To Dream of How
Things Could Be

Father O'Hare with actor Liam Neeson who received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree.
Father O'Hare with actor Liam Neeson who received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree.

By Irish America Staff
August / September 2003

Fordham’s 158th Commencement; Fr. O’Hare retires; The Koppels deliver keynote; Liam Neeson is honored.


After a historic 19-year tenure May 17 marked the final graduation ceremony for the Rev. Joseph A. O’Hare, S.J., who is retiring as Fordham University’s president. He encouraged this year’s graduates to be engaged in society.

“I pray we become successful, but we should not become complacent,” said Father O’Hare. “You should maintain a healthy discontent about the way things are because you dream of how things could be.”

Ted Koppel and his wife, Grace Anne Dorney Koppel (a Fordham alumna) delivered the keynote address as they celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary. Koppel, who has hosted ABC’s Nightline since the program was introduced in 1980, advised Fordham’s 3,980 graduates to encourage tolerance and stand up for their beliefs.

“If you truly want to fight hatred and, ultimately, eliminate terrorism, nourish tolerance,” said Mr. Koppel, “who we are and what we believe is important. But if we come to believe that we have a monopoly on truth and virtue, we will fail.”

Ms. Dorney Koppel, who at one time worked at Fordham’s Department of Speech and Drama, encouraged graduates to work to make the world a better place.

“Speak up for your values and respect the right of those who oppose you to speak out for theirs,” she said. “Now is the moment to stop complaining about the troubled times we live in and for you to make your own mark.”

Irish actor Liam Neeson received a Doctor of Fine Arts, honoris causa. ♦

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