The late James “Jim” McGough ’61 will not soon be forgotten. A scholarship has been created in memory of the remarkable man who established Fordham Law’s financial aid department and served as its director for twenty years. Continuing his mission to help students in need, the scholarship supports Fordham Law students who demonstrate financial need.
Born in Brooklyn, McGough was educated by Jesuits: first at Regis High School and then at the College of the Holy Cross. Initially planning to enter the Society of Jesus, McGough soon recognized his call to embrace the Jesuit mission through legal work. Like his father, McGough studied at Fordham Law, where he was an editor of the Fordham Law Review. In 1961, he and his team submitted the best brief in the National Moot Court Competition.
After graduation, McGough became a renowned real estate and property lawyer. He worked at Olwine Connelly, where he negotiated the real estate contracts for the nationwide offices of S&H Green Stamps, a company that distributed trading stamps that could be redeemed for products.
At the request of law school classmate John D. Feerick ’61, professor and former dean of Fordham Law, McGough returned to his alma mater in 1982. Fordham Law at the time lacked several crucial administrative offices. Feerick, confident in his old friend’s abilities, called on McGough to create and maintain a financial aid office. With McGough as director, the office quickly became an integral part of the School.
“He did it all himself,” said Feerick. “He needed very little assistance.”
Dennis J. Kenny ’61, McGough’s fellow classmate and colleague, and Robert J. Reilly ’75, McGough’s former colleague and now assistant dean of the Feerick Center, agreed that McGough was a brilliant, hard-working, and heart-warming man.
“He loved the Fordham Law School experience and did all he could to make it available for those who couldn’t afford it,” said Reilly. “He loved the community.”
A man for others, McGough strove relentlessly to ensure that every student had the financial means to complete the program and begin fruitful careers. One such student was Dan Donovan ’88, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for New York. Had McGough not offered him financial guidance, Donovan may have never graduated, let alone become a prominent figure in American government.
“He helped everyone he could as much as he could for twenty years,” said Feerick.
Described as a perfectionist and a crackerjack, McGough was also a friendly and compassionate man. He maintained a fatherly attitude toward his students, striving not only to advise them but also to understand them. A spiritual man, he sometimes spoke in parables.
McGough poured both head and heart into the Fordham community, and his benevolent influence lingers to this day. Seeking to preserve his memory for future generations, those who knew him concluded that a scholarship would be the best way to honor him and his compassionate lifelong work.
“He was the epitome of an excellent Christian gentleman,” said Kenny.