Letter from the President

Letter from the President

Dear Friends,

We could not have asked for a more beautiful day on May 21 as we gathered to celebrate Commencement. The graduates and their families took photographs and laughed under a cloudless sky, with a cool breeze coming inshore from Long Island Sound. Over 1,000 diplomas were awarded to students from all the disciplines — a splendid day for everyone.

All Commencements are special of course — the high point in our academic calendar, when we take a moment to acknowledge the accomplishment of our students.

This was a particularly special Commencement however, as we are in the midst of our 75th anniversary celebrations. We were fortunate to have eight members from the class of 1951 present for the occasion. Those pioneers from Fairfield’s first graduating class were very gracious to our new graduates, and proud to represent the spirit of our founders.

It was a special day for me as well, as I had the good fortune to be the first layperson, and indeed, the first woman to preside over these celebrations. I couldn’t help but reflect on how profoundly our culture and our University has evolved over the years. Inside this Fairfield University Magazine special anniversary edition, we review the years 1966 to 1989 — years of significant transformation, as women entered Fairfield, and the counterculture overturned all our expectations of what University life was all about.

It’s been an honor to serve as Interim President during this anniversary year, and it has led me to appreciate what a work of faith a University is!

On St. Patrick’s Day in 1942, seven Jesuits created the articles of association for the Fairfield College of St. Robert Bellarmine — now Fairfield University.

How extraordinary to have signed this charter at the very beginning of the country’s entrance into World War ll. Those founders were making an enormous commitment at a time of great uncertainty. There must have been some jangling nerves among those signatories around the table, knowing that our nation’s young men — their students — would be going off to war.

But those seven Jesuits founded Fairfield despite these uncertainties, because our University was a leap of faith right from the beginning. It continues to be a leap of faith. Every year, every class, every new program, and each and every student represents a leap faith.

We are always making this leap of faith — as persons, and as a University. We are always stepping into the unknown with the conviction that there is work to be done, and that education — the transformative interaction between students and teachers — is a noble undertaking essential to the common good.

Now Fairfield University has a new President — Mark R. Nemec, PhD, whom you will meet inside. A graduate of Loyola High School in Los Angeles, and of Yale and the University of Michigan where he received his PhD in Political Science, Dr. Nemec is a nationally-recognized thinker on the subject of the future of higher education. He brings to Fairfield an appreciation for our Jesuit heritage, as well as expertise in how we must evolve to remain relevant for the students of today.

So once again, Fairfield leaps into the future as it has done countless times before. We do so, as always, with the assurance that the work we do is essential, and that we have always evolved to meet the challenges placed before us.

With that, allow me to say thank you to the entire community for the support and kindness I have received during my years here, and may God bless Fairfield University.

Sincerely,

Lynn M. Babington, PhD, RN

Interim President