Higher rankings, more applications, and new programs energize the Fairfield Rising campaign as it enters its final year with a $210 million target.

Higher rankings, more applications, and new programs energize the Fairfield Rising campaign as it enters its final year with a $210 million target.

Fairfield Rising, the University’s largest and most successful comprehensive campaign, enters its final year in 2018 with a goal of reaching $210 million by the end of December, after well-surpassing its original goal of $160 million last year.

Inspired by their own experiences and a bold vision for the future, Fairfield’s alumni, parents and friends have already generously committed $198.7 million in gifts, pledges, and bequests. Thanks to the Fairfield community, the campaign has been elevated, accelerating Fairfield’s ascent as the modern Jesuit Catholic University.

“I am thrilled to be leading Fairfield University at this time of transformation and rise as the modern Jesuit Catholic institution,” said University President Mark R. Nemec, PhD. “Our academic strength, dynamic student body, and strong faculty – coupled with a high quality student experience, beautiful campus, and exceptional location – provide us the perfect combination to ensure that Fairfield remains a model institution with a broad impact on higher education.”

The Fairfield Rising campaign focuses on providing the necessary resources to support the University’s strategic plan, Fairfield 2020: The Way Forward, inclusive of a master plan for facility improvement. The plan recognized the rapidly changing landscape of higher education and called for increased investment in scholarship, academic innovation, contemporary facilities, student enrollment, endowment, and other strategic priorities. Fairfield Rising answered the call with an across the board surge of energy and academic innovation.

“I think the University has continued in its primary mission of providing a first class education to students.… If you have a connection to this institution — as hopefully many, many people do — then there should be an obligation to give back.”
John C. Meditz ’70

“In the spirit of the Jesuits, I want to be able to help a student that may not have the financial means to attend Fairfield. My husband Gary and I hope that our gifts will allow a student to experience all that Fairfield has to offer.” 
– Marianne (Maguire) Kahn ’99

World Class Facilities:

Generosity has already enabled several academic and student life priorities to be completed or initiated. Certainly, the most obvious and dramatic changes due to Fairfield Rising have been the new and substantially renovated buildings on campus — with about $90 million in gifts dedicated to these projects.

These include the 70,000 square-foot home for the new Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies and the new Kanarek Center for Palliative Care Nursing Education; the substantial expansion and renovation of the Leslie C. Quick Jr. Recreational Complex; the new Rafferty Stadium; an expansion of the Barone Campus Center and the new Tully Dining Commons; a renovation and upgrade of the Alumni Diamond baseball facility; a new residence hall in the Quad area; and a new parking garage at the Aloysius P. Kelley, S.J. Center.

And in the weeks just after the Christmas break, crews were on site preparing the groundwork for a new home for the Charles F. Dolan School of Business, which is slated to open in the summer of 2019.

Investment in Student Scholarship and Academic Excellence:
Donors have further provided more than $56 million in commitments toward academic and scholarship endowment to attract and retain outstanding faculty, recruit the most talented students, and to develop new academic programs.

With each student application telling a unique story, increasing scholarship resources ensures that financial circumstances will not prevent promising applicants from writing the next chapters of their stories right here on our campus. Scholarships also help broaden the cultural and socioeconomic profile of our community, to the benefit of all.

Support for academic programs has fostered the growth of many new initiatives including a Master of Science in Business Analytics, a Doctor of Nursing Practice in Midwifery, an Informatics Nursing Concentration, and a Bachelor’s in Public Health major and minor. The School of Engineering has launched a professional development series and the Graduate School of Education and Applied Professions has developed reading and literacy programs to help students of all ages and backgrounds.

So far — in just a few short years — Fairfield has seen the number of undergraduate applicants increase from just over 8,418 for the class of 2014 to 11,219 for the class of 2021 —an increase of over 33 percent. At the same time, the Admit Rate — the percentage of students who apply and are admitted — has improved from 71.4 percent to 60.5 percent, an indication that the University is able to be more selective as it rises in the estimation of prospective students as a university of choice.

Additionally, donors have recognized the need to support new programs and centers of excellence.

Among the new centers that have emerged in recent years is the Center for Ignatian Spirituality, which provides spiritual direction to students, faculty, and staff, as well as the surrounding community.

Strength through Annual Generosity:
During the campaign more than $50 million has been graciously donated to support annual priorities through gifts to the Fairfield Fund. These annual gifts address the University’s most immediate priorities, and also act as a bridge between tuition revenues and the actual cost of student education.

Gifts to the Fairfield Fund over the course of the campaign have been received from long time supporters, as well as new donors, including young alumni who want to give back. In addition, many donors have chosen to continue supporting the Fairfield Fund while giving to another campaign initiative.

The Fairfield Fund provides a necessary supplement to financial aid, support for career services and clubs, and a wide range of other services, including the expansion of the Academic and Career Development Center and the Office of Service Learning.

The Academic and Career Development Center helps guide students throughout their studies, find internships in their area of interest, and connect to alumni mentors. The Center also provides our alumni access to webinars about job search and career development.

The Office of Service Learning provides scholarships to students enrolled in service learning courses that include a domestic and international immersion.

Why Participate? Because you are Fairfield:
Whether you are an alumnus, parent or friend, perhaps a better question might be why would you not support Fairfield? Participation is a celebration of your own education and accomplishments or those of a child or friend. The education, achievements, friendships, and Jesuit values that the Fairfield community shares are Stag bonds forever and these bonds need to be strengthened for future generations.

Since the start of the Fairfield Rising campaign, almost 20,000 University alumni have contributed. But there is a deepening recognition that Fairfield needs to improve the general level of alumni giving, to continue to build the University’s reputation and stature.

U.S. News and World Report considers the percentage of undergraduate alumni of record who donate to their college or university when determining their rankings. This, in turn, influences the University’s reputation among prospective students, parents, and peers.

According to the magazine: “The percentage of alumni giving serves as a proxy for how satisfied students are with the school.” Increasing the alumni giving rate is a critical factor in improving Fairfield’s regional and national reputation.

Fairfield has a respectable alumni giving rate of about 16 percent. However, it is less than some of the schools with which Fairfield competes. By comparison in recent years, Holy Cross (49%), Boston College (26%), Villanova (22%), and Providence College (18%) have boasted higher participation rates.

An increase in Fairfield’s participation rate will elevate rankings, and that raises the value of a Fairfield education. And it’s not the size of the gift that matters — it’s simply the number of alumni who give.

Going forward, the University has set a goal of reaching a 25 percent participation rate by 2020. Raising the participation rate is a major overarching goal of Fairfield Rising and will be a priority focus of University efforts in the foreseeable future.

But the fact remains that the Fairfield Rising campaign has already exceeded its original goal, and is surging towards an even more impressive finish. Alumni support for Fairfield University has provided a substantial amount, but increasing donor numbers can help achieve so much more.

“Since the start of this campaign, almost 20,000 donors have contributed to Fairfield Rising, the most significant campaign in the University’s history,” said Wally Halas, vice president for University Advancement. “To that I say thank you. Without your past support, Fairfield could not have achieved all it has. Your future support will ensure excellence for generations.”