Portrait of a Jasper: Giuliani

by Gabriella DePinho & C. Garrett Keidel, Editor-in-Chief & Social Media Editor

Rudy Giuliani ’65 has always been politically active. Before he launched his career which led him to become New York’s 107th mayor, he made state and U.S. politics local, right here on Manhattan College’s campus.

How did he do that? He wrote a column for The Quadrangle titled “Ars Politica,” which means the art of politics and serves as a play on the more common “Ars Poetica” or art of poetry.

As found in his archival file in the O’Malley Library, Giuliani wrote for The Quad definitively from Spring 1964 through that year’s fall. His column “Ars Politica” was the content of which he wrote the most, though he also contributed to “Greek Column” and wrote a story headlined “Candidate Speaks at Mount” in October of 1964 about Robert F. Kennedy’s speech hosted at the College of Mount St. Vincent.

His contribution to “Greek Column” may seem out of place, but in his time at Manhattan College, Giuliani was an active member of Phi Rho Pi, a fraternity that no longer exists on campus, and he served as the Interfraternity Council president. Though the Interfraternity Council no longer exists, it once served the eight fraternities that called MC home.

As a column, “Ars Politica” was both informative and highly-opinionated. Giuliani mostly wrote about the 1964 New York Senate race between Sen. Kenneth Keating (R-NY) and former Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. He occasionally wrote about the year’s presidential election.

While a student, Giuliani was an active registered Democrat and his writing reflected that.

In an undated issue of The Quadrangle that appeared to be from spring of 1964, he wrote, “The Republicans will either nominate a “winner” candidate or a loser. This means they will either pick a candidate they feel has the best chance of winning or concede the election and put up a patsy who will walk, talk, eat and drink for four months, just to pass the time of day.”

In the Sept. 24, 1964 edition of the paper, Giuliani wrote that Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-AZ), presidential candidate for the GOP, was “an incompeten[t], confused and sometimes idiotic man.”

Giuliani speaking at Manhattan College event. MANHATTAN COLLEGE ARCHIVES/COURTESY

Giuliani also wrote, in the Dec. 3, 1964 edition of The Quadrangle, “The GOP will only become a strong and vital party when it can offer reasonable and rational alternatives to the answers the Democrats offer to the problems and challenges that face us in the modern age.”

Graduation did not stop the Magna Cum Laude receiving alumnus in political participation. According to Manhattan archival records, Mr. Giuliani also was a part of the Nassau County Democratic Committee, and Vice President of the North Bellmore Democratic Club.

Giuliani kept a close connection to his alma mater. He often returned to campus for reunions and kept connections with classmates post graduation, according to archive records. The former Features Staff writer returned to Riverdale in October, 1982 to give the inaugural speech of Brother Thomas J. Scanlan, 18th President of Manhattan College.

In his inaugural speech, and in his reflection post graduation, he cited the importance of teaching a specific set of principles for a common good.

“Ethics must be given prominence as a discrete discipline at the earliest stages of education,” Giuliani said.

Giuliani continued the theme of a larger cause in his quoting of Allan Bloom, “There is perennial and unobtrusive view that morality consists in such things as telling the truth, paying one’s debts…and doing no harm.”

Ethics was a central theme to Mr. Giuliani’s speech. While commenting on the current social state he said, “America in [the] 1980’s is experiencing alarming numbers of public officials, business leaders, and so-called religious leaders convicted of serious crimes or involved in scandalous behavior which may be strictly legal but certainly unethical.”

In his speaking of right and wrong, and specifically the he causes of, Mr. Giuliani gave a solidifying statement. “But if there is one cause that predominates, it is the deterioration over the past two decades of those institutions which in a society, such as ours, are most primary and most important factors in the building into people, the principle of voluntary respect for the rule of law.”

In his speech, Giuliani emphasized the Lasallian values of building quality education, and promoting an inclusive community with respect for all persons, which all align with the values of a common good. The values of a common good are those which the College hopes to influence students to practice, well past graduation.