Letter from the President – Spring 2015

Letter from the President – Spring 2015

Dear Friends,

We had a great turnout on Feb. 14 as our men’s and women’s lacrosse teams opened their home season against Holy Cross and Sacred Heart respectively in our new Rafferty Stadium, a 3,500-seat, state-of-the-art facility that has given these athletic programs the world-class home they deserve.

In many ways, Rafferty Stadium represents the first concrete step in a process of growth that I have been writing to you about for some time. You will see other changes to our campus in the not-too-distant future, with a substantial renovation to our Leslie C. Quick Jr. Recreation Complex set to break ground in May, and a renovation to our School of Nursing on the horizon — a renewed facility that will serve as the cornerstone of the Integrated Nursing and Health Studies Initiative central to our vision of the future.

As you may recall, last year we launched Fairfield 2020: Building a More Sustainable Future, a campus-wide effort to refresh our strategic plan and change our business model to meet the needs of today’s students, while finding new sources of revenue and enhancing our infrastructure. At the time of this writing, the Steering Committee is working through the recommendations of the task forces that studied all our operations, with a view to presenting a final report not long after you receive this issue of Fairfield University Magazine.

I will share more of those findings with you in our next edition. But there are a few initiatives we are certain to pursue. We know that as many as 20 percent of our graduates will find themselves working in healthcare — an area where we have considerable strength. Some will be healthcare practitioners, but others will pursue biomedical research, or develop software or mechanical innovations that combine the fruits of engineering with the healthcare science of the future, or they will work in healthcare businesses. These related areas of study will be the career fields of the coming decades, and so our Integrated Health Studies Initiative — to bring students from a variety of fields into proximity so that they can work together — will be a significant area of growth for us.

We have also introduced a new branding strategy for our Dolan School of Business, one of the highest-ranking business schools in the country. We are going to emphasize the “Dolan School’s” tradition of excellence to draw greater attention to our school’s quality and prestige. Additionally, we have introduced a new MS in Business Analytics. This is a burgeoning area of study that focuses on the statistical analysis of “big data,” — an area that we know will be a key driver of business growth, and one where we can show leadership.

One of the most exciting areas of expansion for us is to meet the demands of those who are looking to further their education, but are in a different phase of life than our traditional undergraduate population. College enrollment for those between 22 and 44 is expected to increase by 14 percent in the coming decade. These men and women — with families and jobs in many cases — need new skills to remain competitive in a volatile economy. Our University can, and should, provide flexible learning opportunities to serve these members of our community.

This is just some of what the future holds. Meanwhile, we remain a traditional liberal arts university in the Jesuit tradition, and very much in demand. The class of 2018, which enrolled last fall, is our largest ever  with 1056 students and we received over 10,000 applications for the class of 2019 — a milestone.
We will always be a university that forms men and women to go out into the world and change it for the better. The core of that mission we have inherited has not wavered in over 450 years of Jesuit education. But every age asks that we recreate the institution to meet the needs of the present, and at Fairfield we are doing that, as we always have, and as we are obliged to do if we are to remain truly Ignatian in character.

Sincerely,

Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J.
President