Retiring Professors Say Goodbye to FCLC


As the academic year comes to an end, several professors at Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) have announced their retirement. Among the retirees are Associate Professor Anne Mannion, Associate Professor Astrid O’Brien, Professor Fred Harris, and Associate Professor Charles Kelbley. The Observer was able to sit down and chat with Mannion and O’Brien.

(Ayer Chan/ The Observer)

Anne Mannion

Mannion has been part of the Fordham community for 53 years. She is a full-time associate professor of history and is the current director of the Honors Program at FCLC. She is also the director of the Center for Teaching Excellence and serves as a member on several of Fordham’s committees, specifically the committee that hires new faculty. She specializes in medieval history.

Observer: What are your plans for the future?

A.M.: I plan to spend time with my family, spend time traveling and spend some private time to take care of my life.

Observer: What was your favorite part about teaching at Fordham?

A.M.: The kids. The students. It has always been about the students at FCLC. I enjoy teaching in such a diverse community because students bring different ideas and thoughts to class. I also enjoy teaching in an urban environment because I think the city is the campus. I believe the city can be used as an extension of the classroom.

Observer: Why did you decide now was the right time to retire?

A.M.: 53 years is enough. I just know it is time to let someone else take a shot.

Observer: Are there any projects you are working on, like publishing a book?

A.M.: Currently, I am working on a collection of 12th century monastic documents. For this collection, I need to work in a private and quiet area, which is another reason why I decided it was time to retire.

Observer: Are there any hobbies in particular you can take advantage of now?

A.M.: As I enter retirement, I know I will have the time to travel. I love to travel, especially to Europe, particularly France and England. I also love gardening and swimming. I also enjoy hiking— at the end of summer, I am going hiking in Nova Scotia.

Observer: What is one thing you will miss about Fordham?

A.M.: I will miss working with the students. I enjoy talking and working with the young people. No two students are the same. I have been around long enough to see students enter college for the first time, and what they turn to when they walk out the door. I believe that college is meant for you to examine your life, to learn more about yourself. You see different things and you get to know the students. It has been a great experience.

Observer: What is one thing you are thankful to Fordham for?

A.M.: I have always wanted to be a teacher and I love history. FCLC is the perfect place to teach medieval history. This campus is not held to a regimented curriculum; there is independence in this campus. The faculty and the students here are so supportive. I am thankful to have been given the opportunity to teach at this campus because there is no better place to be.

Astrid O’Brien 

O’Brien has been a part of the Fordham community since 1960 when she was appointed a full-time professor. She is an associate professor of philosophy, specializing in Thomas Aquinas,

(Ayer Chan/The Observer)

medieval times, women in religion and women philosophy.

Observer: What are your plans for the future?

Astrid O’Brien: I plan to do a lot of reading and possibly some writing. I also want to spend time with my children and my grandchildren.

Observer: What was your favorite part about teaching at Fordham?

A.O.: My favorite part was teaching. I personally love teaching adult students because they were highly motivated. However, I did enjoy teaching all the students I had over the 52 years I have been here. One thing I’ll always remember, in terms of my students, out of all my 52 years of teaching classes with 40 plus students is throwing a student out of class for being insubordinate. I have also enjoyed the collegial relationships I have made with other faculty members, who I will miss and I hope to keep in touch with.

Observer: Why did you decide now was the right time to retire?

A.O.: I decided to do a phased retirement, which is a three-year process and is a binding contract. In a phased retirement, you have to retire within three years. This time period can be shortened, but it cannot be prolonged. Once the three years are over, you have to retire. I chose a phased retirement because I wanted to finish a book and I knew I could not finish it if I was teaching three courses. Within this period, I was able to finish my book. Now, the three years are up, and it is time for me to retire.

Observer: Are there any hobbies in particular you can take advantage of now?

A.O.: I plan to do more volunteering, more baking and more sewing. I had made my own wedding dress and my own maternity clothes! After that, I had no time to sew. Now, I have more time to do more things.

Observer: What is one thing you are most grateful to Fordham for?

A.O.: When I was hired as an adjunct professor, a man named Robert O’Brien was hired as a full-time professor. Who would have known that I would meet my future husband here at Fordham? He retired from Fordham some years ago. Regardless, that is one of biggest things I am most grateful to Fordham for, aside from the opportunity to teach something I am extremely passionate about.