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Fall 2020 Dean’s Letter

Uncategorized | Sep 10, 2020 |

Over the last decade, “resilience” became a common word in business. Consultants have evaluated the resilience of corporations. Leading business journals have published articles on what resilience is and why it matters. Here at the Gabelli School, it became a trait we sought to instill in our students. We even teach an undergraduate class with the word in its title. 

The last few months have shown us the reality and the importance of resilience in a way that is far more vivid than any corporate seminar or journal article. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, each of us has been called upon to persevere, to adapt, and to find ways to press ahead. 

That resilience is endemic to the Gabelli School. Our school was born on the heels of the 1918 influenza pandemic, when society found the strength not only to stabilize, but also to take exciting new directions. The 1920s brought both promise and progress, including the 19th amendment, which granted women the right to vote. 

Thanks to our centennial year, I have done a lot of thinking about our school’s history, which has provided me with countless examples of how the past can teach us so much. We have seen people cope with unknowns and challenges. We have watched previous generations endure, and even thrive. History reminds us: we can, too. 

In this magazine, you will read about how our alumni, faculty, and students are refocusing on business with purpose, carving brave paths, and making new connections. This issue looks at how companies and workers are redefining the nature of work itself. We also feature Fordham’s Responsible Business Coalition, which seeks to bring together groups of executives who put sustainability first, starting with the fashion industry. 

When circumstances are difficult, fresh ideas like these can pique our interest, positively reframe our situation, and get us thinking creatively—all ingredients for innovation. We all have experienced the unexpected in 2020, and many of us have dealt with adversity and found ways to rise above. I hope Fordham’s principles help you to develop your own resilience during the rest of this year and the beginning of the next. The learning, problem-solving, and innovation that follow will be worth it.


Donna Rapaccioli, Ph.D.

Dean Gabelli School of Business

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