Letter from the President

Letter from the President

Dear Friends,

We have had a whirlwind of a summer here at Fairfield, and certainly that has been true for my family and me as we have settled into our new home, found schools and activities for the children, all while becoming happily immersed in the life of the University and the broader community. Moving a family of six is not without its challenges, but we are most excited to be residents of this beautiful town, and very grateful to have been so generously welcomed by all we have encountered.

I knew when I was asked to serve as President, that I was being offered a truly unique opportunity to be part of something most special and important — a Jesuit University, with a reputation for exceptional scholarship and academic rigor, which embraces the Ignatian obligation to nurture and encourage persons of strong character and true integrity.  Our legacy here is remarkable, and our dual emphasis — on excellence in all things coupled with an overarching mission to form men and women for others — positions us to be the model of the modern Jesuit, Catholic university.

As I have shared with gatherings of alumni, staff, and faculty over this summer, the world needs what we do. We are stewards of a long established, time-tested tradition with an obligation to form men and women equipped for a lifetime of learning through an integrated and disciplined academic approach which recognizes the importance of cura personalis — developing the mind, the body and the spirit.

Supporting our students, faculty and staff in this endeavor, we are also working to improve our infrastructure. If you had been around the campus this summer the overall impression you would come away with is that Fairfield — in our 75th year — is laying the foundation to be a leading 21st century university. As I write, the expansion of our Barone Campus Center with the brand new Tully Dining Commons is well underway and will open this fall; our completely new Nursing and Health Sciences facility is nearing completion, to be home to the Egan School, with a host of new, cutting-edge programs including a doctorate of nursing practice in nurse midwifery and certifications in palliative care to name a few.  Additionally, as you will read inside, we are about to break ground on a new facility for the Dolan School of Business. Building upon our rising national ranking, construction on this innovative facility will begin in the coming months. Once complete, it will host state-of-the-art facilities, including a data analytics lab and an entrepreneurship center with ideation space — all designed to not only benefit our students and faculty but also to foster further engagement with the broader business community.

We also are evolving our organization. First, I am thrilled to welcome, Paul Schlickmann as our new Athletic Director. A Trinity College graduate and basketball player as well as son of a Fairfield ’62 graduate, Paul is the perfect leader to build upon the legacy of Gene Doris and elevate Fairfield athletics. Secondly, we are excited to be advancing our commitment to lifelong learning and professional education in newly emerging, multi-disciplinary fields with the addition of a Vice Provost for Continuing and Professional Studies. Additionally, as Dr. Donald Gibson moves to the Provost’s office to strengthen our academic oversight and development structure, we have begun a nationwide search for a new Dean of the Dolan School.

Allow me to conclude, in this first letter to you in the Fairfield University Magazine, with my thanks: Thank you for welcoming my wife Suzy, our children Alex, Teddy, Philip and Kit and me into this community; thank you for the trust and faith that you have placed in me; and thank you for all that you do to support and enhance the reputation of Fairfield University. I am grateful to be with you, and I look forward to working with you as our University moves boldly to meet the opportunities of the future.

With very best wishes and utmost gratitude,

Mark R. Nemec, PhD