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Fordham Honors Solon P. Patterson and Marianna R. Patterson
In recognition of their outstanding support for Fordham’s Orthodox Christian Studies Center, Solon P. Patterson and Marianna R. Patterson will be presented with Fordham’s highest honor, the University’s distinguished Founder’s Award at the 18th Annual Fordham Founder’s Dinner, on Monday, 25 March, New York Hilton in Midtown.
The Fordham University Founder’s Award recognizes individuals whose personal and professional lives reflect the highest aspirations of the University’s defining traditions, as an institution dedicated to wisdom and learning in the service of others.
Solon and Marianna Patterson, natives of Atlanta, support a number of causes including the reunification of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Catholic Churches. Their generosity has been pivotal to the development of the Orthodox Christian Studies Center at Fordham University over the past decade.
The Pattersons met at Emory University, their alma mater, and married in 1960. Solon Patterson worked for 48 years in investment management, retiring in 2007 as chief executive officer of the investment firm of Montag and Caldwell, where he was instrumental in its rise to national prominence. Marianna Patterson worked in the banking industry before leaving the paid work force to raise the couple’s children in 1967. She has been active in community affairs, initiating the Northwest Atlanta Parents’ Council in the 1980s and volunteering with health-related organizations including Our Lady of Perpetual Help, a facility for incurable cancer patients.
Solon Patterson, among other service work, was head of the Atlanta chapter of the National Conference of Christians and Jews; he also worked to promote interracial harmony by serving on the board of the Gammon Theological Seminary, a historically African American institution. The Pattersons have supported diverse educational, religious, and environmental causes, as well as entities devoted to individuals’ economic empowerment.
Unifying the Catholic and Orthodox churches has long been important to Solon Patterson, a member of the Greek Orthodox Church, and Marianna Patterson, who is Roman Catholic. They became involved with Fordham after learning about its planned Orthodox Christian Studies Center during a 2006 meeting with George Demacopoulos, Ph.D., later the center’s co-founder.
Over the next few years they created an endowment to establish the Patterson Triennial Conference on Orthodox/Catholic Relations; the fifth conference, “Faith, Reason and Theosis,” takes place in June. In 2015, a gift from the Pattersons established the Fr. John Meyendorff & Patterson Family Chair of Orthodox Christian Studies, now held by Professor Demacopoulos, and they both serve on the advisory council for the Orthodox Christian Studies Center.
For more info or to purchase tickets, their website is fordham.edu/founders