Letter from the President

Letter from the President

Dear Friends,

As I write, our University is in the midst of a vital period of growth and evolution, some of which you will see reflected in these pages, with other new and exciting developments on the horizon.

We set a goal as a community to become the model of a modern, Jesuit Catholic University — one proactively responsive to the needs of today’s learners — and we are seeing the resonance of our efforts. To date, we have received more than 12,300 undergraduate applications for the class of 2023, the largest applicant pool in our history. This year’s applicants come from 43 states and territories, as well as a record 68 countries internationally. We have worked hard to bring Fairfield’s message to a broader audience, and we are seeing results.

It has been a busy start to 2019. In early January, I traveled to California with a team from our University, in part to meet with our alumni and thank them for their generosity and faith in our work. I also spoke with a number of applicants and high school counselors. All were very receptive to what we have to offer: our reputation for excellence, the professional and intellectual opportunities that our proximity to New York and Boston makes possible, as well as the quality of our faculty and our emphasis on the care of the whole person. Later in the month, I was particularly pleased to meet with 51 students from my own Jesuit high school, Loyola High School of Los Angeles, when they visited Fairfield on an East Coast tour.

We continue our efforts to enhance our standing as a national and international center of excellence. I recently journeyed to China with our dean of the Charles F. Dolan School of Business, Zhan Li, to speak with a small but passionate group of alumni, and to meet with prospective students and partners in Shanghai and Beijing. As our new Dolan School facility opens this summer, our reputation continues to rise for all of our schools and we become more unbounded in approach with online and hybrid programs. We are seeing an increasing interest in our professional programs — not just in business, but in nursing, engineering, and education — from students outside of our traditional recruitment footprint; this is essential if we are to fulfill our true potential and to remain relevant in the global context.

Certainly, a critical element of our growth and evolution is the birth of new programs that are responsive to the needs of our community. So we are delighted to announce the launch of a Master of Social Work degree program this coming fall semester, which will complement our new Bachelor of Social Work degree. Developing men and women who have both the tools and comportment to assist our neighbors in times of need is a mission that Fairfield has embraced. This new program represents our University’s modern excellence at its best, moving quickly to address what our society is asking of us and what we are called to do. I cannot help but see the parallels here with the history of our School of Engineering, whose 25th anniversary we celebrate in this issue of the magazine. It is a remarkable story — how a few people began the Bridgeport Engineering Institute to train engineers in the 1920s, meeting in rented classrooms and borrowed labs to develop the talents of hardworking young people who strove to better themselves. Offering the Institute the greater resources it needed to thrive, Fairfield University merged with BEI in 1994. Today, we train men and women for modern careers in cybersecurity, data science, bioengineering, mechanical engineering, and beyond.

It is gratifying to see that Fairfield’s mission to serve the community — locally, nationally, and globally — is as responsive today as it was 25 years ago when the School of Engineering was established, and more than 75 years ago, when our University was founded. As society evolves, Fairfield evolves in response, and by doing so we further our work as a Jesuit and Catholic University, upholding the essential dignity of the human person in everything we do.

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