Donor Profile: Chris Ritchie ’88

Donor Profile: Chris Ritchie ’88

The sideline antics of Lucas, the painted faces in the “Red Sea,” the cheering of Stags fans celebrating against-all-odds victories… these are the memories that motivated Chris Ritchie ’88 to direct his first Fairfield University donation of $100 toward Athletics in 1988, as part of his senior class gift.

“Sports are an important part of Fairfield’s identity,” said Ritchie. “They enrich the college experience not only for athletes, but for non-athletes as well.”

The University’s scholarship fund has also benefitted from Ritchie’s decades-long support of Fairfield. As a scholarship recipient himself, he points out that today, the cost of college as a percentage of household income is increasing at twice the rate of inflation — making the availability of scholarship money more urgent than ever.

“It’s important to me that prospective students are offered the same opportunity I was given — to receive a Fairfield liberal arts education that teaches students how to think, not what to think. This is going to be more important than ever as technology and careers continue to evolve and change.”

Serving as the student body president during his senior year at Fairfield enhanced Ritchie’s college experience and forged friendships that continue to this day. He likened the FUSA presidency to “a crash course in finance, management, and leadership.”

The on-the-job skills and confidence he gained as the head of FUSA were evident to on-campus recruiters from Chase Manhattan Bank. His career path has taken him from Chase to Citizens Bank, to Huntington National Bank in the Philadelphia area, where he is currently a senior vice president on the National Settlement Team.

Fairfield also introduced Ritchie to his wife of 28 years, Jean (Cerasuolo) Ritchie MA’90. As the couple prepares to celebrate Ritchie’s 30th class reunion in June, they recently pledged a $125,000 gift to the Fairfield Fund.

“The value of our diplomas increases every year when we, as alumni, donate to Fairfield,” he said. “Together – through gifts in any amount – we can make the biggest difference.”