At the 4th Annual Alumni Reunion and Block Party at Lincoln Center, GSE alumni, faculty, and guests joined together for an evening of jazz, networking, and tasty food and drinks while celebrating their accomplishments and careers. It also marked the presentation of the school’s first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award.
Dean Virginia Roach kicked the night off by welcoming alumni Rams back to the Lincoln Center campus to reconnect and connect with their Fordham Ramily. She noted there is much excitement about the work the GSE is doing, and that the school is engaged in a variety of research projects both locally and internationally.
She then asked that Rashid F. Davis, GSE ’03, step up to the podium to receive the GSE’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Davis’ leadership skills, attributes and innovative educational practices have transformed today’s high school educational landscape through a unique high school program developed in partnership with the IBM Corporation, City University of New York – City Tech, and the New York City Department of Education. Specifically, in 2011, Davis founded Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH). This highly touted and replicated premier Career and Technical Education (CTE) high school was visited and praised by President Obama, who lauded its high graduation rates, high college acceptance rates, and high number of career opportunities through the IBM partnership.
Upon accepting the award, Davis expressed that he is where he is today as a result of what is possible through the interconnectedness of people. And he said, “I am here today [yet] nowhere near finished with my life.” He expressed he was the conduit for the “ducks that lined up in the right path.” When he started the P-TECH school in 2011, no one believed he would be able to get a major corporation involved, let alone one that would hire the graduates; then IBM stepped up to the plate. They started with one high school and one partner – IBM. Today, this school model is in 14 countries on six continents.
“The humanity of what’s necessary came from my time at Fordham – the connectedness, the ability to deal with and help each other – this is the anchor for the work we are doing at P-TECH,” stated Davis.
Fordham president Father Joseph M. McShane then took center stage to thank Dean Virginia Roach for her accomplishments at the helm of the GSE. He expressed that she is a tireless worker and dreamer, collaborative and responsive, and has sparked enthusiasm in the heart of the faculty. He thanked her and the rest of the GSE faculty and staff for earning the school’s highest ranking ever on the U.S. News & World Report’s 2019 Best Graduate Schools list.
“But the greatest rave is you [referring to Dean Roach] and the life you lead. Teach the kids in front of you, not those you wish you had. These are the students that need you,” McShane concluded.