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Enhancing the Rome Experience in the Spirit of Jim Fougerousse

By Sarah Sokora, BA '15

When discerning a fitting memorial for her father, James M. Fougerousse, Ph.D., BA ’67, Lisa (Fougerousse) Mobus, BA ’90, and her husband, Jeff Mobus, BA ’86, dreamed up a worthy combination that would provide for both the rousing conversations that her father was so well known for, and also the place in which to host them. Through their generosity and that of John Norris, Ph.D., BA ’84, Lisa (Pelletier), BA ’93, and Randy, BA ’86, Irlbeck, and Sarah (Fougerousse), BA ’91, and Michael, BA ’90, Tiller, the University of Dallas is honored to name the salone on the Eugene Constantin Campus just outside of Rome in honor of James M. Fougerousse, one of the first directors of the University of Dallas’ Rome Program, and to establish the Fougerousse Convivium Fund. 

The Fougerousse Convivium Fund transports students beyond the classroom by providing annual support for additional lectures, tours and convivial gatherings throughout the semester to enhance the Rome experience in the spirit of Jim Fougerousse, who passed away in February. To launch the “Foug Fund,” as they hope it will become known, the Mobuses have generously offered to match the first $10,000 received in gifts. Together, the Salone and the Convivium Fund will memorialize Fougerousse’s legacy on the Rome campus, in particular the effortless way in which he gathered people together. 

The summer of 1981 saw the Fougerousse family move from the University of Dallas’ Irving campus to the nascent Rome Program at Via del Pescaccio. In the classroom and through the streets, Jim Fougerousse earnestly sought to educate his students by any means possible, often providing extra tours or lectures to expand the conversation. He liked to make people think, to push them outside of their comfort zones and make them prove what they thought to be true so as to know it more fully, and these horizon-expanding conversations were as frequently had in his home as in his classroom. 

Whether in Rome or Irving, the Fougerousse home was full of storytelling and Valhalla-esque “long table” dinners during which the Fougerousse children could be found playing under the table as toddlers or bartending in their later years, while faculty and students debated across the table. Especially for Lisa, the eldest, those eight years that her family spent in Rome were a precursor to her own transformational experience of Rome as a student herself, one she knows is shared by every student who goes to Rome. This experience is two-fold, for it draws students into both the wider world of history, languages and diverse cultures and into the intimate fold of the UD family. 

“UD is about family; the people who teach the classes and those who take them with you become family in a way,” Lisa explained. “So many I knew when I lived in Rome as a teenager are like older brothers and sisters to me now, and my father played a great part in bringing us together.”

Those who support the Fougerousse Convivium Fund, Lisa said, “would be stepping into my father’s shoes in a way, as they are providing unique, truly extraordinary experiences for the students, as my father would have done. An extra catacomb tour, a current events lecture, something that had never been done before could become that spark for someone, that moment of life-changing revelation for a student who would never have experienced Rome like this otherwise.”

The first $10,000 in gifts to the Fougerousse Convivium Fund will be matched by the Mobuses. To enhance the UD Rome experience through a gift to the fund, visit this page or contact Assistant Director of Development Sarah Sokora at sdsokora@udallas.edu or 972-721-5131.

 

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