COURTESY OF LAURA AURICCHIO
While most adults on social media still don’t know how to properly use hashtags, Dr. Laura Auricchio, the newly appointed dean of Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC), posted on Instagram every day for the month of August. Her posts, ranging from snapshots of Lincoln Center to photos of campus, truly capture the nuances of FCLC.
Auricchio decided to do this “Insta-challenge” of sorts for three main reasons, the first being for herself. As an art historian and professor of art history, Auricchio has an affinity for the visual; she chose to take and post photos of her days here as a way to get to know her surroundings by taking the time to notice and observe something new every day.
Secondly, Auricchio wanted to let the world know that FCLC exists. According to her, FCLC is “one of the great lesser-known gems of Manhattan,” but is frequently mistaken as just a law school or forgotten in favor of the Bronx campus by many native New Yorkers.
It is Auricchio’s goal to show Manhattan that FCLC is a lively community of caring and driven individuals. “There is a tremendously vibrant life here, and I wanted to share it with the world,” she said.
Her final reason for posting every day was for the students. She wanted to use Instagram as a medium to connect with students and have students connect with her. Auricchio wanted to challenge the way students typically see their dean — as a remote, administrative figure — and instead interact with them in a language that they speak.
She chose to use Instagram to build a relationship with the students in a way that is both visual and exciting, and also indicative of the campus culture.
Dean Auricchio used her Instagram not only as a way to share her journey with the world and to connect with students but also as a reminder of the reasons she came to Fordham and as a way to find new reasons to fall in love with Fordham every day.
When asked why she chose to come to FCLC, Dean Auricchio simply said, “Everything.”
Her family ties played a role; Auricchio comes from a family of Fordham alumni — her mother received her Ph.D. from Fordham at Rose Hill, her cousin went to FCLC, as did her mother’s partner. She was also drawn to Fordham because of its Jesuit traditions, like the commitment to social justice, a life lived for others and intellectual rigor.
Auricchio was particularly drawn to FCLC because of its connection to the arts. She sees great potential for FCLC to connect with Manhattan through its visual arts, theatre and dance programs. She sees the same potential in FCLC’s proximity to Lincoln Center. As someone with connections to many of Manhattan’s great cultural institutions, she aims to help weave Fordham into the fabric of Manhattan through the arts.
Auricchio has been the dean of FCLC for over a month now. During this time, she has learned a lot, but she still wants to keep growing. “I have a lot more to learn,” she says. Out of all that she has learned, what has really stuck with her are the people that make up Fordham — the faculty and staff, who she describes as “unbelievably committed to undergraduate education,” and the students, who are “genuinely engaged in a way that one doesn’t always find.”
Auricchio describes the students she has met here as kind, caring, curious and driven — all qualities that reflect the student body of this school. She says that the students here are driven, “but not in a back-stabbing kind of way, but in a raise-each-other-up kind of way.” Fordham students push each other to do better without tearing each other down. It is this kindness expressed by the Fordham community that is Dean Auricchio’s favorite thing about this school. “This kindness is timeless,” she said.
During our interview, she told me a story about her and her mother visiting Rose Hill after she got the job. They were walking around the campus and got a bit turned around so they stopped at a map, and a student came up to them and asked, “Can I help you?” They said thank you and talked to the student and then after the student left, Auricchio turned to her mother and said, “Oh, that was so nice!” To this, her mother replied, “That’s what Fordham students are like.”
And before you ask, yes: Dean Auricchio does follow back.