Eldredge: 20 Years at Fordham


Keith Eldredge, dean of students at Fordham Lincoln Center, has been working at Fordham for longer than some students have been alive. (PHOTO BY ELIZABETH LANDRY/ THE OBSERVER)


Keith Eldredge, dean of students at Fordham Lincoln Center, has been a noticeable part of the campus for many students from the class of 2019 to the graduating class of 2016. However, his work at Fordham goes back longer than most students have been alive, as is shown through his award of the Archbishop John Hughes Medal on March 3, at Fordham Convocation, which honors faculty and administrators that have worked at the University for a long period of time.

Other faculty being honored for their long tenure include Lincoln Center professors Albert Auster, Clara Rodriguez, Doron Ben-Atar, Elisabeth Frost and Abby Goldstein.

Medals are awarded for working at Fordham 20, 40 or 60 years, and Eldredge is receiving his medal for 20 years as an administrator. Though he was not always the dean of students at Fordham Lincoln Center, he has a long history with both Fordham and the philosophy of Jesuit education.

Eldredge attended both Regis University in Colorado and Fairfield University in Connecticut, both Jesuit institutions. “My undergraduate education was transformative. Although I graduated as a math major, I got involved in Campus Ministry and student affairs, all the Jesuit tenets that we talk about at Fordham made me realize I could make a difference through a different career path.”

This philosophy has also influenced his personal life. “I like the fact that the Jesuit philosophy has education as a large part of it, that we can talk about complex issues. It really stuck with me as a practicing Catholic, and in raising my daughters Catholic as well,” he said. Eldredge is often quick to mention that he hopes his two daughters will go on to attend Fordham.

To those who work in the Office of Student Leadership and Community Development (OSLCD), he has made a major difference. Will Meckley, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’16 and OSLCD event manager, said, “I’m so impressed that he has maintained a level of grace and integrity with which he has handled every single case, inquiry, or matter regarding students or that’s brought up to him.”

“It’s amazing he’s been able to maintain that consistency for 20 years and still have a smile on his face every time he walks in the office and greets everyone,” Meckley continued.

According to Dorothy Wenzel, director of OSLCD, “I’ve had the pleasure of working with Dean Eldredge since the summer of 2006. He is very caring, diligent and thoughtful in his work with students.” Though he has been in his current role as dean of students since 2006, Eldredge has held other positions at Fordham as well, having even spent a lot of time at Rose Hill.

“I started at Fordham as assistant director of housing operations at Rose Hill for about five years. I first came to Lincoln Center in 2002 as director of Residential Life,” Eldredge said, though according to him this only lasted nine months before he returned to Residential Life at Rose Hill.

“I came back to Lincoln Center as dean of students in 2006. I’ve actually hit the tipping point this summer of being more of a Lincoln Center person than a Rose Hill person timewise, which I’m pretty happy about,” he continued.

As for his long tenure at Fordham, he often does not notice how long he has been here. “It really doesn’t feel like I’ve been here for 20 years, so I always find it weird when I say to students at introductory programs ‘so I’ve been at Fordham longer than some of you have been alive.’ In some ways I feel like I’m the same, and it’s gone really fast,” he said.

Eldredge has also been an influence on students who have gone on to work in higher education, like Christina Frankovic, FCLC ’07 and the current assistant director for programing in OSLCD. “I know that I see him personally as a role model working in higher ed and going from being a student here when I did my undergrad to now a professional in the department,” she said.

“He does lead in a serious way but also brings in humor and humility and is always approachable even though he holds the high title of dean,” Frankovic continued.

According to Sandy Vargas, executive secretary for OSLCD, “I’ve known Dean Eldredge for almost eight years, and I’ve had a lot of bosses, but he is truly exceptional.”

“We need more people like him. He’s an amazing role model for the staff as well as the students, and I think he really takes the students well-being to heart. I hope he’s here another 20 years, because he makes it look easy and I know it isn’t,” Vargas continued. Eldredge seems to have the same idea in staying, mainly due to the students.

“Part of what has made me stay at Fordham is the students, and the challenge that the students bring. We have a talented group of students that challenge me and sometimes make my life more difficult, but that is sort of the fun being here.”

“The students have a passion for social justice and a goal to be men and women who will go out and change the world. They have to practice all of that here. To be a part of that is what brings me to work everyday,” he said.

Additional reporting by Adriana Gallina and Reese Ravner.