At the 18th annual Fordham Founder’s Dinner at Fordham University on March 25, 2019, Archon Solon P. Patterson and his wife Marianna were honored with the Fordham Founder’s Award.
Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham University, presented the Award to the Pattersons at the black-tie affair at the New York Hilton Midtown, with more than 1,000 alumni and friends of Fordham in attendance.
Archon Solon and Marianna became involved with Fordham after learning about its planned Orthodox Christian Studies Center during a 2006 meeting with Archon George Demacopoulos, Ph.D.. They created an endowment to establish the Patterson Triennial Conference on Orthodox/Catholic Relations, and in 2015, a gift from the Pattersons established the Fr. John Meyendorff & Patterson Family Chair of Orthodox Christian Studies, which is now held by Archon Demacopoulos. They both serve on the advisory council for the Orthodox Christian Studies Center, of which Archons Aristotle Papanikolaou and Demacopoulos are co-founding directors.
The Pattersons have been instrumental in helping Fordham’s Orthodox Christian Studies Center to prosper over the past decade. In the early 2000s, they also created an endowment to establish the Patterson Triennial Conference on Orthodox/Catholic Relations.
Father McShane noted that “in the process, they have enabled Fordham to become the only Catholic university in the world that offers degree programs in Eastern Orthodox studies.”
The retired CEO and Chairman of financial firm Montag & Caldwell, Archon Solon and Marianna have dedicated the rest of their lives to trying to reunite the Orthodox and Catholic Churches. Said Marianna Patterson: “Solon is Greek Orthodox, and I am Roman Catholic, and we have long prayed for the end of the separation of these oldest and largest Christian bodies. Their reunion would be a positive event for all Christians the world over.”
The Pattersons, natives of Atlanta, have been married for nearly 60 years.