Page 1

From a Distance

A Mission Continues

Career Goals

Faculty and students pivoted to remote learning with innovation and creativity.

Meet the honorees of the postponed 2020 Fairfield Awards Dinner.

Jackie Kane ’87 is the winningest field hockey coach in Fairfield history.

Fairfieldmagazine UNIVERSITY


On the Front Lines Alumni are at the forefront of the fight against Covid-19. Fa i r f i e l d Un i v e r s i t y Mag a z i n e | su mmer 2020 i

Hope Springs Eternal Photo by Nicolette Massaro

A springtime cherry tree blossoms beside Bellarmine Hall on campus. On the cover: Alumnae nurses from the Class of 2016, (l-r) Nicolette Tiernan, Katherine DeStefano, and Nicole Prodan pose with Stags Up at North Shore University Hospital in New York. Photo by Nicole Prodan ’16

Fairfield University Magazine Fairfield University Summer 2020 | Volume 43 | Number 1 a.m.d.g. Editor, Alistair Highet Assistant Editor, Tess (Brown) Long ’07, MFA’11 University News Editor, Susan Cipollaro Copy Editor, Jeannine (Carolan) Graf ’87 Vice President for Marketing and Communications, Jennifer Anderson ’97, MBA’02 Designer, Nancy (Gelston) Dobos ’91 Photography by: Joe Adams pages 3, 12, Jainé Kershner page 35 Larry Levanti page 15 Steve McLaughlin page 14 Hearst Connecticut Media page 37 Fairfield University Media Center page 11 Contributed photos: 8-11, 16-27 Courtesy of Deloitte page 40

Fairfield University Magazine is published four times (November, March, June, September) during the year by Fairfield University. Editorial offices are located in: Bellarmine Hall, Fairfield University Fairfield, CT 06824-5195 (203) 254-4000, ext. 2526 e-mail: ahighet@fairfield.edu Printed at The Lane Press Burlington, Vermont ii sum me r 2020 | Fairfie l d Un i ve rs it y M aga z in e

Fa i r f i e l d Un i v e r s i t y Mag a z i n e | su mmer 2020 1


“You have to be willing to work hard, adapt, and do what is best for the patient no matter what, while also keeping yourself safe and healthy.” — Nicholas Mudry ’17, RN



by Nicole Funaro ’17 and Nicolette Massaro

by Sara Colabella ’08, MA’11

Fairfield faculty and students pivoted to innovative remote learning, creating remarkable teaching moments along the way.

Fairfield alumni in nursing and health professions are at the forefront of the fight against Covid-19.

Moving more than 1,500 of Fairfield’s graduate and undergraduate courses online did more than create a logistical challenge – it opened up new learning opportunities as students and professors experienced global history in the making.

Thousands of Fairfield alumni work in the medical profession and health care industry. A handful of them, including DNP candidates and graduates of the Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies, share their personal accounts of what it’s like to serve others on the front lines of the Covid-19 pandemic.

From a Distance

Pictured above: Visiting Professor Aaron Weinstein, PhD, co-creator of Fairfield University’s “Plugging Into Politics” podcast.

On the Front Lines

Pictured above: Chalk expressions of gratitude for frontline workers colored the sidewalks of neighborhoods around the country. 2 sum me r 2020 | Fairfie l d Un i ve rs it y M aga z in e

Fairfieldmagazine UN IVE RSIT Y

4 5 12


let ter from the presiden t universit y news r ankings

Lifetime Value

by Tess (Brown) Long ’07, MFA ’11

Fairfield University ranks among the top 1% for long-term value of the degree in a new study from Georgetown University.



Career Goals

by Jeannine (Carolan) Graf ’87


A Mission Continues by Tess (Brown) Long ’07, MFA’11 and Nicole Funaro ’17

The 32nd annual Fairfield Awards Dinner, a gala to celebrate the University’s dedication to the Ignatian mission of service through education, has been postponed, but Fairfield’s support for scholarship is stronger than ever.

Jackie Kane ’87 is the winningest field

hockey coach in Fairfield history.

33 34

gr an ts & gif ts alumni notes

Profiles: 35 Carly Ragosta ’08 Business is Blooming 35 Michael Cummings ’84 Superintendent of Schools During a Pandemic


donor profile Maureen (Errity) Bujno ’90

Meet this year’s honorees, and discover how scholarship assistance continues to provide opportunities for a life-changing education.

Fa i r f i e l d Un i v e r s i t y Mag a z i n e | su mmer 2020 3

Letter from the President

“As a community, we must be clear in our hearts that everything we do is an expression of our commitment to what is true and just, and also to a love of neighbor that transcends justice.”

Send your letters to the editor of Fairfield University Magazine to Alistair Highet at ahighet@fairfield.edu. Your news could be featured in an upcoming issue of Fairfield University Magazine! Submit your updates through Class Notes within the Online Community and don’t forget to include a photo! Go to fairfield.edu/alumnicommunity.

Dear Friends, First, let me express my best wishes for you and your families. I know this pandemic has touched us all. On behalf of all of us on campus, our thoughts and prayers are very much with you. At the time of this writing, the deaths of George Floyd and others, and the nationwide protests that followed, find us in a state of national mourning and reflection. We are living with uncertainty, feeling our way forward. As a community, we must be clear in our hearts that everything we do is an expression of our commitment to what is true and just, and also to a love of neighbor that transcends justice. We must be willing to embrace the openness of heart that leads to compassion, humility, and gratitude for our shared inheritance as children of God. As a Jesuit, Catholic university, we must be an institution of healing. We must also be ever mindful of our core purpose as an institution of higher learning. With this in mind, Fairfield University held a virtual celebration on May 17 to honor the graduating Class of 2020. With more than 484 graduate, professional, and doctoral students, and 1025 graduating seniors receiving degrees, it was the largest graduating cohort in our history. That we accomplished this is a testament to the resilience of our institution. This spring semester has been like no other, and the Class of 2020 will hold a special place in our history. At this time, we are planning to hold an on-campus Commencement for them on October 11. In March, when the severity of the pandemic became apparent, the University went into action. First, our students studying abroad had to be brought home — ensuring credits were not lost. Then, our academic enterprise had to pivot to remote learning — securing academic continuity with roughly 1500 classes transitioned to remote platforms, and adapting to meet the needs of our students. Our career counseling, mentoring,

4 sum me r 2020 | Fairfie l d Un i ve rs it y M aga z in e

library and academic support, spiritual guidance, and other services also transitioned to remote methods. This maintained our academic mission while sustaining the vibrancy of community life so integral to our University’s character. We have learned much from this experience. For some time, we have been working toward increasing our hybrid and online teaching capabilities. While the pivot to remote learning in March was abrupt, it also accelerated our initiatives along this path. To further this, we recently appointed Jill Buban, PhD, as the new vice president for Digital Strategy and Online Education, to help expand our online and hybrid academic program offerings. This experience also enhanced our partnerships with the local community. A group of our students produced thousands of face shields for essential workers using our engineering labs’ 3D printers; we donated meals and supplies, and worked with other non-profits to serve the community. If nothing else, this crisis has reminded us that we are at our strongest as a society when our institutions work together. While the situation remains fluid, we intend to resume full on-campus instruction on September 1, 2020, while following the health directives of the State of Connecticut. More details will follow, and we will adapt as necessary. We are in continual discussions on how best to safely proceed in our operations. We are also committed to ensuring that everyone who begins their journey with Fairfield will be able to complete their education. This requires us to come together in support of our students and their families. I have no doubt we will do this. As I have often noted, Fairfield was founded in 1942 in the shadow of the Great Depression and with the country at war. Our foundation was an act of faith at a time of uncertainty — of faith in the strength of our people, and the ennobling power of education. This faith is integral to the character of our University and with this faith in our hearts, we will continue to prosper. With utmost gratitude and very best wishes to you all,

Mark R. Nemec, PhD President


Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality Provides Virtual Support to Community

Rev. Charles Allen, S.J., a beloved figure on campus, and an integral part of the life and spirit of the University and Fairfield Prep community for more than 40 years, retired at the end of May, leaving Fairfield to reside at the Campion Center in Weston, Massachusetts. In addition to his work at Fairfield, Fr. Allen has served as a spiritual mentor and friend to a host of non-profit and civic organizations throughout the Bridgeport and Fairfield area, including his role as chaplain to the Town of Fairfield’s Emergency Services. Fr. Allen’s Jesuit service

began at the age of 17. He holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in philosophy from Boston College, and master’s degrees from Gregorian (Rome), Brown, and Columbia Universities in theology, mathematics, and educational administration. He served as headmaster of Fairfield Prep from 1985 to 1998. “I leave Fairfield University and Fairfield Prep with a tremendous bundle of happy memories,” said Fr. Allen. “May God continue to bless Fairfield University and Fairfield Prep. You will all be in my prayers. I hope to see F you again soon.” l

Fairfield University’s Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality offered the greater community an array of virtual spiritual programming designed to not only maintain interpersonal connection, but also to foster a spiritual connection to help guide participants through the uncertain times brought on by the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Personalized one-on-one spiritual direction meetings via Zoom, FaceTime, and Skype were offered for those seeking a deeper connection with God. The Murphy Center’s Assistant Director Martha Haley estimated that the meetings gathered more than 200 participants through virtual platforms. lF

VIRTUAL ARTS PROGRAMS AT THE QUICK On April 13, 2020, the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts at Fairfield University launched quick sessions: a springtime series of free virtual programming, designed to bring online theatre, music, and visual arts to audience members in the comfort of their homes.

Fr. Allen basked in love and best wishes as more than 500 carloads of friends and colleagues paraded past to bid him farewell.

Fa i r f i e l d Un i v e r s i t y Mag a z i n e | su mmer 2020 5

Universit y NEWS Fairfield Announces New Leadership Positions Following comprehensive national searches, Jill Buban, PhD has been named Fairfield University’s vice president for Digital Strategy and Online Education, Andres Carrano, PhD, has been appointed the new dean of the School of Engineering, and Laurie Grupp, PhD, will lead Fairfield’s Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions as its new dean. As of April 16, Dr. Jill Buban oversees strategic development, infrastructure, and programming to expand Fairfield University’s online and hybrid academic program offerings, with a particular focus on graduate and professional studies. Most recently, Dr. Buban has served as the chief academic officer of the Unizin Consortium, overseeing the organization’s research activities, its member and partner engagement, and acting as the liaison for Unizin’s robust teaching and learning committee. Dr. Andres L. Carrano, currently a professor and associate dean for research in the Allen E. Paulson College of Engineering and Computing at Georgia Southern University, will formally assume the position of dean of the Fairfield University School of Engineering on August 1. Dr. Carrano has previously held administrative and endowed positions at Auburn University and Rochester Institute of Technology and has taught at universities in Japan, Turkey, and Venezuela. Dr. Carrano served as a Fulbright scholar in Italy in

2018, and was awarded a NASA research fellowship at the Marshall Space Flight Center in 2016. He earned his MS and PhD degrees in industrial and systems engineering from North Carolina State University, and his BS degree in industrial engineering from Universidad Católica Andres Bello — the oldest of three Jesuit universities in Venezuela. Dr. Laurie Grupp has been appointed dean of Fairfield University’s Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions. Currently the associate provost for faculty affairs at Providence College, Dr. Grupp has served in a variety of roles at Providence for nearly two decades, including associate professor in the Elementary Special Education Department, chair of the Elementary Special Education Department, the provost’s advisor on faculty development initiatives, and as director of the Center for Teaching Excellence. Prior to Providence College, she was an assistant professor in the Exceptional Education Department at Buffalo State College. As dean of Fairfield’s Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions, Dr. Grupp will serve as a member the provost’s leadership team. She will play a vital role in developing GSEAP’s vision and furthering the academic reputation of the School, by supporting programs and expanding and enhancing community partnerships, as well as increasing and diversifying F graduate programs. l

6 sum me r 2020 | Fairfie l d Un i ve rs it y M aga z in e

STAGS WIN THIRD STRAIGHT MAAC SWIMMING & DIVING CHAMPIONSHIP Fairfield’s women’s swimming and diving team won its third consecutive MAAC Championship the weekend of February 12. The Stags were led by Maria Nitti ’21, the 2020 Most Outstanding Swimmer of the Meet. In addition, Head Coach Anthony Bruno was selected by his peers as the 2020 MAAC Co-Coach of the Year, earning the award for the third straight season. Nitti won three individual gold medals, and two golds and two silvers as a member of various relay teams. Morgan Hansen ’21 also posted a pair of individual victories, including a new MAAC record in the 100-yard butterfly. In total, the Stags won gold in eight events and collected 16 top-three finishes. Fairfield swimmers set new program records F in four relays and three individual events. l


Kevin Kryzwick ’21, with the help of Kiley Hallet ’21 and another friend, painted a colorful mural on a large roadside rock in Burlington, Conn., to pay tribute to his community’s medical workers, including his sister, Egan School alumna Tory Kryzwick ’18, RN. The mural attracted local media attention and an overwhelmingly positive response from passers-by.

Students Launch 3D-Printed Face Shield Project From School of Engineering Lab

(l-r) Drew Jobson ’20 and Evan Fair ’22 3D-printed PPE face shields to donate to health care workers.

Inspired by reports of critical Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) shortages in medical facilities across the country, Fairfield nursing major Caroline Smith ’21 and bioengineering major Lilliana Delmonico ’20 started a 3D-printed PPE project at Fairfield University in April. Smith and Delmonico were under shelter-at-home mandates in New Jersey and Connecticut, so they enlisted the help of two friends who remained on

campus: computer engineering major Andrew (Drew) Jobson ’20 and bioengineering major Evan Fair ’22. Using the University’s Maker Bot and Taz6 3D printers, the volunteer team manufactured and delivered more than 1,000 custom-designed PVC face shields and 3D-printed headbands in their first 50 days of production. Mechanical engineering major Tom Ngyuen ’21 has joined the project and deliveries

to hospitals, nursing homes, fire stations, businesses, and community organizations will continue through the summer, supported by GoFundMe donations. Dean Richard Heist, PhD, described the initiative as “a manifestation of the overarching ‘Service to Humanity’ character” of both the engineering and nursing F professions. l

FAIRFIELD GRADUATE PROGRAMS AMONG BEST IN U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT’S 2021 RANKINGS Fairfield University graduate programs in the Charles F. Dolan School of Business and the Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies have again been named among the nation’s best in the 2021 edition of the U.S. News Best Graduate Schools rankings. Included on the Best Graduate Business Specialty Programs list are the Dolan School’s accounting, finance, and marketing programs, which remain among the top 25 in the U.S. The Dolan School’s accounting program tied for #20 with four schools including Harvard and Columbia University. Fairfield’s finance program landed at #25 on the list, between Yale at #21 and Dartmouth Tuck at #26. The Egan School’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and Master of Science in Nursing programs once again ranked among the top 75 in the nation for Best Graduate Nursing Programs. Rankings were determined, in part, by voting from peer institutions, and were based on factors such as faculty resources, research activity and awarded grants, and student selectivity. Specialty rankings were determined by survey information collected from F deans and directors. l

Fa i r f i e l d Un i v e r s i t y Mag a z i n e | su mmer 2020 7

Universit y NEWS New Online Format for Innovative Research Symposium The Innovative Research Symposium, traditionally held in the Barone Campus Center for nearly 300 students to share their research projects with the Fairfield University community, was presented this year on April 23 in a new online format. Student and faculty collaborative research abstracts were collected in an eBook, which is available for public browsing at fairfield.edu/research-symposium. Videos of select students presenting their work are also showcased. The annual Innovative Research Symposium celebrates scholarly

excellence at Fairfield University as an expression of the magis, the more. The event spotlights the extraordinary research done by students, which contributes to the understanding necessary to address today’s pressing social issues. Student research spans academic disciplines including nursing capstone projects and work by Sigma Xi students in the natural sciences, mathematics, and psychology; it includes undergraduate, graduate, and independent projects — many of which are supported by the University’s Research and Travel F Grant program. l


Fairfield University’s Center for Social Impact — formerly known as the Center for Faith and Public Life — has received a $54,000 grant from the Switzerland-based Benina Foundation to enable its partner Jesuit school, Loyola High School in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, to install solar panels. The panels will power an academic building and the chapel at the Tanzanian school. Above, Fairfield University students in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania participated in a service immersion experience through the Center for Social Impact.

Fairfield Announces 2020 Student Achievement Award Winners Each year, Fairfield University recognizes a select number of seniors with Student Achievement Awards, for both academic and service-related accomplishments, highlighting the students’ contributions to excellence, engagement, and the Ignatian tradition. Courtney Krechel ’20 has been announced as this year’s recipient of the prestigious undergraduate St. Ignatius Loyola Medal for committing herself over the last four years to the Jesuit education ideals of maintaining high academic standards and substantial involvement in community service and extracurricular activities. Christina Bogacz ’20

1930’s Mining Lift, Temple Mountain, Goblin Valley, Utah, photographed by Morgan Post.

PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBIT CAPTURES DEVASTATION OF RADIOLOGICAL DISASTERS In February at the Lukacs and Experimental Galleries, Fairfield photography instructor Morgan Post’s exhibit, titled U 92, Contamination from West to East, featured photographs documenting the environmental impact of uranium mining in Utah, and the Fukushima nuclear disaster of 2011. 8 sum mer 2 0 2 0 | Fairf ie l d Un i ve rs it y M aga z in e

received the William J. Kramer ’60 Award for her commitment to volunteerism and service to an external community activity that best exemplifies the Ignatian tradition of being men and women for and with others. Five students received the Student Achievement Award for

exceptional dedication to a specific Fairfield University program or activity: Shawn Hall ’20, a mechanical engineering major, won for his contributions in recruitment, involvement, and retention of diverse students; Pablo Idrovo ’20, an economics and international studies major, won for being a true “person for others.” At Fairfield, Idrovo was a Newman Civic Fellow and a research assistant for the Green Village initiative; Domenick Laperuta ’20, an accounting and management double major, received the award for his contributions to Residence Life, particularly for establishing the Resident Assistant/Commuter Assistant Council (RACC); Claire Monahan ’20, a politics major, won for her contributions to FUSA and the University community; Fallon Sullivan ’20, a visual and performing arts/theatre major, won for her contributions F to Theatre Fairfield. l

FAIRFIELD NAMED TO PRINCETON REVIEW’S ANNUAL LIST OF BEST VALUE COLLEGES Fairfield University has been named to Princeton Review’s annual list of the nation’s Best Value Colleges. Earning the distinction for its stellar academics, affordable cost, and strong career prospects for graduates, Fairfield returns to the ranking as one of 200 schools — and one of only four other Connecticut schools — to make the 2020 list. According to Princeton Review, the Best Value Colleges for 2020 were chosen based on information collected from fall 2018 through fall 2019. Data came from institutional and student surveys,

as well as from PayScale.com, which provided alumni career and salary statistics. Fairfield received specific commendation for its “strong and accepting community [that] strive[s] to make everyone feel at home,” and for its “outstanding” business and nursing programs, and “engaging [and] passionate” professors. Fairfield also received high marks for its overall quality of life rating (93/99), its green rating (80/99), and its high return-on-investment (ROI) rating (87/99), thanks to graduates’ high starting and F mid-career median salaries. l

COLLEGE OF ARTS & SCIENCES ANNOUNCING NEW SPORTS MEDIA MAJOR In fall 2020, Fairfield University’s College of Arts and Sciences will launch a brand-new interdisciplinary major in sports media. The highly anticipated program will encompass the main industry components that make up the larger sports media environment — journalism, broadcasting, communication, and public relations

— and combine them with a critical approach to studying sports that is rooted in the liberal arts and in Fairfield’s Jesuit mission. The timing of the new sports media major’s launch aligns with the industry’s rapid growth and demand for highly skilled, wellF rounded professionals. l

Manuel Mendive Hoyo, Yesterday Afternoon (Ayer Por la Tarde), 2018 Acrylic on canvas Collection of Steven and Terry Certilman.

FAIRFIELD UNIVERSITY ART MUSEUM: ARCHIVES OF CONSCIOUSNESS: 6 CUBAN ARTISTS Fairfield University Art Museum’s exhibition, Archives of Consciousness: 6 Cuban Artists, opened on January 24, 2020, and featured recent works by internationally renowned artists of Cuba’s post-Soviet era. The exhibit was an invitation for viewers to witness the struggles and experiences of life in Cuba’s revolutionary society. Highlights of the Fairfield University Art Museum’s exhibition were pieces by Roberto Diago, Manuel Mendive, Eduardo Roca (“Choco”), Abel Barroso, Mabel Poblet, and Luis Enrique Camejo. Representing different generations of artists raised in the culture and evolving process of the Cuban Revolution, their works strike a dialogue across decades of memory and the increasingly paradoxical formula of liberation through authoritarian, one-party F rule that has defined Cuba since 1959. l

Fairfield Students and Connecticut Politicians Engage in Town Hall-Style Forum Fairfield University hosted U.S. Representative Jim Himes (D-CT, Fourth District), Connecticut State Senators Will Haskell (D-26) and Tony Hwang (R-28), and State Representative Cristin McCarthy Vahey (D-Fairfield) in a student forum on February 19 at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. Hosted by the College of Arts

and Sciences in conjunction with the Politics and Master of Public Administration programs, the panel of Connecticut politicians fielded questions from students in a town hall-style forum entitled “Your Country, Your Voice, Your Future: A Conversation on Important Issues Affecting Young F Americans.” l

Fa i r f i e l d Un i v e r s i t y Mag a z i n e | su mmer 2020 9

Universit y NEWS Women’s Basketball Tri-Captain Sam Kramer ’20 Receives Hartford Healthcare Courage Award

EGAN SCHOOL RANKED TOP 5 IN NEW ENGLAND REGION Fairfield University’s Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies has been ranked among the top five nursing schools in the New England region by Nursing Schools Almanac’s 2019 list of the 60 Best Nursing Schools in New England. Ranked at No. 5 by the online nursing student resource, Fairfield is joined by Yale University (No. 1), Boston College (No. 2), University of Connecticut (No. 3), and University of Massachusetts Medical School (No. 4) atop the list. Fairfield’s Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies was also recently named Best College for Nursing (No. 1) by Niche, and was ranked in the top 5 percent of all nursing programs in the U.S. by College Factual’s 2019 Best Nursing Colleges report. For more information on Fairfield rankings, F visit fairfield.edu/rankings. l

Fairfield Women’s Basketball tri-captain Sam Kramer ’20 received the Hartford HealthCare Courage Award on February 12. Kramer was presented with the award by Hall of Famer and Olympic gold medalist Rebecca Lobo before a crowd of her teammates, family, friends, and University community members at Alumni House. Kramer was recognized by Hartford HealthCare for her perseverance during the Stags’ 2018-19 season, when her father passed away following the sudden onset of hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) – an illness which led to non-Hodgkin’s T-cell lymphoma. After missing just two games, Kramer returned to the starting

Pictured (l-r): Director of Athletics Paul Schlickmann, Head Coach Joe Frager, Sam Kramer ’20, Hartford HealthCare Senior Vice President Vincent DiBattista, and Rebecca Lobo.

lineup as a leader on the court and in the locker room. Three months after her father’s passing – on the eve of the 2018-19

MAAC Championship – Kramer shared the experience in an essay F published on ESPNW. l

David Meola, PhD on “Dueling Loyalties: Honor, Citizenship, and Antisemitism in 19th Century Germany” On February 26, David Meola, PhD, the Bert & Fanny Meisler Chair of History and Jewish studies, and director of Jewish and Holocaust Studies at the University of South Alabama, delivered the Joan and Henry Katz Lecture in Judaic Studies. During the Haber Affair of 1843, Moritz von Haber, an ennobled Jewish apostate, was a party to two duels and his presence sparked an anti-Jewish riot. In his lecture, Dr. Meola juxtaposed the Haber Affair of

10 sum me r 2020 | Fairfie l d Un i ve rs it y M aga z in e

1843 with the German-Jewish struggle for social integration, citizenship, and political equality. Dr. Meola’s research focuses on German-Jewish history during the nineteenth century, specifically looking at discussions about Jewish emancipation and inner-Jewish religious reform in the German-language, non-Jewish press. He is the editor of the upcoming A History of Genocide, vol. 4: The Long Nineteenth Century F (2020). l

David Meola, PhD

First in Northeast: Fairfield’s International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Program Fairfield’s newly awarded ISTE program — the first of its kind in Connecticut and in the Northeast— will allow graduate students in the Educational Technology program the opportunity to graduate with ISTE Certification, a nationally recognized credential awarded to educators who demonstrate effective use of technology to transform learning. According to ISTE, the ISTE recognition for higher education celebrates visionary programs that prepare educators for success in today’s digital learning environments. Programs seeking ISTE recognition submit their curriculum to undergo a rigorous

Pictured (l-r) Vincent Gadioma ’22 and Tobenna Ugwu ’22

GADIOMA AND UGWU WIN FUSA ELECTION IN LANDSLIDE VOTE review for alignment to the ISTE Standards for Educators, a widely adopted framework used to rethink education and create innovative learning environments. “The Educational Technology Program strives to create leaders in the field who can be successful in any district or educational setting,” said Program Director F Joshua Elliott, EdD. l

FAIRFIELD STUDENTS ACHIEVE 98 PERCENT JOB PLACEMENT RATE FOR EIGHTH CONSECUTIVE YEAR After following up with the Class of 2019, the Career Center confirmed that 98 percent of students secured fulltime employment, placement in a graduate or professional school, or are participating in a volunteer service program within six months after graduating. The average starting salary for the Class of 2019 is $58,830, excluding bonuses.

More than 47 percent of the students from the Class of 2019 obtained employment through campus recruiting and employment resources. Health care/nursing was the highest area of placement at 20.8 percent. 47.1 percent of students gained employment through internships, and 29.8 percent from networking or F direct applications. l

The newly elected president and vice president are very familiar with the inner workings of the FUSA office. President Vincent Gadioma ’22, a biology major, served as a senator on FUSA. He also serves on the e-board of the Pre-Med club, is a tour ambassador, runs programming for the Honors Student Leadership board, and

sings in Fairfield’s Glee Club. Vice President Tobenna Ugwu ’22, a bioengineering major, was FUSA’s associate director of diversity and inclusion. He is a member of the Ignatian Leadership Residential College program, the creative director of Fairfield@Night, and also a F Glee Club member. l

Fairfield StartUp Showcase Moves Online As Fairfield University moved to remote learning in order to “flatten the curve” and keep all Stags safe and healthy in response to the coronavirus, the StartUp Showcase was transformed into an online video series that was released on April 29, 2020 at fairfield.edu/startup. The videos document each team’s journey, as they make their pitches through video conferencing, and receive feedback from the investors. This year’s new virtual format was well-received by the

University community, garnering upwards of 2,600 views and reaching more than 50,000 people through social media channels. A total of $28,500 in seed money was awarded to the student entrepreneurs, with Dayanna Mazo ’20 winning the $1,000 Audience Favorite Award, sponsored by CTNext/CI, for her Dayverse handcrafted jewelry F business pitch. l

Fa i r f i e l d Un i v e r s i t y Mag a z i n e | su mmer 2020 11

Lifetime Value

Fairfield University ranks among the top 1% for long-term value of the degree in a new study from Georgetown University. by Tess (Brown) Long ’07, MFA ’11


airfield graduates often talk openly about the “value” of their college experience, but they seem to use that word to refer to the intellectual and spiritual benefits the University has brought to their lives — rather than anything strictly quantifiable. The value of Fairfield will always be, at least partly, experiential: walking up the hill with friends for class with a favorite professor in Donnarumma Hall, a relaxing cup of tea in the airy and open Tully Dining Commons, the smell of incense at a Lenten service at the Egan chapel, the stroll past the pond on the way to hear some unforgettable music at the Quick Center. Graduates know that Fairfield, with its Jesuit-inspired, liberal arts education, has also prepared them well for a variety of careers, and they are quick to praise the University for the lasting value it has brought to their lives, well after their four years on the bucolic campus have come to an end. Now, a recent study by Georgetown University has put numbers to that sense of value, capturing in empirical data what Fairfield grads have long perceived. Using a 40-year period as a comprehensive benchmark, researchers took into consideration students’ income after graduation, average debt, and graduation rates. They collated and analyzed statistics from more than 4,500 U.S. colleges and universities — including public, private nonprofit, and private forprofit colleges that offer bachelor’s degrees, associate’s degrees, or certificates. Left: In Niche’s 2020 Best Colleges ranking, Fairfield was named one of the top 5 safest colleges in the state of Connecticut, and was also featured among Connecticut schools with the best locations.

12 sum me r 2020 | Fairfie l d Un i ve rs it y M aga z in e

What are the numbers that got Fairfield to the top of this ranking? Its alumni have an earning potential, just ten years after graduation, of $103,000, plus a relatively low average debt, and a top graduation rate (82 percent). In the study, Fairfield earned high marks — placing it in the top one percent of institutions for Return on Investment (ROI), and second only to Yale University in the State of Connecticut. Fairfield also placed higher than Amherst College, Boston University, New York University, and Syracuse University. Other benchmarks are notable, too: the study ranked Fairfield fourth among the top five of 27 Jesuit universities in the United States — apace with Georgetown, Santa Clara University, Boston College, and College of the Holy Cross. What are the numbers that got Fairfield to the top of this ranking? Its alumni have an earning potential, just ten years after graduation, of $103,000, plus a relatively low average debt, and a top graduation rate (82 percent). According to the report, which uses new data from the expanded College Scorecard — an online database launched by the U.S. Department of Education in 2013 to give families more information about colleges — potential students should consider how much it will cost to obtain a credential, and how much they could potentially earn with it. The report, entitled “A First Try at ROI,” focuses on net present value from college, which was calculated by assuming that earnings ten years after first attending are a reasonable indicator for future earnings. It also assumes that the total investment is reflected in the total cost of college, which College Scorecard provides as the average annual net price. For each college, the study also evaluated such factors as net price, median debt, and median earnings, and their related ratios. With Fairfield ranking in the top one percent for

#1 Yale University

#2 Fairfield University Public and Private Universities in Connecticut Source: Goergetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, A First Try at ROI:Ranking 4,500 Colleges, 2020.

ROI, the metrics signal a Fairfield University education has an ever-increasing value. The Georgetown study comes on the heels of Fairfield’s recent ranking in the top 20 percent on the Forbes Top Colleges List and a top-five placement in several statewide rankings from Niche. In addition, Princeton Review listed Fairfield among the top 15 schools for “happiest students” in the nation — something prospective students who visit campus with their parents are more than likely to notice for themselves. University President Mark R. Nemec, PhD, in a video address sent to admitted students in April, reflected on the findings of the Georgetown study, and noted that Fairfield’s standing is partly due to its focus on the way it “develops student capacities,” readying students to think “deeply and broadly about any opportunity or challenge they encounter.” Fairfield will always be more than its numbers, however glowing they may be. In

his address, Dr. Nemec highlighted the way in which Fairfield encourages a “commitment to the community,” and suggested that the Jesuit ideals instilled in its students are ones that are prized by its large network of alumni — who are especially quick to hire Fairfield students. In a time of economic uncertainty, it’s likely that this newly conferred status for the University will be an attractive consideration for potential students. Citing the current worldwide pandemic crisis in his speech, President Nemec reminded his listeners that the University was “built in the shadow of the Great Depression” and has always reflected “resilience at times of great challenge and uncertainty.” In these unprecedented times, Fairfield’s numbers in the Georgetown study are reflections of that resilience, he suggested — and a confirmation of what its enthusiastic alumni have always F known. l Learn more about Fairfield University’s top rankings and accolades at Fairfield.edu/rankings.

Fa i r f i e l d Un i v e r s i t y Mag a z i n e | su mmer 2020 13

Career Goals

Jackie Kane ’87 is the winningest field hockey coach in Fairfield history. by Jeannine (Carolan) Graf ’87

14 sum mer 2 0 2 0 | Fair fie l d Un i ve rs it y M aga z in e


xpectations were high for Fairfield’s Division I field hockey team going into the fall 2019 season, as Head Coach Jackie Kane ’87 celebrated her 25th anniversary at the helm of the program. She had rounded out her Northeast Conference (NEC) team’s 18-game schedule with ambitious preconference matchups against schools from six other conferences. “Each year, our goal is to try and play a competitive schedule that prepares us for a run at a conference championship and a bid to the NCAA tournament,” said Coach Kane in a pre-season interview. The Stags hurtled into September with seven wins in a row, launching them into their first national ranking (#23) since 2012, in the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) National Coaches Poll. Momentum continued to build as Coach Kane celebrated her 200th career win against Villanova in October, and the following month Fairfield clinched the NEC regular season title with a 6-0 conference record. Hot off a late-season nine-game winning streak, the Stags barreled into post-season play to defeat Rider and capture the NEC Tournament Championship — a fitting way to honor Coach Kane in her 25th season. But the party wasn’t over yet, as news broke that the team would play its opening round game in the NCAA Division I Championship Tournament at home on University Field. And so, on November 13, sounds of cheering carried across campus as fans braved belowfreezing wind chill values to witness Coach Kane lead Fairfield field hockey to its firstever NCAA win, a historic 3-1 victory over American University. Two days later, it was on to Storrs, Conn. for an exciting in-state matchup against Big East champion UConn. The postseason run ended in a 1-2 final score, but only after the Stags demonstrated that they could hang with the big dogs, forcing the Huskies prove their #2 national ranking in overtime. Left: Coach Kane’s 25th anniversary season culminated with the program’s first-ever NCAA tournament game victory. Above: Luzi Perseihl ’22, Madison Hoskins ’23, and Danielle Profita ’21 celebrate the team’s NEC Championship overtime victory.

“It was just magic this season — the players all bought in. They just wanted to win for each other and with each other.” Jackie Kane ’87, Field Hockey Head Coach

After her team’s amazing 19-3 season — second only to North Carolina’s record — Coach Kane was quick to deflect credit to her “driven, dedicated, and kind” team members. “It was just magic this season – the players all bought in,” she said. “They just wanted to win for each other and with each other.” She was equally enthusiastic about her parttime staff. Assistant coaches Dani Brown ’03 — a former Fairfield player, and Steve Dennis — a former UConn ice hockey goalie who is now a field hockey goalie for the USA Indoor Team, made “a huge impact this season,” as did Jeroen Siskens, a volunteer coach from Holland. With a special knack for identifying recruits who are as passionate about learning — and about Fairfield — as they are about their sport, Coach Kane said she looks for field hockey players who, like herself, are “ridiculous overachievers who want to do a million things in 100 hours.” “Jackie cherishes our competitive spirit and motivates us to always do more,” agreed Jolanda Richter ’22, a midfielder from Berlin, Germany. “Being the best team athletically and academically is our goal each season.” The field hockey program’s history of academic success is as impressive as its stats on the pitch. Eighty players have been named to the NFHCA Academic Squad over the span of Coach Kane’s career, and eight have earned NFHCA Division I Scholars of Distinction

honors, for achieving a semester GPA of 3.9 or higher. Richter was one of three Scholars of Distinction in fall 2019, alongside Mackenzie Boyle ’22 and Danielle Profita ’21. “Coach is very understanding of what it means to be a Division I student-athlete and constantly reminds us that academics come first,” said Profita, an All-NEC First Team and NFHCA All-Region pick, who scored the winning goal in the NCAA game against American. As a first-year student at Fairfield in 1983, Coach Kane was a walk-on to a very different field hockey program. “We played on grass, we bought our own equipment, and there weren’t as many games in a season,” she remembered. When she returned to coach in 1995, the position was part-time and it wasn’t until 1998, when Fairfield got its first turf field, that Fairfield field hockey really took off and the team won its first championship. Four NCAA appearances and more than 200 wins later, Coach Kane is still putting the off-field development of her players first. “The wins on the field are terrific — watching them celebrate with each other,” she said. “But the relationships that form, how they hold each other accountable, and seeing these women go on to succeed in life – the phone call that ‘I got into med school’ — those F are the best rewards of coaching.” l

Fa i r f i e l d Un i v e r s i t y Mag a z i n e | su mmer 2020 15


FROM A DISTANCE by Nicole Funaro ’17 and Nicolette Massaro

16 sum me r 2020 | Fairfie l d Un i ve rs it y M aga z in e

Assistant Professor Linda Roney (highlighted in green box), used Zoom video conferencing to check in with Egan School students after their study abroad experience in Ireland was curtailed by the Covid-19 outbreak.

Fa i r f i e l d Un i v e r s i t y Mag a z i n e | su mmer 2020 17


ollowing the University announcement in March, which said all classes would be moved to remote learning after the spring recess due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak – and in accordance with national, state, and local health directives – Fairfield faculty led the charge in pivoting to teach through online platforms with speed and creativity, building upon its pre-existing infrastructure and professional experience in online education. More than 1,500 of the University’s graduate and undergraduate courses migrated to remote learning, ensuring that academic instruction continued immediately following spring recess, and providing students the opportunity to earn their credits for the semester, as well as the opportunity to stay on track toward degree completion and their graduation date. That meant that hundreds of faculty members had to swiftly modify their courses to include remote instruction and, in many cases, develop other creative ways to engage students. Professors’ home offices and dining rooms became classrooms, and students turned their bedrooms, basements, and kitchens into study

halls — together, doing their best to put aside distractions to keep the academic work of the University on track. Associate Vice Provost for Pedagogical Innovation & Effectiveness Jay Rozgonyi said the move to remote learning involved adapting seven simple principles. The move was announced on March 11 and was underway by March 16. Rozgonyi shared the seven principles: “Don’t forget about your larger course goals and outcomes; stick with a technology platform you know; keep communication flowing; mix synchronous and asynchronous activities (group projects, online discussion, and multi-part assignments); collect and comment on work submissions electronically; curate and deliver content in a variety of ways; and carefully consider testing options.” “It has gone remarkably well, considering we have 600 instructors,” he added.


or Robert Nazarian, PhD, assistant professor of physics, the first thing he wanted to do with his general physics courses was check in with his students and hear what they had to say about

18 summer 2 0 2 0 | Fair fie l d Un i ve rs it y M aga z in e

the transition to remote learning. “Students were still trying to find community in this new way of doing things,” he noted. “In class, they sit at tables collaboratively and work together to answer questions on white boards.” After consulting with his colleagues on the best way to keep this spirit of collaboration alive, Dr. Nazarian opted to use Zoom’s “breakout rooms” feature for small-group collaboration, to model what his students were accustomed to in the classroom. At times this meant placing them in the same groups they’d been in during class, and at other times they were sorted into groups at random. “I took a poll on whether to select groups randomly or the same as class, and it was split right down the middle, so I alternated,” he explained. “I tried to include both, to get different points of view and get them to think differently about problems and problemsolving strategies.” Meanwhile, Dr. Nazarian’s colleague, visiting professor of physics Robert Cordery, PhD, worked with his colleagues to set up, run, and record five lab experiments and two in-class demonstrations for students to view online. Sharing the videos — which ranged in topic from magnetic force to light diffraction — with


above :

The video conferencing tool Zoom allowed for “face-to-face” connection while continuing courses remotely. right:

Dr. Aaron Weinstein (pictured) and Dr. Gayle Alberda used their “Plugging Into Politics” podcast as a remote teaching tool, encouraging students to engage and respond in online conversation boards.

his physics colleagues, Dr. Cordery said he also used the virtual collaboration tool Quip in his courses, so that he could see how students were preparing their lab reports and give feedback as they worked on them. He further supplemented his general physics lessons with additional videos he found online. The hard sciences weren’t the only disciplines where faculty creatively adapted to the remote teaching format. Nursing students spend much of their time working in actual hospitals, which posed a different set of challenges according to Linda Roney, EdD, RN-BC, CPEN, CNE, assistant professor and undergraduate nursing program director at the Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies. “I supervise nine senior nursing students as Fa i r f i e l d Un i v e r s i t y Mag a z i n e | su mmer 2020 19


Working from home, Tara Bailey ’20 will continue her spring internship with Stamford-based Americares through the summer. below:

Interactive platforms like Quip became another creative way to continue classroom collaboration during the pivot to remote learning.

they work in the hospital for their 110 hours of final clinical experience in areas such as the Emergency Department and Intensive Care Unit,” she said during an interview in April. “Some of our students continue to work at hospitals near home, in roles that they had before the pandemic, as nursing assistants and unit secretaries. We started using Zoom during our weekly meetings because some of the students would be working a shift at the hospital and would break way for our meeting.” Others of Dr. Roney’s students were already accustomed to remote instruction, but they had additional adjustments to make — for starters, returning to the United States from their study abroad experience in Galway, Ireland. “They didn’t miss a single class with their return trip home,” Dr. Roney said, “and I actually added a live class to check in with them the Monday after spring break.”


20 summe r 2020 | Fairfie l d Un i ve rs it y M aga z in e


he Covid-19 pandemic isn’t just a logistical challenge for instructors, of course; it is also a worldwide historical event in its own right. And so, many faculty members found ways to actively involve and engage students in the implications of the pandemic, through the prism of their class work. Assistant professor of history Silvia Marsans-Sakly, PhD, adjusted her coursework to offer students the chance to document their own history of living through the coronavirus pandemic. “I decided that I could not waste this historic opportunity to have students experience what it is like to create history, so I gave them all a research task of documenting and

analyzing their experience of Covid-19 in 250500 words every day (except weekends),” she explained. With instruction to write for audiences 100 years from now, Dr. Marsans-Sakly requested her students “keep a journal incorporating their individual experience and analyses of the pandemic from their disciplinary perspective using three outside sources, including articles, social media posts, pictures, memes, short videos, etc.” For assistant professor of politics Gayle Alberda, PhD, and visiting professor of politics Aaron Weinstein, PhD, making the shift to remote learning was the catalyst to create podcasts. Their “Plugging into Politics” broadcast quickly made its virtual debut to students via Blackboard. “The coronavirus is a seminal event in all of our lives, but especially for students who may not remember the Great Recession very well, and who certainly do not remember 9/11,” Dr. Weinstein explained. “When we teach, we emphasize applications to current events, and right now there is a massive, confusing, and understandably scary current event. Political science can help us understand the world, and I see it as my job to help students understand what is happening by applying our studies to the situation.” With themes ranging from the virus’ effect on federalism, the U.S. economy, environmental policies, and the 2020 election, Dr. Alberda and Dr. Weinstein have navigated their new virtual territory with the help of some expert guests, such as Olugbenga Ajilore, PhD, senior economist for Center for American Progress, and political leaders like Connecticut State Senator William Haskell (D-26). Associate Professor Bryan Ripley Crandall, PhD in the Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions, used Zoom’s breakout rooms to divide readings between his students, encouraging them to create their own interactive presentations to share with the class. The results, Crandall said, were admirable and he found himself “beyond impressed” with students’ videos, slides, and delivery of the material they studied.


hile faculty members have them leaning into virtual classes, students have also had to make adjustments outside of classwork. Politics and international studies major Tara Bailey ’20 began the spring semester with an internship at the Stamford-based office of Americares, the disaster relief and global health organization, in conjunction with her humanitarian action minor. Moving into a virtual workspace at home, Bailey embraced the timely experience of her internship as she and her coworkers tackled a Covid-19 response plan. “Americares is partnered with over 4,000 health clinics worldwide, and since I am on the emergency preparedness team, we have been compiling information on how to best be prepared [and] handle the pandemic at their clinics,” she explained. Bailey has helped distribute information on communication, staff safety, resources, documentation, patient management, and health center operations — all while working offsite, using Zoom and other messaging platforms.

As part of Americare’s Covid-19 Emergency Preparedness Team, her internship has been extended through the summer. “It has been an amazing experience. I’ve learned so much on how clinics have to operate. It is so rewarding and exciting to work on something real, where I actually see the impact my work has on a pressing and current issue,” she said. As demonstrated in the above examples, Fairfield is committed to excellence in education at all times, whether face-to-face, online, or transitioning to remote learning as circumstances may require. This dedication remains steadfast as we continue to evolve our educational modality in response to the current landscape. Over the course of the spring semester, the Fairfield learning community transcended the digital divide, finding creative solutions to continue teaching and learning. One thing is for sure: the Ignatian mission to transform the world through education — and educate the whole person along the way — continues F at Fairfield. l

Fa i r f i e l d Un i v e r s i t y Mag a z i n e | s u mmer 2020 21

22 summer 2 0 2 0 | Fair fie l d Un i ve rs it y M aga z in e



The sound of chimes plays overhead at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, New York, as its one-thousandth patient diagnosed with the coronavirus is discharged. It is part of a program, introduced by the hospital, called “Chimes of Hope.” “This is truly an exciting moment for everyone at the hospital. It signifies how well all of the work and sacrifice are working. It makes the long, tiring shifts meaningful. We will get through this, and it will make us stronger,” said ICU nurse Cara Gibbons ’18, RN. As the coronavirus pandemic first swept across the United States, medical professionals around the nation — including the many thousands of Fairfield alumni who work in nursing and health care — were forced to adapt to a new reality just as quickly and intensely as the virus was spreading. Likening their work to going to war, they faced profound challenges.


Tracey McGuire ’98 RN, BSN is one of many Egan School alumni serving their communities during the pandemic.

Fa i r f i e l d Un i v e r s i t y Mag a z i n e | su mmer 2020 23

Knowing personal details, like favorite music or nicknames, allows nurses to connect with patients and takes away some of the loneliness of isolation. “Three of my generous colleagues began offering to visit patients in the hospital, to relay messages from their families,” Gibbons shared. “In this time of isolation, I hope our patients never feel alone with a nurse present. Through a simple touch or hold of the hand, I do everything in my power to make sure my patients feel the love they deserve.”


Medical staff in the Pediatric Emergency Department of Yale-New Haven Hospital gathered to send a message about sheltering in place. above :

Nick Mudry ’17, RN kept an eye on his unit from a nurses’ station at YaleNew Haven Hospital.

“This particular patient population we are working with requires especially diligent monitoring,” noted Gibbons. “Even the most experienced health care professionals remain uncertain of the proper prognosis and treatment plans. However, we are all determined to find the answer.” When she arrives for her night shift, Gibbons immediately picks up a pair of hospital-issued scrubs and a paper bag that contains her N95 mask, goggles, and a face shield she will wear for the next 12 hours. Feeling nervous, but honored to be serving others during this pandemic, she looks at the ICU assignment sheet for her shift. The care tasks for each Covid-19 patient include providing nourishment, administering medications, turning and repositioning, close monitoring for sedation, ensuring ventilator compliance, drawing blood, and dialysis. “Our patients are at all different progressions of the virus while we care for them. During each stage of the disease, patients require differing support. We still look at each of our patients as unique individuals who require precise attentiveness to their needs,” said Gibbons. While undergoing treatment, Covid-19 patients are kept in isolation and family members are unable to visit. To address this challenge, the nurses update family members by phone and also have them fill out questionnaires to learn more about the patients.

24 summer 2 0 2 0 | Fair fie l d Un i ve rs it y M aga z in e


t New York-Presbyterian Hospital/ Weill Cornell Medical Center, each person who enters the facility — doctors, nurses, and walk-ins — receives a facemask to be used for the remainder of the day. Pediatric Intensive Care (PICU) nurse Alexandra Antonacci ’15, RN, regularly stores her mask for reuse. “If a mask isn’t visibly soiled or stretched to the point that the seal isn’t suitable anymore, I will save it, disinfect it, and reuse it in the future.” When the pandemic hit New York City, Antonacci and her fellow nurses converted their PICU unit into a Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU), and received adult intensive care training in a matter of days. “All of our PICU nurses floated around our hospital, to various adult ICUs, to train. We knew we were ICU nurses and could do this, but were unsure of what taking care of an adult meant,” said Antonacci. Her PICU was transformed into a 23-bed intensive care unit, with three of the beds designated for neonatal intensive care. Patients were set up in negative pressure rooms, to keep the virus contained, while the nurses were kept in a positive pressure room. When the unit was converted, windows were installed to allow the nurses to sit in the rooms with their patients. “As pediatric ICU nurses, we are used to sitting in our patient’s room and not really having to think about how often we are coming in contact with our patients, because until now, they were never a real threat to us,” she said.

Her shift begins at 7:30 a.m. After a quick huddle with the charge nurse to go over the schedule and any changes for the day, she goes to her assigned room where she gets a report from the night nurse. Because every patient is Covid-positive, the rest of the day is spent leaving and re-entering the room as few times as possible. “This goes on for about 12 hours of our day, with limited bathroom breaks and water breaks. Gowning to go into the room takes a decent amount of time, and in order to be safe, it’s important to be meticulous about taking off your personal protective equipment so that the virus does not spread or contaminate anything, before exiting the room.” Antonacci and her unit employ a variety of treatment options for their patients. She explained, “Whenever a new medication, or trial, or anything comes out that we think can help our patients beat this disease — we try it. Right now there are a lot of unknowns, but we are keeping up with the research and not afraid to try things we’ve never done before.” At the end of her 12-hour shift, she cleans her masks and goggles with designated wipes, and washes her hands one last time. She places her mask in the same paper bag she started her day with and returns it to her locker. She says goodbye to her co-workers, whom she will see again the next morning, in what she describes as their “new normal.”


or Nicholas Mudry ’17, RN, a pediatric emergency room nurse at Yale-New Haven Hospital who is also currently pursuing a doctor of nursing practice–family nurse practitioner degree (DNP-FNP) at Fairfield, it is the uncertainty that is the biggest challenge. “It is a nerve-wracking time to be working in a hospital. There is a lot of uncertainty, and protocols are constantly changing as new information is being discovered about the coronavirus,” he said. “What I have found to be the biggest worry for most nurses is not necessarily being exposed to the coronavirus themselves, but bringing it home to their families.” At Yale-New Haven Hospital, every day is

different in the emergency room, depending on a number of variables including a rotating daily assignment (triage nurse, trauma nurse, bedside nurse, etc.) and the volume and acuity of patients. “There is always a little bit of anxiety going into a shift, as there is a sense of uncertainty about what the day will be like and what kind of patients you will be taking care of,” he said. “There are days where you barely have the time to sit down, as there is constantly something that needs to be done. However, through all of that, I feel a sense of accomplishment — that I did everything I could to provide the best care for my patients.” At the onset of the pandemic, Yale-New Haven Hospital installed a tent outside the Emergency department for triage, in the hopes of discharging patients without having them enter the hospital and risk exposure to the virus. When assessing patients, they treat anyone with a fever or respiratory symptoms as a possible Covid-19 case. “I feel like being a nurse on the front line is a mindset. You have to be willing to work hard, adapt, and do what is best for the patient no matter what, while also keeping yourself safe and healthy. We all have a common enemy, and are doing everything we can to overcome it.” At Bridgeport Hospital, Fairfield DNP candidate Jennifer Dellemonico, RN, CEN, is testing patients through the hospital’s drivethrough testing site. The emergency room has had multiple cases of Covid-19 requiring admission to the ICU floor. The drive-through testing allows health care workers to swab patients in their cars and send them home to quarantine until their results come in. Dellemonico and her colleagues have their temperatures taken at the start of each shift, before putting on their N95 masks and face shields. Though at the time of this writing in late April they are currently seeing fewer patients each day, the acuities are higher and patients are requiring more care. “We are used to dealing with chaos, but this is unknown territory,” Dellemonico said. “Our day-to-day operations have been completely turned upside down. The thought

Cara Gibbons ’18, RN (on right) and Veena Cherian, RN are ICU nurses at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y.


Fa i r f i e l d Un i v e r s i t y Mag a z i n e | s u mmer 2020 25

Antonacci explained, “The Egan School has prepared me by teaching me the absolute fundamentals of being a nurse. I don’t think there is anything that can truly prepare you for a pandemic like this, but I became a nurse with the training of the incredible professors at Fairfield University and for that I am beyond grateful. This may be a devastating time for many, but there’s nowhere I would rather be than bedside, helping these very sick F patients.” l


of running out of PPE is always on our minds, and many ER nurses are being sent to help in the ICUs. Even though this is not our comfort zone — and a huge learning experience — we are here to help and happy to be on the front line helping these patients.” Guided by the Jesuit emphases on social responsibility, reflection, and lifelong learning, the Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies develops leaders who demonstrate excellence across environments of care, which is evident in the many alumni currently serving on the front lines of this pandemic. As our Egan School alumni continue to treat coronavirus patients, they all have one thing in common: despite the sudden onset of this pandemic, they feel prepared to tackle it head-on. above :

Alexandra Antonacci ’15, RN and coworkers came together at New YorkPresbyterian Hospital/Weill Medical Center. right from top:

Chaffee Crowley ’19, RN and a fellow nurse worked a night shift at Lennox Hill Hospital. Oncology nurse Sarina DeDomenico ’18, RN dressed in full protective gear to care for Covid-19 patients in Manhasset, NY.

26 summe r 2020 | Fairfie l d Un i ve rs it y M aga z in e

NEW YORK BLOOD CENTER AND RICHARD MILLER-MURPHY ’78 PIONEERING THE USE OF CONVALESCENT PLASMA DURING THE CRISIS by Susan Cipollaro As New York City became the U.S. epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic, with more than 25,000 coronavirus cases reported across its five boroughs by the end of March, the New York Blood Center (NYBC) had no way to collect blood locally for its regular donations. “Our collection processes essentially had been mobile blood drives – going to churches, schools, or businesses, setting up a blood drive for one day,” explained Richard Miller-Murphy ’78, NYBC executive director. “Now, those organizations were cancelling their drives and the question was, ‘how are we going to collect the needed blood safely?’” Miller-Murphy is now in his 20th year at NYBC, one of the largest independent community-based blood centers in the world. With operating divisions that span five geographic locations, NYBC serves 75 million people in the New York metro area, as well as the MidAtlantic, Missouri, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, Rhode Island, and Southern New England, providing a variety of transfusion-related medical services to more than 500 hospitals nationally. Responding to critical needs as the Covid-19 pandemic gripped New York City meant quickly adjusting and adapting. A decision was made to cancel all blood drives in New York and New Jersey and within 10 days, 19 alternative donor centers were set up. NYBC has been the first blood collection and distribution center in the country to collect and build a bank of convalescent plasma — plasma rich in disease-fighting antibodies that is removed from a person who has had Covid-19 and recovered, then transfused into an individual still sick with the disease. Though convalescent plasma transfusions have been used by doctors in the past, most recently on patients with SARS and H1N1, Miller-Murphy stressed

that the procedure is very much experimental at this point, and it is unknown whether it will help those severely stricken by Covid-19. “We hope it will make a difference but we need more controlled studies,” he said. In the meantime, Miller-Murphy and his team are on a mission “to get as much [information] out about convalescent plasma, as quickly as we can,” to continue to increase the nation’s supply bank.

Miller-Murphy gives credit to the frontline workers who are putting their lives at risk daily. “For patients, we are one stop behind that, hoping to make the jobs of those on the front lines easier, and helping patients to get out of the hospital.” “It’s what I’ve done my whole life and gives me great hope,” he said. “Fairfield trained me to think of other people in the world whom you can hopefully help with your knowledge and interest.”

Alexandra Antonacci ’15, RN took a private moment to reflect in an empty New York CIty hospital room.

Fa i r f i e l d Un i v e r s i t y Mag a z i n e | su mmer 2020 27

A Mission Continues The 32nd annual Fairfield Awards Dinner, a gala to celebrate the University’s dedication to the Ignatian mission of service through education, has been postponed, but Fairfield’s support for scholarship is stronger than ever.

28 summer 2 0 2 0 | Fair fie l d Un i ve rs it y M aga z in e

by Tess (Brown) Long ’07, MFA’11 and Nicole Funaro ’17

On March 26, 2020, the Fairfield Awards Dinner, Fairfield University’s flagship fundraising event for scholarship, was slated to take place at the Grand Hyatt in New York City. Supporters of the annual dinner have contributed more than $19 million toward student scholarship over more than 30 years, but this year the evening itself has been put on hold due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Though it is intended for the event to be rescheduled for a later date, the Fairfield community’s support for scholarship remains unflagging. “Our alumni, parents, and friends community here at Fairfield is amazingly dedicated, and contributes significantly to the continued success of the University and our students,” said Wally Halas, vice president for University Advancement. “Their generosity makes it possible for a new generation of students to benefit from Fairfield’s modern Jesuit Catholic education. Moreover, their support inspires these scholarship recipients to do their best and go out and make the world a better place.” Since 1988, the dinner has raised significant funds for the Alumni Multicultural Scholarship Fund and other endowed scholarships at Fairfield, while continuing to recognize and honor professional achievement, outstanding leadership, and volunteer commitment to Fairfield.


Clinton A. Lewis Jr. ’88 Former Executive Vice President and Group President, Zoetis, Inc. For Clint Lewis ’88, hard work and serendipity have worked hand in hand to shape a life marked with successes. The son of Caribbean parents and the first in his family to attend college in the United States, Lewis found his way to Fairfield University and declared a major in biology. Without a calling for research or medicine, he set his sights on combining science and business, which he says shaped his Fairfield experience and his Fa i r f i e l d Un i v e r s i t y Mag a z i n e | s ummer 2020 29

professional pursuits thereafter. A chance encounter at Fairfield set in motion his future career. At a career fair in the Campus Center one afternoon, Lewis struck up a conversation with Charles Dombeck ’71 of Pfizer. Dombeck later played an instrumental role in hiring Lewis to work at Pfizer upon graduation — Lewis spent the next 25 years with the pharmaceutical giant. Starting in sales, Lewis progressed through senior commercial roles in human health, moving to the animal health division of Pfizer in 2007 when he became the President of U.S. Operations. In 2013, Pfizer spun out the animal health division into Zoetis, the largest global animal health company, appointing Lewis executive vice president of U.S. Operations and a corporate officer. Two years later, he became their executive vice president of International Operations and by 2018, Zoetis’ EVP and group president of International, Commercial Development for Global Genetics and Aquatics Health. When Lewis thinks back on his trajectory from Fairfield to Pfizer and Zoetis, he attributes much of his success to two factors: family and Fairfield. “For me, I look at the type of person and the type of leader I am today, and other than the DNA I have from the benefit of my mom and dad, it’s a product of the experience I had at Fairfield,” said Lewis. “Fairfield and my Jesuit learning experience instilled in me a sense of self, an appreciation for others, and helped me to discover where I could make a difference.”


Paul F. Lakeland, PhD Aloysius P. Kelley, S.J., Chair in Catholic Studies & Professor of Religious Studies For Dr. Paul Lakeland, the Jesuit tradition has shaped the journey of his professional and intellectual life. Now the Aloysius P. Kelley, S.J., Professor of Catholic Studies and founder and director of the University’s Center for Catholic Studies, Dr. Lakeland has been teaching at Fairfield for the past 38 years and has served as chair of the Religious Studies department and director of the University’s Honors Program. He is also the author of 10 books and the editor or co-editor of two more, as well as a member of the American Academy of Religion, The American Theological Society, the College Theology Society, and the Catholic Theological Society of America (of which he was president in 2018-2019). Dr. Lakeland has amassed a number of distinctions for his work, including three book awards from the Catholic Press Association, and the 2018 award for best theology book of the year from the College Theology Society. Among his awards at Fairfield, Dr. Lakeland was named the 1990 AHANA minority students association’s Teacher of the Year, and received the Alpha Sigma Nu award for Fairfield’s 2005Teacher of the Year. In reflecting on his tenure at Fairfield, Dr. Lakeland said. “As a scholar, I have taught in my writing and public speaking that the Church exists not for its own sake, but for the sake of the world that it tries to serve. As a classroom teacher, it has made me try to reach students as persons, not just as seats in a classroom. And it has energized me to encourage them to recognize that with privilege comes responsibility.”

“ As a classroom teacher, it has made me try to reach students as persons, not just as seats in a classroom. And it has energized me to encourage them to recognize that with privilege comes responsibility.” — Paul F. Lakeland, PhD

30 summe r 2020 | Fairfie l d Un i ve rs it y M aga z in e

“ I learned from rugby that you probably can’t do as much as you think you can by yourself, but you can accomplish a lot more than you believe possible if you team up with good people.” — H. Bart Franey ’67


H. Bart Franey ’67 Retired Co-Founder & Principal at Wellness Environments, Inc., President of Friends of Fairfield Rugby For Bart Franey ’67, the takeaways from the rugby pitch as a student at Fairfield have woven their way into every aspect of his life. Coming from a Jesuit high school in Kansas City, Missouri, Franey was immediately drawn to the newly formed Fairfield University Rugby Football Club (FURFC) when he came to Fairfield in 1963. He joined the team in spring 1964, was mentored by teammates Dan Gatti ’66, Doug Ciacci ’65, and Al Sullivan ’65, and worked his way up to club president by his senior year. After graduating with a BA in psychology and a minor in business, Franey entered the medical products field where he worked for the next 50 years, rising to senior management positions with American Hospital Supply, McKesson, and Herman Miller. He retired as the co-founder and CEO of Wellness Environments, Inc., a manufacturer of modular clinical spaces for health care facilities. But that’s not the only way Franey has dedicated his life to service. Finding his way back to Fairfield Rugby after serving as the director of communications and logistics for the 50th anniversary celebration of the FURFC in 2013, he has remained the Friends of Fairfield Rugby president ever since. Franey has raised

the profile of the FURFC and spread the joy and life lessons of rugby to budding athletes beyond the University community. “[Rugby] taught me that no matter the circumstances, never give up,” said Franey. “Beyond that, I learned from rugby that you probably can’t do as much as you think you can by yourself, but you can accomplish a lot more than you believe possible if you team up with good people. And one other very important lesson: a Rugger is never alone — you’ll have new friends and old friends wherever life takes you.”

For additional information about supporting scholarships at Fairfield, please contact Geri Derbyshire at 203-254-4000, ext. 3090, or visit fairfield.edu/give.

Fa i r f i e l d Un i v e r s i t y Mag a z i n e | su mmer 2020 31


Supporting Students

Claire and Woody Knopf, P’16

Fairfield is committed to helping students in need and we recognize that scholarship assistance often provides a singular opportunity for a life-changing education. Students are deeply grateful for the support of benefactors who believe in them with their generous support of scholarships. “Every day, through my education and experiences at Fairfield University, I am getting closer to fulfilling my dreams and reaching my full potential,” says Eryiel Joyce Mascardo ’21, a psychology major and public health minor. “Thanks to this scholarship, I am able to attend Fairfield. I promise to continue doing my best and pay my F blessings forward in the future.” l

Chair of the Monmouth Medical Center Foundation Board, Former Chairman and current consultant of Knopf Automotive (respectively) Residents of Rumson, New Jersey, the Knopfs have dedicated their lives to serving their community, an inclination they brought to Fairfield University when their son James ’16 began his undergraduate career. Claire and Woody served as the inaugural chairs of Fairfield University’s Parents Leadership Council in 2015 through 2016. Of launching the Council, Claire said: “We wanted to create a community and a sense of belonging for parents, and really give them a vehicle to communicate, connect, and learn about opportunities to get involved at Fairfield.” Through the Parents Leadership Council, the Knopfs have served as hosts for student send-off and parent engagement events. Claire and Woody have helped convene a network of parents to celebrate all that Fairfield is — and offers — to its students. “Students step off the podium and they start running at Fairfield,” said Woody. “They learn how to think, feel good about themselves and others, and they learn how to make things happen.” Claire currently serves as chair of the Monmouth Medical Center Foundation Board and co-chair of the Women’s Council for the Leon Hess Cancer Center Council at Monmouth Medical Center. She has been a member of Fairfield University’s Board of Trustees since 2016, having served on the Infrastructure and Student Life committees. Woody is the former chairman and a current consultant of Knopf Automotive in Red Bank, New Jersey.

32 summe r 2020 | Fairfie l d Un i ve rs it y M aga z in e

“ We wanted to create a community and a sense of belonging for parents, and really give them a vehicle to communicate, connect, and learn about opportunities to get involved at Fairfield.” — Claire Knopf, P’16


A Selection of Grants and Gifts Received from Private and Public Foundations, and Corporations

Center for Social Impact The Benina Foundation has pledged

$54,095 to support the installation of solar panels and a smart classroom at Loyola High School, a Jesuit school in Tanzania. Fairfield University and Loyola High School have been partners since 2008. This grant will increase the school’s engagement with new teaching technology, help decrease the occurrence of interruptions caused by periodic loss of power while classes are in session, and build capacity for ongoing professional development facilitated in partnership with the Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions.

Bennett Center for Judaic Studies The Adolph & Ruth Schnurmacher Foundation approved a $50,000 grant

to support the Carl and Dorothy Bennett Center for Judaic Studies and the many educational programs it organizes throughout the year to highlight the Jewish faith and history, and to enrich culture and spiritual life on campus and in the community.

One team of entrepreneurs and four solopreneurs competed in the 2020 StartUp Showcase, which was transformed this year into an interactive video format.

Charles F. Dolan School of Business

Office of Student Engagement

The Barnes Group Foundation has

Future Tech Enterprise, Inc. has gifted

gifted $5,000 to the Fairfield StartUp Showcase to nurture our students’ entrepreneurial talents.

two state-of-the-art gaming systems to the Leslie C. Quick Jr. Recreation Complex E-Gaming Lab.

General University Student Health Support/Scholarship Center

The Arts at Fairfield The Herman Goldman Foundation

The Weller Foundation has renewed its

The Edward Noble Foundation has

support with a $1,000 grant in support of the 2020 Weller Collegiate Scholarship, which is provided to a student with demonstrated financial need from Monroe, Newtown, Shelton, Easton, or Trumbull.

made a $10,000 gift to allow Fairfield University’s Student Health Center to continue offering counseling and psychological services to undergraduate and graduate students.

has approved a $2,500 grant in support of the Arts for All initiative at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts, which provides more than 3,000 pre-K–12 students from local schools with high-quality arts education F programming and live theatre experiences. l

Fa i r f i e l d Un i v e r s i t y Mag a z i n e | s u mmer 2020 33

Alumni NOTES 1960


’62 | Paul Magnarella wrote the book, Black Panther in Exile: The Pete O’Neal Story recently published by the University Press of Florida.

’05 | Kevin Bayona graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law. Bayona served as a police officer with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) for eight years and now will continue his commitment to public service as an assistant solicitor (assistant district attorney) with the 16th Judicial Circuit of South Carolina where he will prosecute felony and misdemeanor crimes.

’64 | J. Kevin Dorsey has been named interim president of Southern Illinois University in July, 2018. Dorsey served for 14 years as the dean of the SIU School of Medicine and returned to teaching for two and a half years prior to his recruitment.


’79 | Luc R. Pelletier has published an article in the Journal of Nursing Administration ( JONA, 44(9), 2014), entitled “Patient-Centered Care and Engagement: Nurse Leader’s Imperative for Health Reform.”


’94 | Jennifer (Wingard) Haddad was elevated to partner at the Hartford, Conn. law firm of Cohn Birnbaum & Shea P.C., effective February 1, 2020. As a member of the firm’s Commercial Real Estate Group, she handles all aspects of the sale and acquisition of real property, and she negotiates leases on behalf of commercial landlords and tenants for restaurants, retail space, industrial facilities, and office buildings (including medical office space).

organizations realize their potential. His first book, Know Your True Self – A Simple Guide for Raising Human Consciousness, will be released on June 6, 2020 and was largely influenced by his time at Fairfield University.

StagMates Sarah (Piccolomini) ’11 and James Keenan ’11 welcomed son James David into the world on Dec. 21, 2019. Share your news! Simply log on to the FREE Alumni Online Community and post your Class Note. Not a member? Registration is easy at fairfield.edu/alumnicommunity. Sign up and log on today.

’95 | Meghan FitzGerald, a global health care operator, strategist, investor, and academic, has written a new book Ascending Davos: A Career Journey From the Emergency Room to the Board Room, which was just launched by Forbes Books. ’96 | Katherine Burke is releasing her first book, Urban Playground: What Kids Say About Living in San Francisco (April 7, 2020, SparkPress). The book brings together candid perspectives on urban life from interviews with 50 San Francisco kids between the ages of five to nine. Katie uses these insights to provide parents and caregivers with useful strategies to talk to children about their experience of daily life.

34 summe r 2020 | Fairfie l d Un i ve rs it y M aga z in e

’97 | Don Willis was promoted to associate general counsel with Procter & Gamble Company. ’99 | Kathleen Wynne was promoted to attorney of counsel at Bonner Kiernan Trebach & Crociata in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 28, 2019. Catherine Yuhas was recently appointed as the New Jersey Educator on the NY–NJ Harbor Estuary Program Management Committee.

2000 ’03 | James Petrossi founded PTNL in 2019 (ptnl.com) with the mission to help people, teams, and

Zac Freedman started a new position as an assistant professor of soil microbiology in the Department of Soil Science at the University of Wisconsin – Madison.


’10 | Brittney Borruso, Esq. is founder of Borruso Law, P.C., and was recently honored as one of the Long Island Business News’ 2019 Top 50 Women in Business in Long Island; she will be celebrating her fifth year in business this April. ’13 | Tony Ponte founded Graziella Coffee Company in the spring of 2019. The company’s focus on transparent supply chains and sourcing high quality coffee pays homage to Ponte’s maternal grandparents, who grew up as farmers in southern Italy, while a business model rooted in community engagement and action honors his paternal grandparents and their own community involvement.

Carly Ragosta ’08 Business is Blooming


by Meredith Guinness MA ’16 arly (St. Pierre) Ragosta ‘08 was looking for a respite from the high-stakes world of mental healthcare when she took her first stroll through the New York City Flower Market in 2014. “I was looking for life balance,” said the psychology and Spanish double major. “I wanted to do something creative, to reassert beauty back into my life.” Lost in a lush world of intoxicating gardenia blooms and delicate coral ranunculus, the busy social worker found calm, comfort, …and a new career. It was there that the idea for BloomBar, Ragosta’s popular floral design business, took root. You might say Ragosta was destined to combine her love of helping people with her creative bent. Her parents encouraged their three daughters to dabble in the arts. Ragosta’s mom, who has enjoyed a career in

Ragosta enjoys being able to access the skills she gained through her undergraduate and graduate education in psychology and social work to become a reassuring and positive influence for her clients. public service, loves to paint; her older sister is a music therapist and her younger sister is a writer. After finishing graduate school at Columbia University, Ragosta funneled her interests in social justice and the dignity of the individual into a variety of positions, including at a crisis

response center. It was a grueling, intense environment where she dealt with complicated issues involving mental diagnoses and suicide. “It was literally life and death with a lot of cases,” said the Massachusetts native. Through it all, there was her husband Nicholas Ragosta ‘08, co-founder of the clothing brand Stòffa, whom she met during their first year at Fairfield. As they planned their 2014 wedding, she immersed herself in the floral aspects of their Rhode Island ceremony and reception — a precursor of things to come. At the flower market, wholesale vendors were generous with their time and happy to teach Ragosta the ins and outs of the trade, from ordering and buying blooms, to processing and storing her delicate wares. Her new network of “flower friends” cheered her self-trained attempts at arranging and design, and emboldened her to continue. “It was, ‘Can I please do flowers for your dinner party?’ ‘Can I do flowers for your birthday?’” Ragosta said, laughing. Soon Ragosta’s side business had outgrown the nights and weekends. About two years ago, she made BloomBar her full-time focus. “I’m now able to design my life,” she said. A typical day starts at the flower market, where she and her team gather vases and blooms, and outline the detailed logistics of special events from her rented studio space. Wedding day plans include everything from loading in, to pinning boutonnières, to 1 a.m. party breakdowns. No fan of the waste inherent in lavish gatherings, Ragosta insists that all floral decorations be repurposed for nonprofits, or composted after the events. Despite the pressure of dealing with such a fleeting medium, Ragosta said she adores her work. “They’re so ephemeral,” she said of flowers. “But their beauty is beyond words.” Though her floral business is booming,

Ragosta hasn’t turned her back on her first profession. When New York Governor Andrew Cuomo put out the call, she was quick to volunteer for the Covid-19 Emotional Support Hotline, signing up for on-call shifts to provide resources and support for those in need. Ragosta also co-facilitated digital webinars, livestreams, and Q&As of those impacted by the virus through E! network’s Pop of the Morning and the Love Stories TV website, a video platform for wedding planning and inspiration. She hopes that linking some of those segments to her BloomBar website (BloomBar.com) and her Instagram account (@bloombar.nyc) might help those who have had to postpone weddings and large-scale events. Even on a good day, stressful ups and downs are part and parcel of the wedding experience. Throwing very real health concerns into the mix has made things highly uncertain for Ragosta’s clients. Ragosta enjoys being able to access the skills she gained through her undergraduate and graduate education in psychology and social work to become a reassuring and positive influence for her clients. “These are emotional times,” she said. Sitting in her midtown Manhattan apartment in early April, she watched the daily succession of buds blooming on branches of flowering quince and reaped myriad insights from these harbingers of warmer times. “It’s going to be OK,” she said. “The seasons are changing. F “It’s just around the corner.” l

Fa i r f i e l d Un i v e r s i t y Mag a z i n e | su mmer 2020 35

Alumni NOTES Marriages

In Memoriam

Joyce Wright and Michael Griffin ’66, MA’68 — Dec. 7, 2019.

William L. Braun Jr. ’51 — Jan. 3, 2020

Kathleen Zwarick ‘85, MA’89 and Gary Shanley — Oct. 5, 2019.

Francis J. Waters ’51 — Feb. 15, 2020

Courtney Chin ’09 and Kevin Evitts — Sept. 29, 2019.

William F. Mecca Sr. ’53 — Feb. 10, 2020

Alana Brunoli ’10 and Ryan McHugh — June 1, 2019. Kiersten Bartlein ’12 and Artie Paladino ’12— Dec. 7, 2019. Maggie Lessing ’15 and Mark Caso — Dec. 17, 2019. Melanie (Reis) ’15 and Storm Miller ’15 — Aug. 17, 2019. Brittany Avila ’16 and Aaron Bates — Oct. 19, 2019. Mary (Gaughan) ’16 and Drew Mignosa ’16 — Nov. 16, 2019.

Births Nichole (Mancone) ’99 and Phillip Fisher — son, Henry Joseph Alexander, July 16, 2019.

Vincent F. Masi ’54 (BEI) — March 30, 2020 John ‘Jack’ C. Welch Sr. ’54 — March 14, 2020 Anthony ‘Swing’ A. Incerto Sr. ’55 — Feb.11, 2020 John D. Lindsay ’55 — Dec.12, 2019 James G. Ercolani ’56 — March 28, 2020 William E. Kennedy ’56, MA’60, CT ’62 (GSEAP) — Oct. 31, 2019 Salvatore A. Puglia ’56 – Feb. 22, 2020 Robert J. Stroh ’56 — Jan. 30, 2020

Paul E. Zimmitti ’56 — Nov. 4, 2019

Kimberly (DeCarlo) ’03 and Joseph Di Paola — daughter, Siena Rose, Jan. 30, 2020.

Thomas J. Skane Jr. ’59 — Oct. 3, 2019

Tess (Brown) ’07, MFA’11 and Damian Long, son — Henry Tyler, Nov. 20, 2019. Alyssa (Ruiz) ’11 and Joseph Carrertta ’10 — son, Joseph Daniel, Jan. 23, 2020. Elisse Ferraro ’12 and Thomas Smith ’11 — son, Cole John, Sept. 25, 2019.

Sara Abrams ’15 and Matthew Welter ’16 are future StagMates who were inspired to make wedding plans despite the Covid-19 pandemic. Welter popped the question during a coastal walk with their beloved pug, Jabba.

Gerald F. Topitzer ’56 — Feb. 24, 2020

Angela (Vultaggio) ’04 and John Dunham ’04 — daughter, Lily Marie, Nov. 13, 2015 and son, Jack Vincent, Nov. 14, 2019.

Meghan (Coiro) ’05 and Joseph O’Neill, daughter — Claire Coiro, Oct. 22, 2019.


William L. Cronin ’59 — Feb. 6, 2020

Donald E. Milot ’60 — Feb.17, 2020 Michael F. Touhey ’62 — Jan. 17, 2020 Edgar G. Boughton ’63 — March 24, 2020 James P. Crowley ’63 — Oct. 27, 2019 Richard P. Fagan ’63 — March 1, 2020 J. Graeme Ossorio ’63 — Nov. 1, 2019

36 summer 2 0 2 0 | Fair fie l d Un i ve rs it y M aga z in e

Kimberly (DeCarlo) ’03 and Joseph Di Paola are the proud parents of daughter, Siena Rose, born Jan. 30, 2020. Share your news! Simply log on to the FREE Alumni Online Community and post your Class Note. Not a member? Registration is easy at fairfield.edu/alumnicommunity. Sign up and log on today.

Michael Cummings ’84 Superintendent of Schools During a Pandemic


by John Torsiello e flexible, be compassionate, listen, because you have a lot to learn; never, ever, give up on anyone; and be honest in your thinking and decisions because at the end of the day, all you have is your integrity. Those are the mantras Michael Cummings ’84 has lived by during his career as an educator. “My career is deeply rewarding,” he reflected. “I have always worked with people who are strongly committed to bettering the lives of kids. It’s tremendously gratifying work.” Cummings is superintendent of Connecticut’s Fairfield Public Schools system, overseeing 10,000 students in 17 districts. His work was never more difficult than it became earlier this year as the Covid-19 crisis sent the nation, and its school systems, reeling — forced to close classroom doors and move to distance learning modalities. “The levels of stress that so many people are experiencing, around the health and wellbeing of themselves and their loved ones, the economic impacts, and the loss of so much of what is ‘normal’ makes this a tough time to teach and to learn,” he said. His priority was to put the health of students, their families, and staff first. “That takes priority over learning. Then, with distance learning, we asked for patience from everyone as we learned how to do this work well.” Cummings said he and his staff had three weeks to prepare — “essentially very little time” to “re-launch” an educational system that has not seen substantial change in 150 years. “Our teachers and administrators have risen to the challenge and exceeded expectations. They have put care for the students first.” Despite the uncertainty of the situation, Cummings looks to the future with hope. “One of our tasks when we get back together will be to celebrate what our community

has done and take stock of the changes we want to maintain and determine what can be improved. I believe we all must do this, not just for our professional lives, but also in our private lives. We have to find the benefits of these experiences and hold on to them. The basic question of every experience has to be, ‘How I am stronger as a result?’ ” While at Fairfield University, Cummings first “fell in love with teaching” because of the educators he came into contact with while a student. “These were people who loved their subjects and cared about the students in front of them — people like Dr. (George) Baehr in history and Dr. ( John) Orman in politics. They made the learning personal. They were always there for a conversation or help.” After graduation, he headed off to the University of Notre Dame to pursue a master’s degree in U.S. history, then pursued additional coursework in high school education at Southern Connecticut State University and the University of Connecticut. Cummings began his career as a social studies teacher at Foran High School in Milford, Conn. He then served as principal of Milford’s Meadowside School, before returning to take that post at Foran. After a brief stint as interim superintendent of Milford schools, he became director of elementary education for Fairfield Public Schools, overseeing instruction and learning at 11 elementary schools, prior to assuming his current role. One “drawback” of his present position is the lack of daily, direct interaction with students, he said. “Working out of a central office I am not interacting with students as much as when I am in the school building. I miss that a great deal. But, I continue to guide every decision I make based on what is best for students. I think, ‘What would I want for my own kids?’ ” Cummings shared fond memories of being a student at the University, “I had a

“We have to find the benefits of these experiences and hold on to them. The basic question of every experience has to be, ‘How I am stronger as a result?’” small group of close friends on campus. We were very close. I worked at the deli for three years when it was in Gonzaga, and we had a great time. I was in the first group to live in the townhouses and that was a lot of fun as well.” The core curriculum of studies at Fairfield was very important to Cummings’ development as a thinker and writer. He said, “I cannot say I saw it as an opportunity at 18 years old, but having had philosophy and religious studies courses engaged me in a level of dialogue I would not have gotten from following a strict path in my majors.” A resident of Milford, Cummings and his wife, Meghan, have six children who take up most of his free time. “It is a very full life. My hobbies basically are my family time, taking the children to games, and working in the yard with them. I am an older dad, so I want to be sure I am part of their lives.” Just as he has been a part of so many F families’ lives during his career. l

Fa i r f i e l d Un i v e r s i t y Mag a z i n e | su mmer 2020 37

Alumni NOTES Andrew J. Rusnak ’63 — March 31, 2020


Adolph J. Bendler ’64 — Feb. 1, 2020 James D. Deleppo ’64 — Feb. 19, 2020 John ‘Francis’ Honold Jr. ’64 — Jan.15, 2020 Ronald J. Murphy ’65 — Oct. 30, 2019 Edward P. Spruck Jr. ’65 — March 25, 2020 William F. Bokus ’67 — March 3, 2020 David S. Cook ’67 — March 31, 2020 Jenard M. Basil ’68 (BEI) — Feb. 3, 2020 Thomas L. Gleason ’69 — Feb. 28, 2020 Gerard P. Hourihan ’72 — Dec.1, 2019 Christopher M. McCaffrey ’73 — Oct. 30, 2018 Mark C. Vuono ’73 — March 28, 2020 Harry J. Brix III ’75 — April 10, 2019 Edward T. Hedrick ’76 (BEI) — Jan. 30, 2020 Donald A. Oppenheim ’77 (BEI) — Nov. 21, 2019 Rosemary (MacFarlane) Healy ’81 — Dec. 29, 2019 Jennifer (Gorham) Ober ’82 — March 23, 2020 Andrew J. Shea ’86 — March 30, 2020 Peter Tsimbidaros ’91 — Jan. 2, 2020 Mary ‘Rita’ (Charlton) O’Shea ’98 — March 12, 2020 Thomas Pyne ’01 — May 13, 2019

StagMates Melanie (Reis) ’15 and Storm Miller ’15 tied the knot on Aug. 17, 2019, with many fellow Stags in attendance. Share your news! Simply log on to the FREE Alumni Online Community and post your Class Note. Not a member? Registration is easy — www.fairfield.edu/alumnicommunity. Sign up and log on today.


Go to fairfield.edu/shop

Whitney D. Maus ’08 — Feb. 24, 2020 38 summer 2 0 2 0 | Fair fie l d Un i ve rs it y M aga z in e


REUNION WEEKEND Classes of 1976, 1981, 1986, 1991, 1996, 2001, 2006, 2011, and 2016 Save the Date: June 11-13, 2021! G R A D U AT E S C H O O L S MA’93 | Jennifer Smith Turner, CT’02 has released her third book and first novel, Child Bride, published April 2020.

Constance (Terry) Wilds MA’72 (GSEAP) — March 22, 2020

MFA’11 | Alena Dillon has just published her debut novel, Mercy House, with HarperCollins. Amy Schumer calls it “the book we’ve all been waiting for” and Publishers Weekly calls it a “stirring and fiery debut.” It was also voted by librarians as a Top 10 Book of February.

Sister Christine M. Angione MA’75, CT’76 (GSEAP) — Jan. 14, 2020

Elinor (Heiner) Carr MA’76 (GSEAP) — March 3, 2020

William A. Nardozzi MA’75 (GSEAP) — March 22, 2020 Peter Nikolis MA’75 (GSEAP) — Feb. 13, 2020

In Memoriam

Kathleen M. (Conlon) Dempsey MA’76 (GSEAP) — Feb. 29, 2020

Emery J. Kelemen MA’55, CT’65 (GSEAP) — April 2, 2020

Daniel C. Bruno MA’78 (GSEAP) — Feb. 13, 2020

Claire A. May MA’55, CT’68 (GSEAP) — April 3, 2020

Sheryl D. (Rubin) Lerner MA’78 (GSEAP) — March 9, 2020

Rose (Arcudi) DiMartino MA’57 (GSEAP) — Dec. 24, 2019

Rev. Thomas R. Mitchell MA’84 (GSEAP) — Jan. 16, 2020

Visit fairfield.edu/reunion for more information.

50TH REUNION WEEKEND Class of 1971, save the date for the reunion of a lifetime! May 21-23, 2021 Visit fairfield.edu/50threunion for more information. S H A R E YO U R N E W S

Joseph M. DeDomenico MA’60, CT’61 (GSEAP) — Dec. 25, 2019 William E. Kennedy ’56, MA’60, CT’62 (GSEAP) — Oct. 31, 2019 Rev. Christopher Dietrich MA’64 (GSEAP) — April 1, 2020 Charleen (Steck) Swanson MA’66 (GSEAP) — March 20, 2020 Kathleen (Byrnes) Troy MA’68 (GSEAP) — March 2, 2020 Kenneth W. Mills MA’69 (GSEAP) — April 3, 2020 Pasquale Leonetti MA’70 (GSEAP) — March 4, 2020 Hugh P. Broughel MA’72 (GSEAP) — Jan. 5, 2020

Angela (Vultaggio) ’04 and John Dunham ’04 are the proud parents of future Stags Lily Marie (Nov. 13, 2015) and Jack Vincent (Nov. 14, 2019). Share your news! Simply log on to the FREE Alumni Online Community and post your Class Note. Not a member? Registration is easy at fairfield.edu/alumnicommunity. Sign up and log on today.

Fa i r f i e l d Un i v e r s i t y Mag a z i n e | s ummer 2020 39

Donor PROFILE Maureen (Errity) Bujno ’90


he bond to a special place sometimes begins before one even has a personal connection to it. For Maureen (Errity) Bujno ’90, her connection to Fairfield University formed before she was a Stag herself, watching two older siblings make their way to Fairfield prior to her. Once she followed, Fairfield quickly became her home away from home — and the source of countless fond memories. “There are so many,” she said, “from the great times in Campion Hall my freshman and sophomore years, to all the wonderful memories living at the beach. Looking back now, after 30 years, what is most special is the time spent with my roommates and other close friends at Fairfield that developed into lifelong friendships.” Bujno earned a BS in accounting from Fairfield’s Charles F. Dolan School of Business, which launched her into her first job post-Fairfield with Deloitte’s audit practice in Stamford, Conn. She has gone on to spend the next 29 years at Deloitte, currently serving as a managing director and governance leader in Deloitte’s Audit & Assurance practice, and a leader on Deloitte’s Center for Board Effectiveness. She is a subject matter resource to public and private company directors and committees on several governance, strategy, and

risk-related topics. In 2016, 2017, and 2018, Bujno was recognized by NACD Directorship Magazine as one of the top 100 influential professionals in corporate governance and in the boardroom. With tremendous corporate success to her name, Bujno still maintains a connection to the place where it all began — Fairfield. From serving as a member of the 1990 Class Reunion Committee, the Trustee Advisory Council, the Alumni Board (eventually being named Alumni Board president), a 2020 Strategy Task Force Subcommittee, and most recently, as co-chair of the Fairfield Awards Dinner, Bujno has dedicated herself to celebrating the University she knew and loved, while also helping to ensure that Fairfield continues to thrive. “I am proud of the tremendous momentum the University has today,” she said. “It has been a pleasure to work alongside many of the University leaders, and

40 summe r 2020 | Fairfie l d Un i ve rs it y M aga z in e

“I’m thankful for our Jesuit tradition, so grateful for the education I received, and the many lasting relationships I made and continue to make as I remain involved.” being involved has allowed me to a have a voice in the strategic direction of our University.” Beyond giving her time and expertise to Fairfield, Bujno also supports current Stags. “My husband Steve and I have supported the Dolan School of Business, where I majored and which prepared me for my career in the business world,” said Bujno. “I am active in recruiting efforts at Fairfield and have been inspired and impressed by the business school’s curriculum and the students I’ve met in the process.” As an undergraduate athlete who played both soccer and tennis at Fairfield, she supports athletics as well, in an effort to both maintain the strong athlete-alumni connection and to help Fairfield’s competitive athletics programs attain national recognition. Supporting Fairfield has also become a family affair for Bujno and her siblings (Michael Errity ’86 and Deirdre (Errity) Cerulli

’88); together, they honored their mother Dolores Errity, a nurse, with a plaque in the Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies. Honoring Bujno’s Fairfield roots with continued support is about ensuring that generations of Stags to come will enjoy a bolder and bigger Fairfield experience. “I’m thankful for our Jesuit tradition, so grateful for the education I received, and the many lasting relationships I made and continue to make as I remain involved,” she said. “I hope, in my small way, to help keep Fairfield a vibrant University in the Jesuit tradition and to give current and future students even greater and broader opportunities than what I experienced. “Being a Fairfield alumna is part of my identity. I hope to do everything I can to assist in sharing the strong values of our institution.”


Why Giving Matters

During these unprecedented times, one thing has remained constant: the unwavering commitment of the Fairfield community to be for others. With a gift to the Fairfield Fund, you provide the ability for our institution to adapt quickly to the changing needs of our students and faculty, and serve the greater community. Your support today ensures that we are able to invest in scholarships, financial aid, technology, and other initiatives that will help students experiencing an incredibly challenging situation.

Your gift today is an investment in our Jesuit institution’s mission to mold young men and women to be creative problem solvers who better our world. Thank you. Make your gift of any size at fairfield.edu/give.

Fa i r f i e l d Un i v e r s i t y Mag a z i n e | s u mmer 2020 iii

Fairfieldmagazine UNIVERSITY


1073 North Benson Road Fairfield, Connecticut 06824-5195

Nonprofit Organization U.S. Postage Paid Burlington, VT 05401 Permit No. 229

Address Service Requested


CONNECT WITH US! If you’re a Stag grad, student, or member of the faculty and staff serving on the frontlines of the Covid-19 pandemic, we want to hear from you. Email us at magazine@fairfield.edu or share your photos on social media with the hashtag #StagsOnTheFrontlines! Pictured clockwise from top left: Police Officer Robert Bossone ’15 and his dog; James D. Fitzpatrick ’70, MA ’72, P’08 assisting with food bank deliveries; alumnae nurses at NYU Langone: (l-r) Jessica Holmberg ’05, Kristen La Rosa ’13, and Catherine DiFrisco ’14; and Evan Fair ’22 wearing a 3D-printed PPE face shield created by students for essential workers.

iv sum mer 2 0 2 0 | Fairf ie l d Un i ve rs it y M aga z in e

Profile for Fairfield University

Fairfield University Magazine - Summer 2020  

This edition includes stories on alumni on the front lines of the fight against Covid-19; distance learning creativity during quarantine; th...

Fairfield University Magazine - Summer 2020  

This edition includes stories on alumni on the front lines of the fight against Covid-19; distance learning creativity during quarantine; th...

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded