The Observer

Inside Trump’s Days at Fordham

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Inside Trump’s Days at Fordham





By SOPHIE KOZUB, News Co-Editor

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President Donald Trump likes to talk about the fact that he went to the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, mentioning his academic achievement in his book “The Art of the Deal” and throughout his presidential campaign.

Trump, however, did not spend all four years of his college career at the University of Pennsylvania’s prestigious business school. Before earning his degree in economics, he was a student at Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH) for two years.

Today’s Fordham students expressed mixed feelings about Donald Trump’s time at the Rose Hill campus. Ranging from indifference to happiness to one sophomore feeling “terrible” that the President’s name is tied to her college.

Although Trump boasted about attending Wharton, Fordham wasn’t his first choice of college, and real estate wasn’t his first choice of career either. Trump originally wanted to be a movie producer, according to Newsweek. When he was rejected from the University of Southern California, he chose to attend Fordham until he eventually decided to pursue business and transfer to the University of Pennsylvania. “That’s where he got in,” Trump’s sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, said regarding his decision to go to Fordham in Gwenda Blair’s “The Trumps: Three Generations of Builders and a Presidential Candidate.”

During Trump’s time at Fordham, he would’ve studied topics such as Islam, Socrates, Aristotle and logic, according to John T. Carey, FCRH ’68, in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Trump also chose to attend Fordham at a historical time for the university. Joan Ann Poroski had just become one of the first women admitted to the university’s undergraduate student population, as reported by The Fordham Ram at the time. Trump himself, however, did not leave “footprints” at Fordham, despite playing squash, according to President of the Fordham College Alumni Association Paul F. Gerken, FCRH ’68, in The Chronicle.

The Fordham community, however, was not the only place that Trump didn’t leave his footprints during his college years. Using his status as a college student, Trump successfully received draft deferments for the entirety of his college career, avoiding service in the Vietnam War.

“Trump had avoided the draft—and the possibility of being sent to fight in the Vietnam War—by obtaining four separate deferments so he could stay at Fordham University and the University of Pennsylvania,” according to The Washington Post.

Even though he could have been conscripted once he graduated, he was “medically disqualified” after he failed an armed forces physical examination on Sept. 17, 1968, two months after he graduated from Penn. His disqualification resulted from “small bone growths on his feet called heel spurs,” according to The Times (London).

Trump’s days at Fordham concluded with the end of the spring 1966 semester. “I decided that as long as I had to be in college, I might as well test myself against the best,” Trump wrote in “The Art of the Deal” on his decision to transfer to Wharton. With the help of an admissions officer who was a high school classmate of Trump’s older brother, Freddy, he traded the ivy-mantled walls of Fordham’s Rose Hill campus for an ivy league degree.

Trump’s short time at Fordham has left students with mixed feelings about his attendance, but some students such as Kyoka Millard, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’19, would rather just forget that he went there. “I feel pretty terrible about it,” she said regarding the President’s connection to the college. “I’m really proud of the fact that Fordham has kind of disavowed him and been very open about being welcome to immigrants.” Fordham President Rev. Joseph M. McShane, S.J., recently pledged his support for undocumented students in a written statement emailed to students.

Other students who voted for Trump, such as Andrew Budisak, FCLC ’20, hope that students on all sides of the discussions over Trump can see eye to eye.

“Not everyone on either side is representative of the candidate as a person and no one is a representation of their whole party,” he said. “Although you have the right to disagree and be angry and have fear, there comes a point where you need to actually unite and discuss to actually get things done.”

Trump may have left Fordham for the same reason as most transfer students: the college just wasn’t for him.

“I think there’s a good reason he didn’t stay for all four years,” Renee Garrahan, FCLC ’18, said. “I don’t think it was the right fit for him.”


6 Responses to “Inside Trump’s Days at Fordham”

  1. Mike Myshkin on January 11th, 2018 5:53 pm

    Fordham fans and alumni might find this story of Trump’s time at Fordham to be fun. Joe Kelly says it is fiction but there’s certainly a lot of details from a half century back, and it sure does sound like he knew Don, as he calls him, back in the day.

  2. Peggy Fogarty Harrington on November 28th, 2018 9:11 am

    I graduated from Fordham, School of Education, 1966.
    I like to think that the Jesuits threw Trump out of Fordham.
    It is a relief to hear that Fordham disavows his administration’s policies that go against the social justice values that students were and are taught there.

    Go Fordham.
    Peggy Fogarty Harrington

  3. Gina Nespolini on November 30th, 2018 3:41 pm

    I am proud to know that President Trump was a student at Fordham’s Rose Hill Campus. I think he is doing a great job keeping his campaign promise. Not every Fordham alumni/student is a bleeding heart liberal !

  4. F. B. Croson on December 23rd, 2018 5:57 pm

    As a liberal arts graduate (class of ’67) I have a tendency to remain alert to the communications skills of those I encounter. Consequently, it didn’t escape my notice that you think Trump is keeping “his campaign promise” (singular). What promise would that be? Did he really make only one promise, or were you asleep in the back row all through 2016? I usually refrain from offering advice, but maybe it’s not too late to register for the spring semester at Wharton. My bleeding heart urges me to offer that recommendation.

  5. C Kane on March 3rd, 2019 4:45 pm

    FCRH graduate (’12) here. Personally I’m proud that Trump found Fordham unacceptable and vice-versa. The Jesuits believe in educating ‘men (and women) for others.’ Trump is self-serving jerk. He considered himself too good for Fordham, but every time he opens his mouth it becomes increasingly apparent that Fordham is/was too good for him.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go take my heart medication. My darn liberal heart just won’t stop bleeding. Makes going out in public very awkward.

  6. Leland Hardesty on March 30th, 2019 2:21 pm

    His grades were in the toilet!

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