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FitzSimons Civics Education Initiative

2nd Annual
FitzSimons Civics Symposium

The Supreme Court: The Second Amendment & Affirmative Action

April 18, 2023


David Hiller

Our moderator is David Hiller, former President of The McCormick Foundation.  David is an experienced news media publisher, attorney, and philanthropic executive. He had a 20-year career with Tribune Company, where he started as VP & General Counsel in 1988. Mr. Hiller served in many leadership roles in that time, including as President of Tribune Interactive, Publisher of the Chicago Tribune, and Publisher of the Los Angeles Times. Hiller was a partner at Sidley Austin, a large Chicago law firm, before he joined the Tribune Co. Prior to joining the law firm, he held several positions in Washington, D.C., including law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart. He received his Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review, and received his undergraduate degree from Harvard College.

Rafael Mangual

Rafael Mangual will be a panelist for the FitzSimons Civics Symposium.  Rafael is the Nick Ohnell Fellow and head of research for the Policing and Public Safety Initiative at the Manhattan Institute, a contributing editor of City Journal, and a member of the Council on Criminal Justice. His first book, Criminal (In)Justice, was released in July 2022. He has authored and coauthored a number of MI reports and op-eds on issues ranging from urban crime and jail violence to broader matters of criminal and civil justice reform. His work has been featured and mentioned in a wide array of publications, including the Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, New York Post, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer and City Journal. Mangual also regularly appears on Fox News and has made a number of national and local television and radio appearances on outlets such as C-SPAN and Bloomberg Radio. In 2020, he was appointed to serve a four-year term as a member of the New York State Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.  Prior to joining MI in 2015, Rafael worked in corporate communications for the International Trademark Association. He holds a B.A. in corporate communications from the City University of New York’s Baruch College and a J.D. from DePaul University in Chicago, where he was president of the Federalist Society and vice president of the Appellate Moot Court team.

John Sexton

John Sexton is a panelist for the FitzSimons Civics Symposium.  John Sexton is President Emeritus of New York University, the Dean Emeritus of NYU Law School, and the Benjamin Butler Professor of Law. He joined the Law School faculty in 1981, was named the School's Dean in 1988; he served in this capacity for fourteen years. He was named the University's President in 2001, and served in that capacity until January 1, 2016.  Before coming to NYU, He served as Law Clerk to Chief Justice Warren Burger of the United States Supreme Court (1980-1981), and to Judges David Bazelon and Harold Leventhal of the United States Court of Appeals (1979-1980). For ten years (1983-1993), he served as Special Master Supervising Pretrial Proceedings in the Love Canal Litigation. From 1966-1975, he was a Professor of Religion at Saint Francis College in Brooklyn, the Department Chair from 1970-1975.  John Sexton received a B.A. in History (1963) from Fordham College; an M.A. in Comparative Religion (1965) and a Ph.D. in History of American Religion (1978) Fordham University; and a J.D. magna cum laude (1979) from Harvard Law School.

About the FitzSimons Civics Education Initiative

What is the goal of the initiative? 
Civics education flows directly from Fordham Prep’s Catholic Jesuit tradition and mission. The primary reason Ignatius Loyola approved that Jesuits would establish schools was because he believed they were a means to transform society, and contribute to what he called the “common good.” Pedro Ribadeneira, SJ, one of the important early Jesuits, explained the purpose of Jesuit schools in a letter to King Philip II of Spain by stating that “the proper education of youth will mean improvement for the whole world.”

Faithful to this tradition, an integral part of Fordham Prep’s mission today is to develop  educated, informed, and engaged citizens committed to the common good. We want our students to depart for college inspired and equipped to be active citizens—young men willing to engage in civil dialogue and ready to promote a robust and healthy democracy.

How will this come about? 
Thanks to a new, $1 million commitment from Ann and Dennis ’67 FitzSimons, Fordham Prep is delighted and proud to announce the FitzSimons Civics Education Initiative (CEI). The initiative will enhance our focus on several topics in US government and history, including:

  • Federalism with a thorough understanding and appreciation of the system of  government in the United States
  • The Constitutional foundations of our democratic republic, particularly an  enhanced recognition of the importance of free speech
  • Guiding principles of American government
  • The proper functioning of the various branches and levels of our government
  • Elections and voting
  • Civil liberties and rights; a respect for diverse points of view and civil discourse
  • News literacy—the skills to understand today’s digital news and information ecosystem  

This will give students more opportunities in class to learn, practice, and master the  essential skills in becoming a citizen, including critical thinking, how to form reason based arguments with clear evidence, civic online literacy and proficiency, and effective communication.

Fordham Prep will introduce a new senior level social studies course, which will focus on civics in the first semester and economics in the second.

The Initiative also establishes the FitzSimons Symposium—an annual event which brings to the Fordham Prep campus two expert speakers, along with a moderator, representing divergent views on a current political, constitutional or social topic. The Junior and Senior classes participate in the inaugural Symposium. The symposium aims strengthen extra-curricular offerings and  programs to promote robust and open dialogue. This will be done through investing in our Speech & Debate Team to attract more student participation, sponsoring civics related “town halls” and simulation exercises and activities like virtual mid-term and presidential elections, and mock supreme court trials.

We believe that when people come together with passionate views to defend their positions and engage in meaningful and respectful dialogue, new understanding, intellectual growth, and tolerance will emerge. 

Latest FCEI News

Questions About the FCI with Dennis FitzSimons '67 and Matt Bobo


Dennis FitzSimons ’67 
Retired Chair & CEO, Tribune Company  
Chairman of the Board, Robert R. McCormick Foundation 


Matthew Bobo 
Chair, Social Studies Department