Fordham University Student-Athletes Honored At Ninth Annual Breakfast for Champions
Feb. 12, 2012
Bronx, N.Y. -
Bronx, NY (February 12, 2012) - Five days after the New York Giants football fans feted their team with a victory parade in Manhattan, Fordham University recognized 308 student-athletes as champions at the Ninth Annual Breakfast for Champions in the McGinley Center. The Rams in attendance were honored for compiling a 3.0 cumulative GPA or higher and the event was sponsored by the Fordham Athletic Department with assistance from the Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) and the Office of Academic Advising.
The 308 in attendance represented over 58% of the student-athletes at Fordham and is the second largest number of student-athletes to attend a Breakfast for Champions.
Megan Arend, FCRH '12, 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.
Following breakfast, Frank McLaughlin, Executive Director of Athletics, provided opening remarks, honoring the student-athletes in attendance.
"We honor you here today for your success both athletically and academically," said McLaughlin. "You represent Fordham in so many different ways, especially with your outstanding community service. You are changing people's lives and we are proud of all of you."
After Director of Athletic Administration Charlie Elwood recognized the top team performer for each varsity program, Arend introduced the keynote speaker, Brian Harrington, Founder of the Each One Counts Foundation, a charity that looks to ease the physical pain and suffering of chronically and terminally ill children who are receiving palliative or hospice care.
Harrington was a member of the 1985 Villanova NCAA men's basketball championship team and after graduating, stayed on at the school as a graduate assistant coach. He then moved on to the business world, combining his love for sports with his interest in marketing. But after awhile he felt something was missing.
"The excitement of the big event started to disappear," said Harrington. "I felt I needed to do more with my life. I started to feel that I needed to participate in making something better."
Harrington started his charity career by founding a philanthropy consulting firm, helping organizations aid people in need. But he still sensed something was missing. So Harrington decided to start his own foundation, combing his interest in sports and philanthropy, thus was born the Each One Counts Foundation.
"Children are not supposed to get sick and die, but they do," said Harrington. "Each year in the US over 50,000 children die pain-filled deaths. They need palliative or hospice care to alleviate their pain but less than one-percent gets it. Each One Counts strives to raise that number. We've helped ease the pain of 20,000 children through their final days of life using different forms of therapy, including massage, hydro and music therapy."
Each One Counts not only provides funding for palliative or hospice care, it also provides training for therapists, with over 100 massage therapists being trained this year.
Harrington ended his speech with a quote from Gandhi, imploring all that there are times in your life when you must take a risk. He then played a slide show of children in hospice care with Rod Stewart's "Have I Told you Lately" as the background music.
Following the check presentation, Arend reminded those in attendance of upcoming SAAC initiatives, including the ongoing ping pong fundraiser sponsored by SAAC with the proceeds going to Each One Counts. The next event is on Wednesday, February 22nd in The Marketplace prior to the men's basketball with St. Bonaventure that night.
Joseph M. McShane, S.J., President of Fordham University, wrapped up the brunch by congratulating the student-athletes for their exploits, both on the playing fields and in the classroom. He started by mentioning recent articles in the Chronicle of Higher Education that have questioned whether college athletics should be reengineered or terminated in light of the recent collegiate scandals and low graduation rates for many of the schools that participate in the NCAA men's basketball tournament.
"When I read that story I thanked God for all of you because you stand as proof that the student-athlete exists," said McShane. "You are an enormous source of pride for the University, you give us credibility and you give the Atlantic 10 credibility. We can not thank you enough for dedicating yourself to the proposition that one can be a true student-athlete."
McShane went on to relate to the attendees how the New York Giants are Fordham's team, pointing out the Fordham connections that include late co-owner Wellington Mara, FCRH '37; current Giants' president and CEO, John Mara, LAW '79; and the first lady of the Giants, Ann Mara, who received an honorary degree from Fordham in 2008.
After asking the coaches to rise so that they may be thanked by the student-athletes, McShane wrapped up the ceremony calling upon Monsignor Joseph G. Quinn and Sister Anne Walsh, RHSM, who works with the Athletic Academic Advising Office, to join him for the closing prayer.
Included in the 311 were 37 student-athletes who were recognized as four-year Breakfast for Champions attendees.
Also recognized were the following that have the highest grade point average for their team: