Fordham Hosts Inauguration of President Tetlow


The inauguration occurred on Keating Steps (Courtesy of Hanif Amanullah)

On Friday, Oct. 14, 2022, Tania Tetlow was officially inaugurated as Fordham University’s 33rd president. Tetlow was announced as the replacement of Rev. Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president emeritus, on Feb. 10, 2022, and her tenure officially started on July 1.

Tetlow’s inauguration consisted of a week of events, starting on Tuesday, Oct. 11. Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus hosted a panel discussion with faculty members called “Fordham: Hope in a Fractured World.”

The discussion centered around how a Fordham education prepares students to tackle social justice issues and complicated problems.

On Wednesday, Oct. 12, student performance groups performed at Lincoln Center. The showcase was called “The Movement, Melodrama and Melodies of NYC” and featured students in Fordham’s theater programs, Lincoln Center’s Jazz Ensemble and Fordham’s joint B.F.A program with the Alvin and Ailey dance company.

The inauguration ceremony took place Friday, Oct. 14, on Edward’s Parade. The inauguration ceremony featured speakers from the extended Fordham community.

Susan Conley Salice, FCRH ’82, opened the ceremony by giving the convening the convocation. Chair of the Board of Trustees, Robert Daleo, Fordham ’72, followed Conley Salice by delivering the ceremony’s welcome address.

Marc Morial, former mayor of New Orleans, spoke to Tetlow’s character. He described her as a “steel magnolia” and praised her high intellect.

New York Senator Chuck Schumer spoke about the transition of power. He talked about his friendship with McShane and his excitement for Tetlow’s tenure. “[Tetlow is] perfect to lead the Fordham community at this time,” said Schumer.

Schumer also spoke to Tetlow’s spirituality, saying she is a good fit to carry on Fordham’s legacy of providing an “instructional and spiritual education.” He also noted that Tetlow is well-versed in “Gregorian chants.”

John Drummond, president of the university faculty senate, spoke to the faculty’s excitement about what Tetlow will do as president. Linda LoSchiavo, director of university libraries, followed Drummond and spoke to the “2,000 non-faculty” employees looking forward to working with Tetlow. Djellza Pulatani, FCLC ’24, president of United Student Government (USG) at Lincoln Center and Executive President of USG at Rose Hill, Santiago Vidal, FCRH ’24, spoke on the student body’s behalf. They talked about student excitement to have Tetlow as president. Pulatani also spoke about the impact that Fordham’s first female president has on the study body.

“[The] entire student body is ecstatic to start this chapter,” said Pulatani. Later in her speech, Pulatani called Tetlow’s presidency a “turning point.” “Women always belong in a place of power,” said Pulatani.

Thomas Curran, S.J., spoke to Tetlow’s commitment to faith. He talked about Tetlow’s efforts and leadership after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. He said she was committed to building a “foundation of faith, family and community support.”
Following Curran, the university choir sang and Armando Nunez, Fordham ’82, chair-elect of the Board of Trustees, transitioned the ceremony to the “Installation and Investiture of the President.” McShane presented the university mace. McShane explained that the mace has the power from New York to entrust degrees. All of Fordham’s presidents and schools are engraved on the mace below the crown. After McShane passed on the mace, Daleo presented the “chain of office.” Daleo said that the chain signifies Tetlow’s authority as president.

After that, Tetlow spoke about what being president signifies to her. Tetlow also spoke about her family lineage with the Jesuits and her connection to Fordham, as her parents met at the university in graduate school.

“Fordham has the power to make the world a better place,” said Tetlow. Tetlow talked about the significance of a Jesuit education and her experience attending Jesuit schools growing up. She said that Jesuit education teaches that having talent does not make one superior, but that talent comes with responsibility.

“We don’t just teach. We change lives and forge character,” said Tetlow.

Tetlow also spoke about the importance of students engaging with the community. She said that it is important for students not to turn their backs on others and to help those impacted by systemic oppression. She also mentioned faculty and encouraged them to continue inspiring students through education.

Following the inauguration, “PrezFest” took place on Edward’s Parade. Following ‘PrezFest,’ WFUV hosted a jazz concert in front of Walsh Library. The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, a jazz group from New Orleans, performed. According to the concert M.C., the band is one of Tetlow’s favorites. Preservation Hall featured a theme of New Orleans and New York jazz styles.