockaways, providing food and clothing to victims of the storm. They gave away 100,000 meals in a short period of time, provided over 1,000 people with medical treatments and gave away over three tons of clothing.
Agoglia ended his speech by describing a trip his son's baseball team made to play in a tournament at the ESPN/Disney complex in Orlando. The coach of the team arranged an interview in the ESPN studios where Agoglia's son, James, was going to be asked about his experience with Hurricane Sandy.
"He looked in the camera and said we live by the three F's," said Agoglia. "When he was asked what the three F's were he responded `family faith and friends'. And now I share with everyone the fourth F. Fordham University. Thank you so much for this generous donation!"
The gift won't be the only help that the Fordham Community will be providing the people of the Rockaways as the office of University Mission and Ministry and the Dorothy Day Center for Service and Justice established the Sandy Solidarity Program, where Fordham students travel to the Rockaways to assist the Habitat for Humanity Project in rebuilding the Rockaway. The Athletic Department has identified Saturday, April 9, as its Sandy Saturday.
Joseph M. McShane, S.J., President of Fordham University, was called forward for a closing prayer and final comments. He mentioned how the Rockaways are filled with Fordham graduates and families that send their sons and daughters to Fordham. He noted that the night before the brunch he was watching the news and a report on the recovery efforts on the Rockaways featured Fordham students who were down doing a Sandy weekend.
"The praise the Fordham students received from the community was high praise indeed," said McShane. "Fordham has been present and will continue to be present, not only at the Rockaways, but on Staten Island and down on the Jersey shore. Where there has been sorrow and hurt and loss, Fordham students have been there to help and this will be no exception."
McShane then turned to the student-athletes to add his thanks and gratitude "I am immensely proud of all of you and deeply grateful to everyone. Proud of how you compete and grateful for¬¬ the way in which you advance the mission, profile and reputation of the university."
McShane expanded on his thoughts and pointed out how Fordham student-athletes are different. "Each Fordham athlete I have met in the past ten years always rejoices more heartedly in the accomplishments of their teammates than in the accomplishments they themselves can brag about. This says volumes about your character and the lessons that you have learned from your parents. We at Fordham are immensely proud that you are athletes with a difference. You compete with your hearts, with all your strengths and you achieve great things, but you are quicker to praise a teammate. You are champions of heart and what makes Fordham, Fordham, a different kind of place. On behalf of everyone who loves Fordham we thank you for being such terrific ambassadors of Fordham and exemplars of all the values we hold dear."
At the center of those values is that of generosity and therefore McShane wrapped up the ceremony by calling upon all those in attendance to join him for the closing prayer, a prayer for generosity written by the founder of the Jesuits, St. Francis Ignatius, found in the Fordham prayer book given to each person at the brunch.
Prayer for Generosity
Lord, teach me to be generous.
Teach me to serve You as You deserve;
to give and not count the cost,
to fight and not heed the wounds,
to toil and not seek for rest,
to labor and not ask for reward,
save that of knowing that I do Your will.
Included in the 345 student-athletes honored were 36 student-athletes who were recognized as four-year Breakfast for Champions attendees.
Kaitlin Abrams (Women's Soccer)
Alexandra Anello (Rowing)
James Avedesian (Football)
Alyssa Cantarella (Rowing)
Daniel Chediak (Men's Track & Field)
Daniel Clemens (Men's Track & Field)
Jessica Crowley (Softball)
Ashley Davis (Women's Track & Field)
Ben Delikat (Men's Track & Field)
Jason Del Rosso (Golf)
Ryan DeMartino (Baseball)
Rachel Deputato (Women's Swimming & Diving)
Randi Ewing (Women's Track & Field)
Kevin Fitzgerald (Men's Track & Field)
Rich Grandelli (Men's Track & Field)
Andrew Grosner (Squash)
Patrick Herlihy (Golf)
John Hohlt (Football)
Devin Kelly (Men's Track & Field)
Genevieve Looby (Rowing)
Kellie Lyver (Women's Swimming & Diving)
Brendan Melanophy (Football)
Andrew Milmore (Football)
Patrick Murray (Football)
Courtney Newman (Women's Track & Field)
Khary Powell (Football)
Michael Rossi (Men's Track & Field)
Brienne Ryan (Women's Swimming & Diving)
Julian Saad (Men's Track & Field)
Kristin Spallanzani (Cheerleading)
Rachel Suther (Women's Soccer)
Sabrina Walsh (Rowing)
Alex Williams (Squash)
Nick Womack (Football)
Annie Worden (Women's Soccer)
Sarah Zieman (Women's Soccer)
Also recognized were the following that have the highest grade point average for their team:
Baseball - Ryan DeMartino
Men's Basketball - Nihad Musovic
Women's Basketball - Abigail Corning
Cheerleading - Danielle Craft
Football - Brett Biestek
Golf - Patrick Herlihy
Rowing - Nicole Arrato
Men's Soccer - Michael DeVito
Women's Soccer - Kelly Alpaugh
Softball - Michelle Daubman
Squash - Ross Garlick
Men's Swimming - Nick Belfanti
Women's Swimming - Savannah Coe
Men's Tennis - Max Peara
Women's Tennis - Amy Simidian
Men's Cross Country/Track - Kevin Fitzgerald
Women's Cross Country/Track - Anisa Arsenault
Volleyball - Michele Keathley
Water Polo - Daniel Kearney
Below are the 46 football student-athletes honored at the 2013 Fordham Breakfast for Champions: