About the Author
Debra Caruso Marrone
Debra Caruso Marrone has owned the New York City-based media relations firm DJC Communications for the past 22 years. The firm has directed campaigns for corporate entities, large non-profit organizations, unions, trade organizations and leading universities.
Debra is also a freelance journalist and author of the blog, TV Takes All, where she writes about the media. She is member of the Board of Directors of the New York Press Club, the Fordham College Alumni Association and Jazz 2 Cure, which raises funds for music therapy for cancer patients.
Previously vice president of Sheehan Communications, Inc. and public affairs director at WHN radio, Debra has a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Journalism from Fordham University.
A known expert on the media, she has been quoted in The New York Times, Marketwatch, ABC News Radio, WNYC, E-Commerce Times, Portfolio.com, MacNewsWorld, Arizona Republic, Forbes.com, AOL WalletPop, Christian Science Monitor and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel among others.
Debra has also authored articles on public relations in such publications as Ragan.com, O’Dwyer’s PR Magazine and CommPro.biz on such topics as advice for the presidential candidates. Her book, Fordham University and the United States: A History, was recently published by E-Lit Books.
Married with two daughters, Debra lives in Glen Cove, New York.
Were there many surprises in the research?
Yes, too many to enumerate here. Overall, what surprised me was how much history does repeat itself and how people, in general, have remained the same. I learned so much about so many remarkable individuals, but I also learned about those whose weaknesses may have hurt their reputations over time. And that’s just representative of what comes through from the written material that exists. Imagine if we could go back and listen in on conversations and actually witness what happened so long ago!
You obviously have an emotional connection to Fordham that has transcended the years. How did that motivate you?
As so many people interviewed for the book stated, the friends I made during my college years have remained so for all of these years, and so many of those people have become colleagues in the business world. Our shared memories of a time when we were young and had our whole lives ahead of us create a very strong bond. Much of the drive behind writing this book comes from those cherished connections and shared experiences. The rich history of the university is also a source of pride that was certainly a motivator.
What prompted you to write Fordham University & the United States: A History?
The book was first conceived as a fundraiser for the Fordham College Alumni Association. It will still serve that purpose – 70% of all proceeds will be donated to the association for student scholarships, grants and research – but once I started researching and writing, I realized there isn’t a single work that documents the full history of the university, from its inception in 1841 all the way to the present. Further, what does exist, does not contain some of the great stories and personalities I found in conducting the research. So, this book now provides a comprehensive history that will also help current students. It’s one that will be of interest to all history buffs.
This is your first experience as an author. How did you begin and how did you undertake such a project?
Thankfully, I had a great deal of help from historians, from the wonderful archivist at Fordham University, Patrice Kane, and from many people who agreed to be interviewed and share their thoughts and remembrances. I started out by reading everything I could get my hands on that pertains to Fordham and then branched out into U.S. history and that of New York City. It was much more work than I expected at first, but the more I read and the more stories I heard, the more interested I was in this great historical material. It truly was a labor of love.