The Fordham Ram

Stephen Freedman, Provost of the University, Passes

Courtesy of Allen Hubbard/
Fordham Press Release

Courtesy of Allen Hubbard/ Fordham Press Release


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By Aislinn Keely

Courtesy of Allen Hubbard/
Fordham Press Release

Stephen Freedman, Ph.D., provost, passed away last night in his home in Hastings on Hudson. He served as provost of the university since 2010. Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of the university, asked Jonathon Crystal, Ph.D., current associate vice president and chief academic officer, to serve as interim vice president and chief academic officer. McShane said a search committee will be forthcoming.

Freedman’s death was sudden, according to McShane.

“It is hard to overstate what a shocking and terrible loss this is to Stephen’s wife, Eileen, sons, Zac and Noah, grandson Aaron, and to his friends and colleagues here at Fordham and in the academic community,” he said.

No further details of his passing have been made public by the university or Westchester County offices. The Westchester County Police Department referred inquiries to the Westchester County Medical Examiner’s Office. The Office of the Medical Examiner confirmed a Stephen Freedman was in its system, but declined to give any further information due to HIPAA regulations.

Once available, the university will share information on services for Freedman, according to McShane.

“Stephen’s death is a grievous loss not just for his family and Fordham friends, but for everyone who knew him,” said McShane. “We will miss him terribly.”

Crystal worked closely with Freedman during their time at Fordham. Freedman had a deep love for the university, often remarking on what an honor it was to serve as its provost, according to Crystal.

“He spent his entire career in Jesuit higher education, and I saw first-hand how committed he was to its values,” said Crystal. “He worked tirelessly to make Fordham a better, stronger university.”

Freedman came to Fordham in 2007, when McShane appointed him as the university’s senior vice president for academic affairs and chief academic officer. He ascended to the position of provost three years later.

Prior to his time at Fordham, Freedman was an educator and later dean of Mundeleine College at Loyola University of Chicago. Later, he served as academic vice president of Gonzaga University as well as a professor in its biology department before moving to Fordham.

His time at Fordham was marked by a devotion to faculty, students and making the university a global presence and a place of research, according to McShane.

“He was a warm and insightful friend and colleague, and a man of deep conviction and rectitude,” said McShane.At the time of his appointment to Fordham, Freedman told Fordham Magazine his work as an evolutionary biologist taught him to take a long-term approach to strategic thinking. In that interview, Freedman cited McShane’s energy and vision as attracting him to Fordham.

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Stephen Freedman, Provost of the University, Passes