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Finding a Voice Through Leadership; Fordham’s Search for a New Provost

When thinking about leadership coming into college, a Provost is not normally the position that comes to mind. Coming from high school, the prominent roles of principal, dean or headmaster are more familiar titles that have more clearly defined responsibilities. However, the Provost of a university is an important authoritative figure that holds the power to influence the nature of a college’s fundamental values and culture. As a high ranking administrator in a university setting, a Provost is a person that forms the academic values of an institution and carries them out through the appropriation of funds. The Provost works closely with deans, students and other faculty and staff to ensure what those priorities may be and that the execution of the priorities is at its most efficient.

In July of 2018, Fordham suffered the devastating loss of their own Provost, Dr. Stephen Freedman. In his role, the endeared Provost achieved many valuable benchmarks in developing the Fordham community. Dr. Freedman had two goals that have left a lasting legacy on the University: expansion of Fordham’s research and global presence. Through the doctor’s pivotal role in creating the Bronx Science consortium, the University is able to partake in a lasting relationship with other organizations, such as the Bronx Zoo and the Albert Einstein College, where research for both Fordham students and beyond continues to flourish. Dr. Freedman also cultivated a global community, both within Fordham’s campus, as well as its outreach within the Bronx community and around the globe.  Dr. Freedman inspired the diversity of the student body to increase the international student population, fueled community networking to expand to local educational institutions and encouraged partnerships between Fordham and organizations abroad. What is most profound, however, in the role that Dr. Freedman chose to take in his dedicated service to Fordham was his bond within the community. Dr. Freedman chose to immerse himself within the faculty and student populations, becoming very connected to the wants and needs of all Fordham members, which in turn allowed him to make decisions that could better reflect the profile of the University as a whole. Dr. Stephen Freedman was a beloved figure of the Fordham community, touching the hearts of all who knew him as one of the most caring and passionate administrators to have worked with at Fordham.

A day in the life of your average college student does not typically include thinking about the role of the Provost on your university experience. However, the Provost and their commitment to the institution almost guarantees that the way that they go about their responsibilities will impact your Fordham experience. The search for Fordham’s new Provost will take some time, as a lot of thought and consideration will be put into the final decision of who the new Provost will be. As Fordham students, it is our job to make sure that you have a voice in the climate of the Fordham community. If shaping your surroundings is something you are passionate about, find ways, through the Office of Student Involvement or United Student Government for example, to join panel discussions about the topic; find ways to make sure your voice is heard. The University has endured a tragic loss in the death of Dr. Stephen Freedman, however, moving forward in growth and prosperity would be the best way to honor Freedman’s legacy and benefit the Fordham community.


Lucianne is a International Political Economy major at Fordham University, interested leadership initiatives on Fordham's campus as well as travel. This second year college student also enjoys a good meme and will take any recommendations for good skin care regimes!!
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