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FitzSimons Civics Education 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.

Thanks to a $1 million commitment from Ann and Dennis ’67 FitzSimons, Fordham Prep is delighted and proud to launch 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  

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.


3rd Annual FitzSimons Civics Symposium

Electoral College,
Immigration and Foreign Policy

March 26, 2024


Meet Our Moderator and Panelists


2023-2024 Town Hall Events

  • December 14: Fundamental Elements of a Trial with Honorable Walter J. Brudzinski, Chief Administrative Law Judge
  • January 25: Legal Means of Immigration with Luis Miguel Adames, Immigration Caseworker for Congressman Espaillat (Watch the recording HERE)
  • March 4: Foreign Policy: Conflicts, Perspectives & Reactions with Jenik Radon '63, Adjunct Professor at Columbia University

About the CEI


Latest CEI News

CEI Coordinators

Eleanor Friedman

Librarian & Media Specialist; CEI Coordinator

Gillian Bennis

Faculty; CEI Coordinator

About the Founder




Dennis FitzSimons

Fordham Prep Class of 1967

Retired Chair & CEO, Tribune Company;
Chairman of the Board, Robert R. McCormick Foundation

The CEI 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
  • Additional resources to attract more student participation in civics related “town halls” and simulation exercises and activities like virtual mid-term and presidential elections, and mock supreme court trials
    • Investment in our Speech and Debate team