Letter from the President

Letter from the President

Dear Friends,

As we begin the school year, we do so with great excitement for what is to come, but also with sincerest gratitude for what has been an exceptional first year. With this in mind, I am pleased to share that Fairfield Rising drew to a close on July 31, 2018. The campaign raised close to $218 million in support of our mission – well over the $160 million target that we initially intended. Our success is thanks to the enthusiastic engagement from all of you – alumni, faculty, staff, students, and parents.

A campaign of this magnitude is truly an act of faith. It begins with a vision – of a modern, Jesuit and Catholic University operating at the highest levels – with top-flight faculty and enhanced teaching, the most advanced facilities and technology, living
spaces that allow our students to explore the life of the mind in a contemporary context, and the financial resources that enable us to accept any worthy student who wants what we have to offer.

That is the ambition; then, faith and our engagement with our friends and neighbors goes to work. Because the vision is a sound one, and because many talented people spend countless hours articulating that vision – designing buildings, financial models, new academic programs – one has faith that the Fairfield community will continue to rise up, inspired by our collective mission to see the vision realized.

And that is what is happening. We are truly blessed. We put our faith in the community and this faith has been rewarded. There are more details on the campaign inside this edition of Fairfield University Magazine, but here are few points of pride that stand out for me. First, almost 20,000 of you gave your support, a very large proportion of our alumni and friends. While the financial support is vitally important, the future of Fairfield is dependent on the engagement with our mission and with one another that characterizes our community. An emphasis on transformative relationships and community spirit is reflected in everything that we undertake. So we can all take pride in the knowledge that our community is strong, and that we are able to rise together as one when a challenge is placed before us.

And our community continues to grow. As of this writing we expect an incoming class of over 1,100 – the largest in our history – with among the strongest academic credentials. Though subtle, the link between our incoming class and the Fairfield Rising campaign is direct, for I would suggest that throughout the years of the campaign, the enthusiasm of our community, along with the new facilities for academics, athletics, and campus life, have contributed to both the perception and the reality of Fairfield as a university on the rise.

This energy is abundantly evident to anyone who visits our campus or our website, let alone encounters our alumni. Fairfield Rising has lifted us, and I think the world around us is catching on.

We see this reflected too in the evolution of our academic leadership. I am happy to announce that Richard H. Heist, PhD, has joined us as interim dean of our School of Engineering. Dr. Heist served as Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida. He has an extensive record of research and scholarship and I believe he will help drive our engineering programs to a new level of excellence.

We also welcome Sean Horan, PhD, as new chair of the Communication Department. Dr. Horan joins us from Texas State University, and as one of the nation’s leading Communication scholars, he brings the leadership we need for this rapidly evolving area of study.

So the work of building the modern Jesuit University continues – a University that believes in the power of a “world-friendly” spirituality of transformative engagement. Thank you for your ongoing contributions to this effort. There is little time to rest on our laurels; the world does not stop and we must move on to the next challenge. But for today perhaps, we can all enjoy a moment of satisfaction in a job well done.

With very best wishes and utmost gratitude,
Mark R. Nemec, PhD