Campus fave Fr. Phil to students: Work hard, play harder


Like any good Italian boy, Rev. Phillip A. Florio, S.J., assistant vice president of Mission and Ministry, began his “Fordham Bucket List” event with wisdom he learned from his grandmother: “Make sure you eat, go to church and stay off the crack.”

Following in the footsteps of Fordham President Fr. McShane, who gave his CAB-sponsored “Bucket List” last year, Fr. Florio delivered a talk filled with a combination of spiritual advice, life lessons and suggestions for taking advantage of the city.

Fr. Florio borrowed his main point from the theologian Howard Thurman, who said “Do what makes you come alive.”

IMG_5352“Do whatever gets you up in the morning,” Fr. Florio said. “Discover your mission and be who you are before God.”

Expanding on this theme, Fr. Florio also urged students to pray and serve those in need, and be open to God because, “God is love.”

But not all of his points were religious.

Fr. Florio also stressed the importance of having a few close, lifelong friends.

“They’re the people you’re going to go to when your marriage is shaky, when your kids disappoint you and when your boss fires you,” Fr. Florio said.

Drawing on his own experience, Fr. Florio said simply knowing peoples’ names is an asset.

“I talk to faculty who have 12 students in a class and don’t know all their names,” Fr. Florio said. “And I think to myself, ‘Go home, start over.’”

As a fluent Spanish speaker, Fr. Florio urged the audience to learn new languages and see the world. He also stressed the importance of reading and following the news, and being able to think critically about different issues.

When it came to having fun in the city, Fr. Florio said his philosophy is “Work hard, play harder.”

He told students to take advantage of the many culinary options in New York City — he is partial to Bareburger.

Fr. Florio gave many of his tips a humorous edge.

For example, when he told the audience to appreciate nature, he gave them a lot of incentive to go across the street from campus.

“If you haven’t been to the Botanical Garden, I’m going to beat you,” Fr. Florio said, to much laughter.

Photos courtesy of Patrick Doherty.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Fr. Florio said: “They’re the people you’re going to go to when your marriage is shaky,” not “shitty,” as we previously reported.