The former Provost was well loved by the university community.
by Claire Nunez
Today, Fordham University is officially in mourning for our former Provost, Dr. Stephen Freedman, who died suddenly on July 2, 2018. Dr. Freedman was a well-loved and respected member of the Fordham community who contributed greatly to our prominence in the academic world.
At the memorial service on September 6, Father McShane described Dr. Freedman as “a Jewish scholar with an Ignatian heart.” This was a common thread throughout the beautiful service held in the University Church at Rose Hill. Colleagues, friends, family, and students gathered to memorialize our former Provost. The University Church was nearly filled with people paying their respects to Dr. Freedman’s wife Eileen Shore as well as his two sons, Zachary and Noah.
The memorial was a combination of Jewish and Catholic traditions, opened and closed by Dr. Freedman’s friend and rabbi, Rabbi Eleanor Smith. The two knew each other for many years, maintaining a friendship across far distances.
Dr. Freedman had been with Fordham since 2007 when he began as senior vice president for academic affairs and chief academic officer. In 2010, he was appointed Provost. Most of Dr. Freedman’s work was centered on creating connections. As Provost, he played an integral role in the creation of the Bronx Science Consortium, which provides students with incredible research opportunities across four Bronx neighborhoods. As a former ecology professor, he had a talent for science and education. He sought to create greater opportunities for the Fordham community. Dr. Freedman furthered Fordham’s international education connections as well. He oversaw the development of Fordham’s London Centre campus and pushed for more international programs for students as well as faculty.
At the memorial, Dr. Freedman was described as a compassionate man who really embodied the Jesuit values of cura personalis, men and women for others, and magis. He sought greatness for himself, others, and the university. The stories that were told by his colleagues, family, and friends illustrated his immense love for others. Dr. Eva Badowska, the Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, emphasized his ability to really listen. She described Dr. Freedman as someone who cared deeply for others and would ask, “how are you, really?” He provided a listening ear, mentorship, and advice to people in his life. All of the eulogies at his memorial illustrated his deep and sincere care for others.
Many discussed Dr. Freedman’s humor and positive attitude. He was someone who worked hard and was willing to connect people. Dr. Freedman was a true testament to Jesuit values. Because of this, the Provost Conference Room at Rose Hill was dedicated to his honor.
Dr. Stephen Freedman will surely be missed by students, administrators, and faculty alike. Dr. Freedman touched so many lives with his kindness, passion, and love for others. His presence embodied Jesuit ideals fully. Although he may no longer be with us physically, his legacy will live on at Fordham and in the hearts of those he met along his journey.