Barbara and John Costantino ’70 were designated Fordham Founders at the University’s Seventeenth Annual Founder’s Dinner, held March 19, at Cipriani Wall Street. The awards were announced by Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham, and included a third honoree, William J. Loschert, a graduate of the Gabelli School of Business, of which Costantino is also a graduate.
“They have lived their lives in ways that bring lustre to the University,” said Father McShane of the three honorees. “It also means that, having reflected deeply on the transforming impact that a Fordham education had on them, they have come to the realization that like all of us, they were the beneficiaries of a legacy they didn’t create.”
Bob Daleo, GABELLI ’72, chairman of the University Board of Trustees and the event’s co-chair, said the Costantinos had a “shared love” of the University, and were generous in their support for the new Law School building, Fordham athletics, WFUV, and two scholarships—the Costantino Family Endowed Scholarship Fund, and the Edelman Postgraduate Fellowship in Neuroscience.
In accepting the Founder’s award, former Fordham trustee John Costantino paid homage to his parents; his father, an orphan who emigrated to America from Sicily when he was just 14 years old, had little chance for a formal education.
“The proudest day of my parents’ lives was the day they attended my graduation at Fordham Law School,” he said. Although his father passed away just two months after the graduation ceremony, Costantino’s mother always felt that his father had “gotten his wish” to see him become a lawyer.
Barbara Costantino said she was honored to share the stage with her husband of 48 years, whom she’d known when he was a student in 1963 at Fordham’s business school, and for whom she’d read and typed his college and law school papers–free of charge.
“I have often felt that I probably should have gotten an honorary Fordham degree [for that],” she said jokingly, and to applause.
In 2009, John Costantino was awarded the Fordham Law Alumni Association Medal of Achievement, the highest award bestowed by the association.