Big Blue, meet Fordham maroon.
Fordham and the New York Giants, two institutions with deep connections to New York football and each other, will team up on an array of initiatives after signing a formal partnership this summer. Benefits will include academic offerings for students and exposure for the University.
"Our identity has been tied to the gridiron since the 1920s, with Fordham's 'Seven Blocks of Granite' dominating the sport in the 1930s, and John Mara is of course a distinguished Fordham Law alumnus," said Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham.
"We are therefore pleased to deepen our family connection to the Giants and excited to enter a partnership with the team that will be mutually beneficial."
The partnership has the potential to result in new academic programs and new initiatives in the areas of community service, student enrollment, fundraising, alumni relations, branding, and special events.
"As a graduate of Fordham Law, I was fortunate to experience firsthand the wonderful educational opportunities that Fordham has to offer," said John Mara, LAW '79, president and co-owner of the New York Giants.
"This partnership will create new academic programs, student internships, and community service initiatives that will build upon and strengthen those experiences for Fordham students and our community."
Academic Programming and Marketing
Jonathan Crystal, Ph.D., vice provost for Fordham, said there are many benefits to the new partnership.
"This initiative furthers the university's strategy of deepening partnerships with leading New York City institutions, using them as a springboard to develop new academic programs and create unique opportunities for our students," he said.
"It draws on our strengths across a number of different disciplines, from business and marketing to communications and media studies. It also takes Fordham's visibility to the next level."
The University and its programs and schools will be featured on in-stadium advertising during Giants games, as well as radio, digital, and social promotion.
Anthony R. Davidson, Ph.D., dean of Fordham's School of Professional and Continuing Studies, said an intriguing aspect of the partnership is the way he sees Fordham leveraging it to create new academic programming in sports business at the school—potentially at the graduate level. Davidson said he's eager to collaborate with colleagues in the department of communications and media studies, which currently offers a minor in sports journalism, and the Gabelli School of Business, which offers a concentration in sports business.
"I think this allows for us to develop our offerings in sports, an area of interest for many students," he said, noting that the opportunities in the field extend far beyond working for individual teams or leagues.
Davidson said also he expects that members of the Giants organization will likewise take advantage of continuing education opportunities that Fordham offers.
Internships and Class Projects
This semester, three students will be interning with the team. Annette McLaughlin, director of Fordham's Office of Career Services, said the internships—in departments such as corporate partnerships, premium services, and media production—are well aligned with the academic interests of Fordham students.
"Career success depends on two things: connections and experience, which includes the classroom, internships, volunteer work, and campus leadership roles. Fordham does an amazing job on the academic side with projects and presentations. We prepare the students by helping them connect their experiences inside and outside the classroom for future employment," she said.
"Our role is to facilitate and create opportunities that connect students to employers and introduce them to a variety of career options. The Giants internships really match well with the knowledge, skills, and interests of our students and will no doubt help them as they begin their next chapter."
Students will also be able to work with the Giants in the classroom through a class project. The project, which will be treated like a case study, will bring together an interdisciplinary group of students to work on a business challenge. Students will have the opportunity to make a presentation to the Giants' management team. The agreement will also bring Giants executives into the classroom for guest lectures.
Jeffrey L. Gray, senior vice president for student affairs at Fordham, called the agreement "a team effort."
"It involved genuine collaboration by many individuals and units across the University and in the Giants organization," he said.
"The process is a model for how to get complex projects across the goal line, and I am grateful for the time and effort put in by everyone in both organizations."
Partnering on Community Service
Beyond the classroom and the field, the two organizations will pursue community service projects together. The Giants will support Fordham students as they assist in community service projects such as clothing drives for the homeless, food delivery to those in need on holidays, and visits to children in hospitals.
A Long History Together
Fordham and the Giants have shared many connections through the years. Wellington Mara, the son of the team's founder Tim Mara, graduated from Fordham College at Rose Hill in 1937. His classmate, Fordham football legend Vince Lombardi, got his start in the NFL as an assistant coach with the team. Several executives in the Giants organization are Fordham graduates. And Bob Papa, the radio voice of the Giants, who has broadcast the team's games since 1995, is a 1986 graduate of Fordham's Gabelli School of Business.