Skip to main content

Fordham's Dodransbicentennial - 175 years of Fordham: Famous Faculty of the Past

On June 24, 2016 Fordham University celebrates the 175th anniversary of its founding.

On exhibit. Walsh Library. 4th Floor Exhibit Hall

The Dodransbicentennial marks 175 years of Fordham’s Fabulous Faculty in New York. Here are just a few of the notable men, women and priests who have contributed to making Fordham a major research university.

Fr. Edward Doucet S.J. 1825-1890

 

An accomplished musician and outstanding preacher, fluent in both English and French, Fr. Doucet is most remembered as the close friend of Bronx neighbor Edgar Allen Poe. Doucet was a young scholastic at the college when Poe visited the college and the library in 1846.

“I knew him well,” said Father Doucet, on one occasion. “In bearing and countenance he was extremely refined. His features were somewhat sharp and very thoughtful. He was well informed on all matters. I always thought him a gentleman by nature and instinct”.

Poe enjoyed visiting the Jesuits and told a friend they were “highly cultivated gentlemen and scholars, they smoked and they drank, and played cards and never said a word about religion.”

Fr. John Jospeh Wynne 1859-1948

Born in NYC, Fr. Wynne was editor of Messenger of the Sacred Heart and founder of America magazine. He also worked as editor of the 16 volumes Catholic Encyclopedia that was published between 1907 and 1914. At Fordham he taught in the School of Education.

Fr. Wynne is also credited with the promotion for the canonization of Kateri Tekawitha and was presented with this headdress by the Mohawk Nation. (photo courtesy of the Archives of the Archdiocese of New York).

Also known as Lily of the Mohawks, Kateri was born in 1656, a member of the Algonquin-Mohawk Nation and converted to Catholicism when she was 19 on Easter Sunday. She lived at the Jesuit Mission du Sault St. Louis, south of Montreal. Due to poor health, Kateri died in 1680 at the young age of 24. Witnesses at her death bed said her smallpox scars vanished and her complexion became youthful and radiant.

Kateri was canonized in 2012 and is the first Native American woman to become a saint.

Dr. Victor Hess 1883-1964

 

As a post-doctoral student at the University of Vienna, Victor Hess conducted a series of ionization experiments in hot air balloons inspired by the scientist Theodor Wulf, S.J.

In 1910, Father Wulf had measured ionization (electrical charge) levels at the bottom and the top of the 985-foot Eiffel Tower. While most scientists believed ionization was caused by radioactivity from ground minerals, Father Wulf’s experiment showed that ionization levels were puzzlingly higher at the top of the tower than at the bottom.  Hess made a dramatic series of hot air balloon experiments over three years, from 1911 to 1913. On 10 separate trips, Hess went as high as 17,500 feet in a small balloon to measure ionization; what he found was that, at the height of several miles, ionization increased rapidly.

Hess concluded that radiation must be entering the atmosphere from outer space, and he named the phenomenon “cosmic radiation,” also called “cosmic rays.” Scientists had no idea that this phenomenon possibly existed. This was the discovery that would win Hess the 1936 Nobel Prize in physics.

In 1938, Hess, a Catholic married to a Jew, was tipped off by a sympathetic Gestapo officer that he was in danger of Nazi persecution if he stayed in Austria. The Hesses swiftly immigrated to New York, where the Jesuits at Fordham offered Hess a full professorship in the Physics Department.

The professor’s Lindeman Electrometer and Ionization chambers are on display.

Anna King 1897-1983

 

In 1939 Anna King became Dean of The School of Social Service. Professor King became the first female dean at Fordham, and also the first female dean at any Jesuit college.  King came to Fordham in 1934 as professor of Case Work and Director of Field Work Training.  By 1945 she was elected the president of the American Association of Schools of Social Service. That same year the School of Social Service began to award the degree of Master of Science in Social Service.  Five years later, following the directives of the State Education Department, the degree was changed to Master of Social Service.  

Marshall McLuhan 1911-1980

During the 1967-1968 academic year, McLuhan, the Albert Schweitzer Chair in Humanities, oversaw an alternative curriculum of lectures, film showings and independent study assignments for students. McLuhan’s appointment came about through communications professor John Culkin, S.J., a longtime colleague of McLuhan’s and himself a media expert.

One of the most enigmatic theorists of the 20th century, McLuhan equated the rise of electronic media with a revolution in human thinking and group behavior, and launched the idea that “the medium is the message.” In the 1960s, he predicted the proliferation of the Internet and the shift to electronic books.

His time at Fordham was interrupted by a health problem, a benign brain tumor, and McLuhan returned to his native Canada.

Dr. Anne Anastasi 1908-2001

Nicknamed the ‘test guru’ Dr. Anastasi’s 1954 text “Psychological Testing” remains required reading in psychology classes.

Dr. Anastatsi’s teaching career began at Barnard College in 1930. In 1939 she became Chairperson of Psychology at Queens and in 1947 she joined the faculty at Fordham. With the increasing popularity of standardized tests in that measure aptitude and intelligence, Dr. Anastasi argues the results can be misinterpreted and misused. She supports the validity of testing as long the tester is aware of various limitations and norms.

 

The book is now in its 7th edition and has been printed in 9 languages.

Fr. Walter Summers S.J. 1889-1938

 

Polygraphs, also known as lie detector tests, measure heart beats and blood pressure. The psychogalvanometer, invented by psychology professor Fr. Walter Summers S.J. measures electrical currents. In the summer of 1936 Fr. Summers and the police conducted an experiment. Using the traditional Keeler polygraph and the Fordham psychogalvanometer on 271 subjects, the Summers lie detector performed accurately at 98% to 100% against the 50% Keeler.

Fr. J. Joseph Lynch S.J. 1894-1987

 

For over 50 years Fr. Joseph Lynch ran the oldest seismic observatory in New York City, based on Fordham’s RH campus.  An authority on earthquakes, Lynch was quoted “Earthquakes are like snakes. They avoid people more than is generally realized.” Fr. Lynch was at the 1939 World’s Fair in Flushing, making Fordham, the only university represented at the event.

Margaret Mead 1901-1978

Margaret Mead was a distinguished anthropologist, an intellectual and a scientist. She is the author of numerous books on primitive societies and she also wrote about many contemporary issues. Some of the areas in which she was prominent were education, ecology, the women's movement, the bomb, and student uprisings.

In 1968 she founded the anthropology department at Fordham University at Lincoln Center where she taught until 1971.

Fr. William T. Hogan S.J. 1919-2002

Born in the South Bronx on April 30, 1919 , William Thomas Hogan was a product of the Bronx public schools, P.S. 72 and James Monroe High. During the Depression, he delivered The Bronx Home News to help support his family and then pay his tuition at Fordham, where he would graduate college cum laude and eventually earn an M.A. in economics and, after becoming a member of the Society of Jesus, a Ph.D.

In the late 1940’s, his doctoral studies took him to Pittsburgh, then the nation’s and the world’s steel capital, where he lived at Duquesne University and worked at United States Steel Corporation in researching his dissertation on steel productivity. It was the first detailed study on the subject ever made, and his methods of productivity measurement were adopted by the U.S. Department of Labor and were detailed in his first book, Productivity in the Blast-Furnace and Open-Hearth Segments of the Steel Industry. Published in 1950, the book would forever identify Father Hogan with steel.

In 1950, Hogan founded Fordham’s Industrial Economics Research Institute (IERI) and initiated an interrelated research and teaching program in Industrial Economics. Much of the Institute’s research demonstrated the pivotal role of the steel industry as a catalyst for economic development, and throughout his career, Hogan used his knowledge and worked tirelessly to foster international cooperation and understanding in the steel business, gaining his worldwide reputation as the “Steel Priest.”

 

Fr. Joseph Fitzpatrick S.J. 1913-1995

In 1959, Fr. Joseph Fitzpatrick founded the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. An expert on Latin American and Puerto Rican immigration, Fr. Fitzpatrick was an advocate of tolerance, acceptance and respect towards our diverse cultures.

 

Father Fitzpatrick wrote many articles and was the author or editor of eight books, including "Puerto Rican Americans: The Meaning of Migration to the Mainland" (Prentice-Hall) and "One Church, Many Cultures: The Challenge of Diversity" (Sheed & Ward).

 

In 1978 he received the Puerto Rican Man of the Year Award during the annual San Juan Fiesta. And he held honorary degrees from the Catholic University of Puerto Rico, Fordham, John Jay College, Loyola University of Chicago and Manhattan College.

Dr. James Dumpson 1909-2012

In 1967, the Fordham School of Social Service appointed Dr. James R. Dumpson as the dean.  He came to Fordham with a distinguished background in both public service and academia.  For six years he had been the Commissioner of the Department of Welfare of the City of New York, only the second African American man to serve as a Commissioner in New York City and the first African American in the United States to head a major social agency.  After leaving public service in 1965, Dumpson became a professor and associate dean of Hunter College School of Social Work.  Dumpson became the first African American Dean of Social Service appointed to a predominately white university.

During his deanship Dumpson introduced faculty from diverse backgrounds and experience while continuing his focus on child welfare which led to the establishment of the Dumpson Chair in Child Welfare Studies.

 

Fr. Hermann Blumensaat S.J. 1845-1901

Born in Germany, Hermann Blumensaat left for the U.S. at age 21 with his business partner Henry Heide. The two men operated a successful candy business and are credited with inventing JuJubes and Gummi Bears. At age 30 Blumensaat left the confectioner company to become a Jesuit priest.

Fr. Blumensaat taught arithmetic and music at St John’s but his life’s work was ministering to the sick on Blackwell’s Island (now known as Roosevelt Island).

The sons of Henry Heide, Andrew and Hermann Heide, both attended Fordham. Andrew Heide became ill and died in 1901 in his room in Hughes Hall from pneumonia. Coincidentally Blumensaat later died at St. Vincent’s Hospital from pneumonia. Many blamed overwork because he never took a vacation. Others suspected that while visiting his friend’s son at the Prep he became infected and ill.

Fr Blumensaat is buried in the Fordham cemetery.

Dr Jacob Diner 1877-1937

Born in Russia to Jewish parents, Jacob Diner immigrated to the United States in 1891. His first job was as a dishwasher at a bakery on Fulton Street. He learned English at night school and soon became an orderly at Montefiore Hospital. It was there he learned about pharmacy and by 1894 he saved enough money to open his own pharmacy. He entered Fordham Medical School in 1909 and received his MD in 1913.  It was during his time in school he persuaded Fordham to start a pharmacy program which opened in 1912. Dr. Diner was the first dean and the first Jewish dean at Fordham. This met with some controversy that a Catholic school had a Jewish dean, however both the Jesuit Provincial and the treasurer Fr. Joseph Keating S.J. quickly rallied to Diner’s defense. Diner remained dean until his retirement in 1932.

William Riva 1920-1999

In her 1992 book Marlene Dietrich, Maria Riva, daughter of Marlene Dietrich, says she met her future husband while working with the theater at Fordham.  William Riva was a Stage Designer and taught scenic design at the college from 1946-1952.

Paul Couglin, FCRH ’51 and former secretary of the Mimes and Mummers, recalled seeing the famous actress at Fordham.  Ms. Dietrich would attend the shows, especially if her daughter Maria had helped out. One opening night, Paul remembers, Ms. Dietrich was late. The curtain had to be held so that Ms. Dietrich could “make her entrance.”

Quinton Wilkes 1942-2015

Quinton Wilkes, GSAS ‘69, ’77 was one of the founders of Fordham’s Department of African and African American Studies. A graduate of Morgan State University who served in West Germany as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Military Police, Wilkes was a doctoral student in psychology at the Rose Hill campus in 1969 when he helped organize a sit-in at Cunniffe House—an action that helped spur the creation of the Institute of Afro-American Studies which eventually became the department it is today.

Wilkes worked at Fordham for seven years as a teacher, department chair, and student advocate before leaving to become a therapist in 1976, the year the University granted the institute full departmental status. He earned his doctorate from Fordham a year later, becoming the first black man at the University to complete a Ph.D. in psychology.

Following his departure, he practiced for 30 years in the New Jersey Department of Mental Health, where he remained a committed civil rights activist and advocate for an empathetic approach to mental health.

 

 

Avery Cardinal Dulles S.J 1918-2008

Born in Auburn, New York, on August 24, 1918, the son of John Foster Dulles and Janet Pomeroy Avery Dulles he received his primary school education in New York City, and attended secondary schools in Switzerland and New England. After graduating from Harvard College in 1940, he spent a year and a half in Harvard Law School before serving in the United States Navy, emerging with the rank of lieutenant.

Upon his discharge from the Navy in 1946, Avery Dulles entered the Jesuit Order, and was ordained to the priesthood in 1956. After a year in Germany, he studied at the Gregorian University in Rome, and was awarded the doctorate in Sacred Theology in 1960. After teaching at numerous colleges and universities in the US and Europe, Dulles was named the Laurence J. McGinley Professor of Religion and Society at Fordham University in 1988. He was created a Cardinal of the Catholic Church in Rome on February 21, 2001 by Pope John Paul II, the first American-born theologian who is not a bishop to receive this honor. 

Cardinal Dulles has published twenty-three books and over 750 articles on theological topics.

The fiftieth anniversary edition of his book, A Testimonial to Grace, the account of his conversion to Catholicism, was republished in 1996 by the original publishers, Sheed and Ward, with an afterword containing his reflections on the fifty years since he became a Catholic.