Fairfield University Magazine - Spring 2021

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Life Changing

A Titanic Dream

The Love Bugs

Director of Student Diversity and Multicultural Affairs Pejay Lucky is building community.

Bretton Hunchak ’09 oversees stewardship of the world’s most famous shipwreck.

Maria Clinton ’13 co-directed a documentary film that explores the love of nature and the nature of love.

Fairfieldmagazine UNIVERSITY


A Real Keeper Matt Turner ’17 is one of the best goaltenders in Major League Soccer.

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Spring ahead Photo by Fairfield Media Center

A statue of St. Robert Bellarmine watches over campus tour groups visiting the DiMenna-Nyselius Library on a warm spring day in 2019. On the cover: New England Revolution Goalie Matt Turner ’17. Photo courtesy of New England Revolution

Fairfield University Magazine Fairfield University Spring 2021 | Volume 43 | Number 4 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 4, 6, 41 Cassidy Kristiansen: pages 2, 6, 15-16, 31 Courtesy of Maria Clinton: pages 3, 26-29 Courtesy of New England Revolution: page 12 Courtesy of RMS Titanic Inc. & Bretton Hunchak: pages 2, 23-25 Getty images: pages 22, 24 Meckler Photo, Courtesy of Frank Figliuzzi: page 35 Stockton photo: pages 9, 11, 13 University & Contributed photos: 7, 8-10, 11, 19-20, 21, 30, 32-40

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 spr i n g 2021 | Fairfi e l d Un i ve rs it y M aga z in e

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“So many times, until we’re able to acknowledge our biases and our ignorance, we’re not able to embrace the different.”



by Nicole Funaro ’17

by Alan Bisbort

Director of Student Diversity and Multicultural Affairs Pejay Lucky is building community.

Bretton Hunchak ’09 oversees stewardship of the world’s most famous shipwreck.

Life Changing

Pejay Lucky’s “heart for people” and desire to serve others has enabled him to embrace the University’s core Jesuit values as he leads the Office of Student Diversity and Multicultural Affairs with character, integrity, and loyalty. Pictured above: Pejay Lucky joined the Fairfield community in July of 2014.

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— Pejay Lucky, Director of Student Diversity and Multicultural Affairs

A Titanic Dream

RMS Titanic, Inc. is sole salvor of the British passenger liner’s wreckage, and the company’s President Bretton Hunchak ’09 is on an educational mission to share the ship’s artifacts, tell its stories, and eternalize the Titanic for generations to come. Pictured above: The wreckage of the Titanic lies some 13,000 feet below the

Atlantic Ocean, about 400 nautical miles off the SSE coast of Newfoundland.

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let ter from the presiden t universit y news athletics

A Real Keeper

by John Torsiello

Fairfield’s Matt Turner ’17 is one of the best goaltenders in Major League Soccer, after a standout 2020 season with the New England Revolution.



Stags for Hire

by Sara Colabella ’08, MA’11


The Love Bugs by Tess (Brown) Long ’07, MFA’11

Maria Clinton ’13 co-directed the film The Love Bugs — a documentary that explores the love of nature and the nature of love. Filmmaker and photographer Maria Clinton ’17 set out to create a scientific documentary about the uniquely focused lifework of entomologists Charlie and Lois O’Brien, and uncovered a story even bigger than their private collection of 1.25 million mounted insect specimens.

Fairfield’s Alumni Job Shadow Program gives students a taste of the workplace, and leads to job offers after graduation.

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gr an ts & gif ts alumni notes

Profiles: 33 Jody (Kertyzak) Sommers ’97 CFO in an Industry Devastated by the Pandemic 35 Frank Figliuzzi ’84 A Vocation in the FBI

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campus even ts donor profile

Pictured above: Entomologist Lois O’Brien has devoted six decades of her life to fieldwork, research, and the collection of insects.

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Letter from the President

“ How fortunate we are — as we transition from a period of crisis toward a new and undiscovered landscape — to be called to renew our mission as a University.”

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, On May 20, 1521, Ignatius of Loyola was wounded at the battle of Pamplona, and was transported home for a recuperation. It was during this period — ­ alone and in pain ­— that he experienced the conversion that inspired him for the rest of his life. Ignatius would write of this period that “all the others of the house knew from the change outwardly that there had been a great change in his soul inwardly.” He had become a different kind of man, a man on fire with purpose: “What new life is this, that is now beginning?” he asked himself in wonder. The Society of Jesus and its works will be remembering this blessed moment in the life of Ignatius by celebrating this coming year as the Ignatian year, beginning on the anniversary of his wounding and concluding on July 31, 2022. Writing to us all, the Superior General of the Society, Arturo Sosa, S.J., stressed this as an opportunity to return to the source of our strength, and in particular to renew our dedication to youth, writing: “To young people I say: ‘We want to learn to accompany you. We want to learn from you. Each one of you is unique, born with a special purpose. Ignatius struggled to discover the meaning of his life. In him you can find inspiration as you struggle to make your life meaningful and as you ask how you can contribute to building a better world.’” How fortunate we are — as we transition from a period of crisis toward a new and undiscovered landscape — ­ to be called to renew our mission as a University: to be a transformational institution, liberating our students so that they can emerge from our University as young men and women of purpose, and go forth to build a better world. This has always been our mission, but certainly at this moment it is a great gift to be asked to focus on true, liberating formation for our students and the advancement of our community. At the time of writing, we have managed to navigate the challenges the pandemic has presented thus far, creating a hybrid learning environment –

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working with virtual technologies and in-class experiences ­— to maintain our academic programs and our student life experiences. Now we look forward to the opportunities ahead, grateful for the new growth that we are witnessing. Our reputation for excellence continues to grow. In fact we are told by college counselors we are a “hot” school right now, a destination for wellrounded, service-minded students of curiosity and character. Once again, we have enjoyed the highest application pool in our history with the highest academic ratings, as close to 13,000 young people seek a place from 45 states and 50 countries. Owing to the pandemic, our plans to build a new Convocation Center were delayed but by no means deterred. This month, we will begin work on the arena, projected now to open in the fall of 2022. Home for our basketball programs and other sports, this versatile space will allow us to host events on a scale appropriate for a University of our stature. In regard to welcoming notable athletic events, I would be remiss if I did not mention that this year and next, Fairfield University will host the Division I, II and III NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championships on Memorial Day Weekend at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn. Meanwhile, we continue to innovate on the academic front, meeting the needs of our world as it is today, introducing new programs such as a BS in behavioral neuroscience, a BA in sports media, and MS degrees in marketing analytics and strategy, and in healthcare administration, with many more new programs on the way. So as we look beyond this spring to the coming academic year, we have much to be grateful for. In particular we are heartened by the knowledge that as we evolve as a University, we are doing so as companions in the work of the Society throughout the world, all called at this time — ­ in this special year — ­ to embrace our role within the larger pattern of transformative love and vitality which is at the heart of Jesuit education, and which so inspired St. Ignatius 500 years ago. With very best wishes and utmost gratitude,

Mark R. Nemec, PhD President


Cybersecurity Lab Prepares Next Generation of Information Security Pros Fairfield’s flexible 30-credit Master of Science in Cybersecurity (MSCYB) program offers students a hands-on learning experience using real-world applications in its state-of-the-art cybersecurity lab — an integral teaching and research facility created in partnership with Pulse Secure, the leading provider of Zero Trust Secure Access solutions. The lab is designed to enhance the complexity of MSCYB coursework, which challenges students to collaboratively solve sophisticated problems, and equips them with the critical thinking and technological skills needed to monitor, mitigate, and prevent online security threats. Fairfield University has long used award-winning Pulse Secure products for a variety of secure access solutions. In the cybersecurity lab, the company’s virtual private network (VPN) and network access control (NAC) support the cybersecurity curriculum and ensure a protected and observable class environment for MSCYB candidates as well as students in the School of Engineering’s cybersecurity certificate program. With a predicted growth of 31 percent through 2029, information security jobs are among the fastest-growing careers in the nation, according to The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Information F Security Analyst’s Outlook. l

At the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts, spring 2021 event highlights include: an 8-week piano concert series featuring Fairfield Professor Emeritus Orin Grossman, PhD; Open VISIONS Forum lectures by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Nadia Murad and #1 best-selling New York Times memoirist Tara Westover (Educated); and a dynamic performance by Sphinx Virtuosi, a chamber orchestra comprised of 18 Black and Latinx classical musicians. “Though we can’t wait until the day when we can welcome you back through the doors of the Quick,” the Quick’s Executive Director Peter Van

Heerden said, “we invite you to tune in, make dinner or enjoy a learning lunch, listen while you work, and make the Quick’s online programming part of your day-to-day way of staying connected, inspired, and part of our community of like-minded arts lovers.” On March 25, the Global Theatre performance series will present Six Feet, a new play written and directed by Melanie Hoopes. Dr. Grossman’s Friday afternoon concerts continue through March 26. For the complete calendar of upcoming virtual performances and lectures — many free of charge — visit F quickcenter.com. l

Acclaimed pianist Orin Grossman, PhD, professor emeritus of visual and performing arts and former dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, has launched a new 8-week concert series at the Quick.

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Universit y NEWS STAGS’ GRADUATION SUCCESS RATE AMONG NATION’S BEST IN ANNUAL NCAA REPORT Fairfield University studentathletes achieved one of the highest graduation rates in the nation as the NCAA announced its annual Graduation Success Rates (GSR). The Stags achieved a 96 percent GSR for a four-year cohort of student-athletes entering between 2010–13. Fairfield was one of 42 Division I schools to have a 96 percent GSR or higher among this cohort and owned the third highest GSR in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. Twelve sports at Fairfield University achieved a 100 percent graduation rate based on the current information, namely: women’s cross country, field hockey, men’s golf, women’s golf, women’s lacrosse, women’s rowing, women’s soccer, men’s swimming and diving, softball, men’s tennis, women’s tennis, and volleyball. The NCAA began compiling data from entering first-years in 1995 and developed the GSR in order to more accurately assess the academic success of student-athletes. Including transfer students and other student-athletes who leave their institutions in good academic standing, the GSR measures graduation over six years from initial college F enrollment. l

Egan School Named Top 5 in New England The Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies has been named among the top five in Nursing Schools Almanac’s 2020 ranking of the 60 Best Nursing Schools in New England. Ranked at No. 5 by the online nursing student resource, Fairfield is joined at the top of the list by Yale University (No. 1), Boston College (No. 2), University of Connecticut (No. 3), and University of Massachusetts Medical School (No. 4). In a review of more than 3,000 nursing schools nationwide, the Egan School also placed No. 46 on Nursing Schools Almanac’s 2020 list of the 100 Best Nursing Schools in the United States. Additionally, Fairfield Egan

The Egan School’s Simulation Center offers the latest healthcare equipment to help students acquire and perfect their professional skills.. earned a No. 20 spot on the independent ranking organization’s list of 100 Best Private Nursing Schools in the United States. Each nursing school was evaluated by Nursing Schools Almanac on three dimensions: the institution’s academic prestige

and perceived value; the breadth and depth of nursing programs offered; and student success, particularly on the NCLEX licensure examination. These rankings were then combined into an overall score, producing the F comprehensive regional ranking. l

Virtual Fairfield Awards: A Celebration of Commitment and Support Available by broadcast to all, the Fairfield community responded boldly with more than 500 supporters joining the Virtual Fairfield Awards livestream event on Dec. 21; hundreds more tuned in later to watch the recording. Since the inception of the Fairfield Awards Dinner in 1988, donors have contributed more than $20 million to a variety of scholarships, with the majority of gifts supporting the University’s largest endowed fund, the Alumni Multicultural Scholarship. The Virtual Fairfield Awards paid tribute to five exceptional leaders for their commitment to Fairfield University: Paul

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Lakeland, PhD, Claire and Woody Knopf, P’16, Bart Franey ’67, and Clint Lewis ’88. The celebration also featured remarks from University President Mark R. Nemec, PhD, event co-chairs Patti Glassford ’85 and Adrienne Johnson ’91, and a speech from recent alumnus and past scholarship recipient, Xavier Cole ’20. Whether or not you were able to “attend” the livestream event, the University invites all to view the recording and the accompanying journal by visiting the Virtual Fairfield Awards event page at F fairfield.edu/awardsdinner. l

“A Jesuit education allows one to embark on one’s unique path of self-discovery, with an eye toward service and making the world a better place.” Marc R. Nemec, PhD, University President

“STAGS RUN FOR STAGS” VIRTUAL RACE INSPIRES TOGETHERNESS ACROSS THE GLOBE Hosted and coordinated by Fairfield University’s Student Alumni Association (SAA), the inaugural “Stags Run for Stags” was a great success thanks to the 296 virtual race participants — runners, walkers, and bikers — from 16 states (plus Washington,

D.C.) and three countries: U.S., U.K., and the Netherlands. During race weekend, November 20 to 22, these alumni, parents, and friends of Fairfield came together to raise more than $3,000 in support of current and future F Stags’ Fairfield experiences. l


Song of Pond (2011) by renowned artist Huang Yue (b. 1960) was recently donated to the Fairfield University Art Museum (FUAM) by Steven and Kimberly Rockefeller ’85. The vibrant work, painted by renowned artist Huang Yue — a central figure in the development of Chinese oil painting — depicts three kingfishers hovering in the sky over a representation of the death of Buddha. The Rockefellers, both 1985 alumni and enthusiastic supporters of FUAM, said they were honored to gift the Yue painting to the museum. “In my many visits to Fairfield I have been proud to see the museum’s art collection increasing and look forward to cooperating with alumni and others in making the museum an ever-more important cultural resource,” said Steven Rockefeller.

Late Professor’s Legacy Brings Life to Classical Studies Program Fairfield University students at a food truck on campus.

Fairfield Contributes More Than $1 Billion Annually to Local Economy According to a recent study, Fairfield University created 7,664 jobs in Connecticut in 2019 and roughly 13,000 Fairfield alumni who call Connecticut home contribute significantly to spending on the local level and across the state. The total annual economic impact of Fairfield University is more than $1 billion, according to the Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges (CCIC) 2021 Economic Impact Study. Fairfield University Vice President of Marketing and

Communication Jennifer Anderson ’97, MBA’02 noted, “As a major contributor to our hometown and home state’s economy, Fairfield continues to evolve and innovate. Through the University’s modern approach to education, its programming reflects the changing landscape and needs of employers statewide, and the large number of our alumni who choose stay in Connecticut after graduation also contribute significant talent across F the region.” l

For more than 50 years, Professor Vincent J. Rosivach, PhD dedicated his life to teaching the classics at Fairfield University, while investing in the success of his students and respected colleagues. In honor of the late professor’s enduring legacy and innumerable contributions to the University’s humanities programs, the College of Arts and Sciences is excited to announce that a newly endowed fund is being founded in his memory. Established by the Rosivach family, the Vincent J. Rosivach Professorship will honor the late professor’s legacy by ensuring that a classics program continues at Fairfield for years to come.

A photo of Classics Professor Vincent J. Rosivach, PhD from the 1966 Fairfield University yearbook.

Dr. Rosivach joined the Fairfield community in 1965, earned tenure in 1970, and was promoted to professor of classics in 1976. For his many years of service, he was awarded the Fairfield University Faculty Welfare Committee Lifetime Service Award. He passed away F on April 13, 2018. l

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Universit y NEWS Dolan Dean Host of Executive Forum Series

NURSING STUDENTS AND FACULTY JOIN COVID VACCINATION EFFORTS Nursing students from Fairfield University’s Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing & Health Studies were recruited by Nuvance Health’s Norwalk Hospital to help with a vaccine clinic and administer some of the first coronavirus vaccinations in Connecticut. With oversight by Fairfield Egan faculty members, 35 senior students have been vaccinating eligible candidates with doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, and helping to manage the clinic at Norwalk Hospital since December. Participating students and faculty members were also offered the opportunity to receive the vaccine. Guidance pertaining to the administration of the vaccine was issued by the Connecticut Department of Public Health, and students took an injection refresher course and were trained on pre-screening and F post-screening protocols. l

Last semester Dean Zhan Li, DBA, held three virtual webinars focused on what graduating students can expect to encounter in today’s changing workplace. In September, Tim Gately ’93, managing director and head of Europe, Middle East, and Africa Cash Equities for Citigroup, discussed the year’s upheaval in the financial industry. Music industry executive Larry Mattera P’23, former general manager and executive

vice president of Warner Brothers Records, spoke in October. “The Dynamics of Music Industries: Business Models and Innovation,” was co-moderated by Nazuk Sharma, PhD, assistant professor of marketing. The final webinar in the series, “Defining Talent for Tomorrow – A Leading Perspective,” took place in November and featured John Kinney ’93, executive vice president and chief claims officer F for The Hartford. l

Dean Zhan Li, DBA

Jesuit Appointments Announced In an effort to strengthen all aspects of spiritual life at Fairfield, President Mark R. Nemec, PhD recently announced three new Jesuit appointments, effective July 21, 2021. The Rev. Gerry Blaszczak, S.J., currently vice president for Mission and Ministry, will assume the role of assistant to the President and alumni chaplain, a post most recently held by the Rev. Charles Allen, S.J. “Fr. Gerry is held in the warmest regard throughout our community,” said President Nemec. “He has tirelessly reached out to our alumni, faculty, and staff in their hours of need and celebration over many years… his new role will allow him to continue and expand this work.” The Rev. Paul Rourke, S.J., currently director of Campus Ministry, will replace Fr. Gerry as vice president for Mission

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Blaszczak, S.J.

Rourke, S.J.

and Ministry. In this capacity he will oversee Campus Ministry, the Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality, and other dimensions of spiritual life on campus, and will serve as a member of Fairfield’s senior leadership team. A 2004 alumnus of Fairfield, the Rev. Keith A. Maczkiewicz, S.J., will join the University to assume the role of director of Campus Ministry and University chaplain. President Nemec extended a warm “welcome home” to Fr. Keith, who currently

Maczkiewicz, S.J.

serves as assistant chaplain at the College of the Holy Cross. “We are delighted that a graduate of Fairfield will be returning to assume this vital role within our community, and grateful to the Society of Jesus for its unflagging support of our collaborative mission as the modern, Jesuit F Catholic University.” l



On December 1, 2020, supporters of Fairfield Athletics set a #GivingTuesday record, donating more than $83,500 to the Athletics Director’s Fund in support of the University’s close to 500 student-athletes. These funds will be directly invested to provide student-athletes with critical support to prepare them for success in their studies and their sport. #GivingTuesday is a philanthropic initiative that encourages individuals to use their time, talent, and treasure to better communities around the world.

Charles F. Dolan School of Business has been named to The Princeton Review’s annual list of the Best Business Schools for 2021 both nationally and in the Northeast region. Specifically, the Dolan School MBA was one of 244 on-campus programs recommended in the annual Best Business Schools review. The Dolan School earned this distinction for its admissions selectivity, which according to Princeton Review, “considers the GMAT score and undergraduate GPA of the first-year class, the percentage of applicants who were accepted, and the percentage of applicants who

are accepted and ultimately enroll,” as well as four student survey factors: academic experience, professor quality, professor accessibility, and confidence in successful career outcomes. The Princeton Review’s Best 386 Colleges for 2021 rankings also granted Fairfield University several national and regional distinctions, including placement on the lists of Best Northeastern Colleges, Best Value Colleges, and Green Colleges. Fairfield received high praise from student survey responses for professor quality, as well as for professor accessibility F outside the classroom. l

IN MEMORIAM Fairfield University mourned the passing of Mrs. Dorothy Bannow Larson H’96 on September 25, 2020. A Bridgeport, Conn. native, Bannow Larson was a long-time friend and benefactor of individuals and organizations throughout her community — including Fairfield University, where her kindness and generosity touched generations of students, faculty, and administrators on campus. “She was an outstanding woman,” said George Diffley, retired vice president of advancement and current special assistant to the president. “Through her philanthropy, Dorothy was engaged with her heart, her soul, and her time.” Bannow Larson wholeheartedly

shared her time and talents on behalf of Fairfield University, serving terms on both the Board of Trustees and the President’s Advisory Council. She was also a lifelong President’s Circle member. A 1949 graduate of Tufts University, Bannow Larson was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree at Fairfield’s 1996 Commencement. Fairfield’s Rudolf Bannow Science Center was named posthumously after her father at the request of Bannow Larson and her mother. Rudolf Bannow, a Swedish industrialist who founded the Bridgeport Machine Company, had donated generously to the construction of the Science Center F which opened in 1971. l


Two Fairfield University alumni are headed to new locales to continue their professional playing careers. Soccer standout Nikki Stanton ’13 has signed a contract with the Chicago Red Stars of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), and basketball big shot Jonathan Kasibabu ’19 (pictured above) has been drafted by the Austin Spurs of the NBA G League. For Stanton, the new deal in Chicago marks a return to the American pro soccer circuit after a season with Norwegian club Klepp IL. The former three-time All-MAAC First Team honoree previously played four seasons with Sky Blue FC of the NWSL from 2014–18 and competed for the Red Stars in both 2018 and 2019. The 2019 MAAC Defensive Player of the Year as a senior with the Stags, Kasibabu was selected by the Austin Spurs in the first round of the NBA G League Draft earlier this week. He spent his first professional basketball season in the league as a member of the Long Island Nets, averaging 7.6 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. Fa i r f i e l d Un i v e r s i t y Mag a z i n e | sp rin g 2021 9

Universit y NEWS 50th Anniversary of Women Celebrates Trailblazers in Service Throughout the 2020-21 academic year, the University has been celebrating coeducation and commemorating all the women who have made their mark on the Fairfield community over the past 50 years. On November 9, Provost Christine Siegel, PhD, moderated “Trailblazers Blazing a Path in Service,” and was accompanied in conversation by Ashley Byun, PhD, associate professor of biology; Tanika Eaves ’96, PhD, assistant professor of social work; and Patricia E. Glassford ’85, University Trustee and GE vice president and CFO (retired). As a core value at the foundation of Fairfield University’s Jesuit mission, each panelist discussed their unique relationship with

service for others, especially in finding and creating ways in which to serve their immediate and greater communities.Also part of Fairfield’s 50th anniversary celebration is this year’s launch of the Women’s Leadership Council, open to Fairfield’s far-reaching network of women — including alumnae, parents, and friends. With a mission to strengthen and support this network, the Council aims to sponsor opportunities to engage more women in University activities, promote philanthropic endeavors that support campus priorities, and encourage women students to succeed at Fairfield and beyond. For more information, visit F fairfield.edu/wlc. l

DATA EXPERT ROMMIE SAMAI MS’12 LEADS BUSINESS ANALYTICS ROUNDTABLE Last semester, the Charles F. Dolan School of Business welcomed Fairfield graduate and Advisory Board member Rommie Samai MS’12 for a virtual roundtable. Samai kicked off the event by explaining that he had been working in finance for several years and then had an epiphany in 2000. “I saw a shift toward data and how it would be used in decision making, so I decided to reshape my career,” he said. He created his own concentration in analytics as he pursued an MBA at the University of Texas, and later earned a

master’s degree in mathematics from Fairfield University. A position in the business intelligence sector at Prudential Insurance gave Samai insight into the workings of a large corporation and allowed him to put his data skills to good use. After a decade at Prudential, Samai made the switch to work at IDOC, a small company that supports more than 3,000 independent optometrists around the country. The qualities most important for a data analyst, noted Samai, are curiosity, a comfort with data, math skills, and beF ing a logical, critical thinker. l

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Jonathan Delgado ’19, research coordinator for the Center for Social Impact, was among those who worked with H4LP on a report to map food insecurity in Norwalk, Conn.

Center for Social Impact Releases Norwalk Food Report The United States Department of Agriculture estimates that 14.3 million U.S. households have a lack of consistent access to sufficient food. With food insecurity prevalent across the country, Fairfield University’s Center for Social Impact sought to learn more about the issue in relation to those in Fairfield County, specifically by examining population distributions and other important demographic variables as they relate to food insecurity rates in Norwalk, Conn. Alongside the Norwalk Health Department’s Healthy for Life Project (H4LP), a coalition of more than 30 agencies that aims to help all residents access healthy foods to meet their nutritional needs, the Center’s researchers studied the strengths and gaps in Norwalk’s food system by analyzing and illustrating patterns between food insecurity rates, available services, key demographics, and social determinants of health.

With food insecurity prevalent across the country, Fairfield University’s Center for Social Impact sought to learn more about the issue in relation to those in Fairfield County. Their analyses revealed important patterns, particularly within higher population density neighborhoods. These areas showed higher rates of food insecurity among children, immigrants, single-parent households, and individuals with lower levels of educational attainment. To read the study in its entirety, visit F norwalkct.org. l

Fairfield Dolan Welcomes 2020 Conlisk Scholar Each year, Fairfield University offers the Rev. John M. Conlisk Irish Scholarship to one dedicated student from Ireland, to pursue graduate studies abroad in the U.S. This year’s Conlisk Scholar recipient, Matthew O’Neill — a business mind with a creative eye for fashion, film, and TV — comes to Fairfield with creative career aspirations for his MBA with a concentration in business analytics. O’Neill is a graduate of the University of Limerick, where he majored in both economics and finance, and minored in French. The Conlisk Scholarship began with a group of IrishAmericans led by Kevin Conlisk ’66. Conlisk, a former member


Fairfield women’s basketball standout Lou Lopez-Senechal ’22 was selected as the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Preseason Player of the Year. The accolade highlighted a roster of three Stags to earn preseason All-MAAC recognition. Also a unanimous pick to the preseason All-MAAC First Team, Lopez-Senechal earned All-MAAC First Team honors last season, ranking fifth in the MAAC with a team-high 15.5 points per game. Earlier in her career, the forward from Grenoble, France was the 2018-19 MAAC Rookie of the Year. Matthew O’Neill

of the Fairfield University Board of Trustees, wanted to enhance the job opportunities of young people from Ireland by inviting them to continue their education and grow their business network F in the United States. l

POLITICAL THEORIST CRISTINA BELTRÁN — KEYNOTE SPEAKER FOR MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. CONVOCATION Fairfield University welcomed award-winning political theorist and New York University Associate Professor Cristina Beltrán, PhD for the virtual 2021 Martin Luther King Jr. Convocation on February 22. The theme for Fairfield’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. observance was “Striving to Build the Beloved Community: From Dr. King to Black Lives Matter.” A week of virtual programming to celebrate the life and influence of the late Dr. King was held in February. Dr. Beltrán is the author of The Trouble with Unity: Latino

Cristina Beltrán Politics and the Creation of Identity (Oxford University Press, 2010) and Cruelty as Citizenship: How Migrant Suffering Sustains White Democracy (University of Minnesota Press, 2020).

FORMER PRESIDENT OBAMA PICKS FAIRFIELD MFA FACULTY BOOK AS A 2020 FAVORITE Fall 2020 was a headlinemaking semester for Fairfield’s MFA in Creative Writing professors Phil Klay and Dinty W. Moore, whose latest book projects received high praise and national attention from some of the industry’s most prominent literary reviewers and book lovers. Released this past October by Penguin Press, Missionaries, the debut novel from Phil Klay (whose short story collection Redeployment won the 2014 National Book Award) was chosen by former President Barack Obama as one of his favorite books of 2020, and was also named one of “The 10 Best Books of 2020” by The Wall Street Journal. Editor-in-chief of the popular online flash-fiction literary journal Brevity, Dinty

W. Moore is also receiving national attention for his latest book, The Best of Brevity: Twenty Groundbreaking Years of Flash Nonfiction. “The immersive effect of reading this anthology straight through is the opposite of a flash experience, and is also lovely, like rolling down a sidewalk of lit windows,” The New York Times raved. “So much beauty, so much grief — the whole range of experience flashing by, leaving impressions as it F passes.” l

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A Real Keeper

Fairfield’s Matt Turner ’17 is one of the best goaltenders in Major League Soccer, after a standout 2020 season with the New England Revolution.

M by John Torsiello

att Turner was staring at a crossroads after his second year at Fairfield University. The New Jersey native believed he had the right stuff to be a starter between the posts for the Stags men’s soccer team. But after two seasons, his career seemed at a standstill. “It wasn’t happening for me the way I had hoped and thought that it should,” said the 26-year-old Turner. “I thought I was good enough to play but I wasn’t. I wanted to leave.” Rev. Michael J. Doody, S.J., director of restorative mentoring, counseled Turner, and another mentor, adjunct finance professor Rosalind Looby, also offered guidance. “It was time to sign up for classes for my junior year and she knew I wanted to leave. She convinced me that I couldn’t run away from problems and that if I kept working hard I could get the starting job. She was right. I decided to stay.” The 6’ 3”, 175-pound Turner, who didn’t devote himself to soccer until he was a sophomore in high school, indeed wound up starting in his final two years at Fairfield, which proved pivotal to his future success. He is now one of the best goaltenders in Major League Soccer (MLS), having led the New England Revolution to the finals of the 2020 Eastern Conference playoffs. Some wondered if a late-blooming kid from a Division I school like Fairfield could even dream of a career as a pro. Well, Turner — and a few others — thought so. “After I decided to stay, I had a really good two years. I was doing things that I didn’t see other goalies doing on the field in the MAAC. I have to say, [Associate Head Soccer Coach] Javier Decima was someone who held me to a higher standard. He saw something in me 12 spr ing 2021 | Fairf ie l d Un i ve rs it y M aga z in e

athletically and academically, and said I could play for the national team.” “What I saw in Matt early on at Fairfield that made me think so highly of him,” said Decima, “was his mentality, work ethic, and desire to improve and learn.” As Fa i r f i e l d ’s s ta rt i n g g o a l ie in 2014 and ’15, Turner turned in a 13-9-12 record to go along with 21 shutouts and a 0.85 goals against average. In his junior campaign, the Park Ridge, N.J., native yielded only 10 goals in 17 appearances, adding 13 shutouts. After his senior season during the fall of 2015, an offer to sign as a free agent was tendered to Turner by the Revolution. Turner balked a bit; to leave one semester short of graduation and miss all the fun stuff that being a final-semester senior entailed? “I had been offered a job, and it was for much more money than the Revolution was talking about. I had a talk with Dawn DeBiase, director of the Master of Social Work program, and she said it was a no-brainer. A chance like this might not come again. She was the one who helped make it happen that I could graduate online,” which he did in 2017. Ironically, Turner found himself during his first two years with the Revolution in much the same predicament he was in at Fairfield; he thought he was good enough to play meaningful minutes, but he wound up being loaned to the United Soccer League’s Richmond Kickers. He started 27 matches in net for the Kickers in 2016 and ’17, recording seven shutouts. “I could have put my head down, but I remembered what I did at Fairfield. I went to Richmond and worked on improving, and on showing that I belonged and that I was good enough to start for the Revolution.” Then, just like at Fairfield, Turner got his chance. He began the 2018 preseason ranked third on Coach Brad Friedel’s depth chart, but wound up starting the regular season as the top goalie for the Revs. He made 83 saves and earned five shutouts in 27 appearances, and did even better the following year, when he received his first call-up into the Left: In 2020, goalie Matt Turner was named both Revolution Team MVP by fans and Players’ Player of the Year by his teammates.

Some wondered if a late-blooming kid from a Division I school like Fairfield could even dream of a career as a pro. Well, Turner — and a few others — thought so.”

Above: Matt Turner playing for Fairfield in 2015. Turner was signed as a free agent midway through his senior year, but finished his final semester online and received his degree in 2017. U.S. Men’s National Team annual January camp, and also signed a multi-year contract extension with the Revolution in 2019. “It’s being at the right time in the right place to get the opportunity needed,” Turner said. “We had a new coach in 2018, and he was reevaluating his players. He looked at me and said he didn’t care about résumés… he gave me a chance.” Turner was also brilli an t in 2020. He finished second in MLS Goalkeeper of the Year voting, was named the Revolution Team MVP by fans, and also took home Players’ Player of the Year honors. He posted a record of 8-7-7, started all four of the club’s MLS Cup Playoff matches and tied a Revolution record with three wins in a single postseason campaign. Of course, 2020 was no ordinary year for athletes and MLS was no different. Strict

protocols to safeguard players’ and coaches’ health were put in place, Covid testing was almost constant, and there were few fans in the stands — mostly just in cities with regulations allowing it, such as Philadelphia and Orlando. Turner said, “Our team did everything we had to do this year to keep playing. We all made sacrifices, some more than others — like guys with families and kids. But we had only a few positive tests. The situation brought us together as a team. Our first game back was July 9 in the MLS bubble in Orlando, Florida. I played that game in honor of my sister, Michelle, who is a frontline worker in New York City. We won, 1-0, and I made a key save in the 90th minute. That was special.” Turner called the Revs’ entire playoff run “special” as well. “We won three games and I was fortunate to make big saves late, to preserve wins.” A post-season late-game save — this one as he debuted in goal for the U.S. Men’s National Team in January 2021 — made Turner’s first international appearance “something I’ll cherish the rest of my life.” Stopping a penalty kick in the 65th minute preserved the U.S. team’s 7-0 shutout against Trinidad and Tobago. Fairfield’s emphasis on commitment to community service burns strong within Turner. He takes part in team visits to children’s hospitals and is part of a friend’s organization, “The Never Give Up Crew,” which, through a collaboration with the Jessie Rees Foundation, brings childhood cancer patients and their families to Gillette Stadium for an unforgettable match day experience. And he hasn’t forgotten his alma mater. “During normal years I have gone back to talk to the soccer team, meet the new guys, and take questions from them. This year we did it virtually.” Turner also owes a debt of gratitude to Michael O’Keefe ’13, a star goalie at Fairfield whom Turner played with for a year and who is now playing professionally in New Zealand. “He instilled a work ethic in me and showed what it was like to be a student-athlete.” Matt Turner learned valuable lessons at Fairfield, ones that continue to fuel his F success on the field and off. l

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Life Changing

Director of Student Diversity and Multicultural Affairs Pejay Lucky is building community.


by Nicole Funaro ’17

haracter. Integrity.

Loyalty. These were the principles instilled within Fairfield’s Director of Student Diversity and Multicultural Affairs Pejay Lucky as a young adult attending Triumphant Christian Church in Bridgeport, Connecticut — the values he has exemplified and expressed in his nearly seven-year career at Fairfield University. His commitment to community became evident as a student at the University of Hartford, where he was involved in a host of co-curricular activities: from the Men of Color Alliance and Naciones Hispanicas Unidas, to the Caribbean American Student Association. He also served as a resident assistant and started his own Bible study group called Together With Christ. Lucky later accepted an area coordinator position in the Residence Life office of Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., before finding a home six years later at Fairfield’s Office of Residence Life, as an associate director. His personal values and the University’s core values have fallen into lockstep in his current role as the director of the Office of Student Diversity and Multicultural Affairs. Now, during a critical period, Lucky is a leader on campus, reaching out to students at a time of uncertainty, building networks, and fostering the unity that is so essential to Fairfield’s character as a Jesuit University. The interview that follows has been edited for brevity and clarity. What values and goals guide the way you lead at Fairfield?

I am highly involved in my church community in Bridgeport, which has really instilled my core values of character, integrity, and loyalty. For me, no matter what I do, I have to do it with character, integrity, and loyalty. And

that’s infused with our Jesuit mission. When I think about loyalty especially, I think about “men and women for others” — loyalty not just to myself, but loyalty to my community. I am truly big on servant leadership, and on thinking, “What can I do to help someone else? How can I serve?” It’s just been great to know that the Jesuit mission aligns with my personal values and my outlook on life. As director of the Office of Student Diversity and Multicultural Affairs (SDMA), what other projects are you working on that you are excited about?

Academic Immersion, which is a summer program for underrepresented students to come [to campus] a month before school starts and take a class — or usually two. Students are usually on the ground here on campus, getting support from resident assistants, from tutors, from my entire staff. But this year, we had to go virtual, which was a huge pivot; still we worked to provide the same support to make sure that our students’ transition was smooth. Part of that transition was bringing in career planning, counseling, financial aid — different resources so that folks know what’s going on. This semester, we’ve done a lot of work with Fairfield’s Counseling and Psychological Services Center, really looking to make [addressing] mental health [issues] a normal thing in the community of people of color, where it was very stigmatized in the past. Another thing I’m excited to be working with Assistant Vice President Janet Canepa in Alumni Relations on is establishing an official organization for alumni of color to stay connected to the Fairfield University community through service, networking, and partnership. Describe the ‘boots on the ground’ diversity work and multicultural services provided by the Office of SDMA.

The CARE Team [Community Advocate

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Relationship Educators] student leaders are part of the heart and soul of SDMA; I’m not sure folks know how much they do. About 10 of them have been in classrooms — virtual classrooms — hosting programs around social justice and diversity initiatives. They are a great group of students. And the affinity clubs are usually booming; especially BSU [Black Student Union]. They’re usually a thriving club. Their leaders as well as their general body have been working to adjust [to Covid-19]. We had our first Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Book Club last semester with staff. We read the book How to Be an Antiracist by Dr. Ibram Kendi. There were about 40 people that were a part of this book club within the Student Affairs division. We asked this question — I ask this question a lot — specifically to people of different [backgrounds]: “When was the last time you’ve intentionally put yourself in a space with people that were different than you?” I truly wonder: when is the last time that people have gone out of their way to be around someone that’s different. And I wouldn’t just ask this question without doing it myself. I’ve done it. I do it all the time! [laughs] How does the Office of SDMA intersect with the President’s Working Group on Inclusive Excellence?

I am a member of the President’s Working Group on Inclusive Excellence, and I lead a committee on recruitment and retention. We are intersecting in so many ways through the programs and initiatives we support. The working group has leaders from all across campus, and collaborates on diversity initiatives within our Admission Department, Fairfield Prep, Alumni Relations, and much more. Right: Pejay Lucky worked in Fairfield’s Office of Residence Life prior to his current role as director of Student Diversity and Multicultural Affairs.

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President Nemec and the working group chairs [Associate Vice Provost for Scholarly, Creative, and Community Engagement Jocelyn Boryczka, PhD and Vice President for Student Life Karen Donoghue] have been more than supportive when it comes to ensuring that our mission as a working group intersects with all of our divisions within the University community. I believe it’s not one department’s responsibility to embody inclusive excellence, but it takes all of us to ensure we are enhancing the University, and I’m grateful for how we as a community have been working together to be progressive. You’ve also helped lead the campus community through the Covid-19 pandemic. How has it influenced your leadership style?

What I’ve learned from our Jesuit mission is that you have to be flexible, and you never know what you may experience and when it may

hit. Jesuit universities were specifically placed near inner cities to support those communities. [The Jesuits] didn’t know what experiences they would face when they went there. We had Jesuits putting themselves in some interesting and unfamiliar situations. So when it comes to shaping leadership, again, I talk about embracing the unknown — that’s true diversity. When it comes to my leadership style — with having a heart for people and wanting to serve — I see that we just can’t stop, specifically for some of our people that are on the margins, if everything is remote. Usually my office is packed with people. I mean, there’s easily 40 students at a time in there when you walk through the Student Diversity office. Going remote, where we could only limit the office to 15 people at a time, was a big difference. So we said, “OK, we’ve still got to have checkpoints for people.”

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Above: Pejay Lucky (right) catches up with Mahfouz Soumare ’22 on the steps of The Tully in the Barone Campus Center. And these checkpoints are so pivotal because so many of our students that are on the margins are first-generation college students that just don’t know what resources are there. So we said, “Let’s get on Zoom! Let’s get on social media; let’s flood it! Let’s flood social media as much as possible with flyers and cool videos.” What we were actually doing last spring semester when things were really locked down was what we called “Live at Five” from Monday through Thursday, where someone from my office would go on social media, talk about what we were doing, have an inspirational quote of the day, and encourage our students to hop on and get the resources they need through the campus partners we brought on, like

“So from this, my true hope is that we’re able to embrace each other and support each other in a greater way. To me, diversity work is the same work as what Jesuits do: it’s men and women for others.” Pejay Lucky, Director of Student Diversity and Multicultural Affairs

Counseling [and Psychological Services]. So, long story short: I’ll say what enhanced my leadership style is being flexible and adaptable in the unknown. And I think that just goes with the work that we do. How have you and your team continued to respond to racial justice issues that made headlines in 2020?

We’ve held several different programs. For example, our CARE Team leaders held programs that were specifically in the style called “civic reflection.” We’ve held multiple reflections, one in particular on Breonna Taylor [a Black medical worker who was shot and killed by Louisville police officers in March of 2020]. The CARE Team has also helped out in classrooms, where they’ve gone in and held different civic reflections. What we did was show either an article, a picture, or a clip of a video — start with that — and then host different breakout sessions and breakout rooms based around those things. We’re very aware that sometimes students may not have the space to process, depending on their household. You just never know. So we just want to make sure we’re continuing to engage in those conversations. Have these virtual dialogues been helpful?

Definitely. I think about the Breonna Taylor program that we held in October, and the great thing about it was that we also made it an FYE [First-Year Experience] credit, so some first-year students that really didn’t even know the details of the story came and learned about what happened. We shared different

articles and video clips, and students came and learned. The majority of the students that attended were students who aren’t exposed to some of the challenges that others face. For George Floyd, [an African American man killed during an arrest in Minneapolis in May of 2020] that was a summer one, a pop-up: “Hey, let’s hop on.” We just opened the floor up. We held a group meeting for a lot of students that we connect with, as well as emailed out [to]. Students showed up. We also did a program on antiracism after the election results [in November]. We just talked through what it means to be an antiracist leader, and even talked about the administration that’s leaving us, as well as the administration that’s coming in. We talked about how it looks to be an antiracist leader, and a lot of the anti-racist language we used, we took from Kendi’s book. Even on election night, we actually hosted an open Zoom room; we partnered with Residence Life, and students popped in and just wanted to talk. In our open [virtual] space, students checked in, told us what was going on, and talked through some of the updates. I really just wanted to make sure that we were able to engage, even remotely, because we couldn’t be in-person. From all of these initiatives and projects, what do you hope is the message or lesson that comes across for the campus community?

That’s a great question. I hope that people are informed and educated on others and themselves. And let me even rephrase that — I hope we are transformed when it comes to our thinking, with how we’ve been socialized as people to think a certain kind of way. So many times, until we’re able to acknowledge our biases and our ignorance, we’re not able to embrace the different. So from this, my true hope is that we’re able to embrace each other and support each other in a greater way. To me, diversity work is the same work as what Jesuits do: it’s men and women for others. It starts when someone walks in the room: Did you say hello? Did you get to know them before judging how they look? Did you even say hello? [laughs] My hope is that with these initiatives, we can set the world aflame through the lens of social justice, with that lens on so that we’re able to see past our own experiences. My hope is that we are able to walk with those in the margins after this and look at what we can learn from them, what they can learn from us, and how we can support each other.

One day, when you look back on your career, what would be the one thing you hope to say you achieved?

That’s actually an easy question [laughs]. Because when I think about why I do the work that I do, my hope is that when I look back, I can see how many lives I helped. I truly believe that this work is life-changing. So my hope, as I look back, is to see that all I’ve learned I was able to pour into somebody else and enhance F their life. l

THE PRESIDENT’S WORKING GROUP ON INCLUSIVE EXCELLENCE Chartered by University President Mark R. Nemec, PhD, the purpose of the President’s Working Group on Inclusive Excellence is to advance the Jesuit Catholic commitment of Fairfield University by creating and supporting radical hospitality for and with diverse others in our teaching, learning, scholarship, and service. The group is comprised of administrators at Fairfield University whose portfolios include oversight of major areas of the University, and who are responsible for recruiting and developing members of the University community. The group also includes a faculty representative with academic expertise and/or special interest in inclusivity and diversity issues. Among the working group’s responsibilities are: to identify and monitor demographic and other indicators of inclusivity at Fairfield University; to use demographic and other data to identify short, medium, and long-term goals to advance inclusive excellence at the University; to collaborate with executive and senior leadership on the implementation of inclusive excellence action plans; to prepare materials to share with the Board of Trustees and other appropriate groups or organizations such as the New England Commission on Higher Education (NECHE); to develop initial action plans and carry out pilot projects to achieve inclusive excellence; to foster a mindset of inclusive excellence at the University; to communicate with the University community about inclusive excellence initiatives; F and report to the President. l

For more information, please visit fairfield.edu/ about-fairfield/mission-values-history.

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18 spr ing 2 0 21 | Fairfie l d Un i ve rs it y M aga z in e


by Sara Colabella ’08, MA’11


hen Emma AntoinePortinari ’20 entered her senior year, she envisioned herself graduating in May with a job

lined up. But things didn’t go according to plan due to the global pandemic. “It just made the job search that much harder than it was going to be,” said AntoinePortinari who studied psychology during her time at Fairfield. With a graduation post on LinkedIn about her availability for work, Antoine-Portinari caught the attention of Jennifer Tomosivitch ’91 — an alumna she had connected with during the Alumni Job Shadow Program her junior

year. Tomosivitch, who is senior vice president of global marketing at the education tech company Skillsoft, has since hired AntoinePortinari as a communications assistant. “Fairfield Stags really want to help Stags,” said Tomosivitch who has volunteered as an alumna mentor in the program since 2012. “When you hire someone from Fairfield you know you are hiring someone who is smart, hardworking, and has good values. The concept of ‘men and women for others’ is really something you feel and don’t necessarily see in other candidates.” Similar to Antoine-Portinari, Eileen Plaehn ’18 also connected with Tomosivitch as a student participant in the Job Shadow Program. After shadowing Tomosivitch at Thermo

Fisher Scientific (her former employer), Plaehn accepted a job there and later followed her mentor to Skillsoft, where she is currently a senior global marketing programs specialist on Tomosivitch’s team. Since the start of the pandemic, new college graduates are turning to their alumni Participating as a student in the Alumni Job Shadow Program inspired Jessica Estrada ’15 (far left), supervisor for global sales operations at WebMD, to volunteer as an alumna mentor. Pictured with her in this pre-pandemic photo are (l-r): Olivia Salinger ’19, Victoria Conte ’20, Arianna Palmeri ’20, Katherine Mullen ’20, and Chris Gerver ’18.

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Emma Antoine-Portinari ’20 participated in job shadow both her junior and senior year. right:

Eileen Plaehn ’18 and Emma Antoine-Portinari ’20 connected with Jennifer Tomosivitch ’91 during this year’s Alumni Job Shadow.

networks more than ever for help in the job market. Fairfield graduates often have a leg up on the competition, thanks to the University’s Alumni Job Shadow Program. Launched in 2011 as a collaboration between the Alumni Association, Alumni Relations, and the Career Center, in its first year the program paired 60 students with 49 alumni professionals across the country for a week of career exploration during winter break. Since then, the Alumni Job Shadow Program has grown in popularity every year. This year’s program placed 256 students with 132 alumni in businesses and organizations across a variety of industries. During a single week over winter break, students spent shadow days at Boston Children’s Hospital, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Inspira Marketing Group, Mastercard Worldwide, Hartford Wolfpack, Facebook, HP Inc., Tesla, Bloomberg, A&E Television, Meriden Public Schools, U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Hubspot,

Pfizer, Novartis, Save the Children, Yale-New Haven Hospital, and more. “Job Shadow is such a rewarding program for all involved. Students learn about careers and make vital career connections, alumni and parents are excited to give back to current Stags, and we in the Career Center are so pleased when students land jobs as a result of connections they made,” said the program’s employer relations manager, Deirdre Bennett. During a typical Alumni Job Shadow day, alumni and students talk about career paths, participate in informational interviews, meet with human resources representatives, join client and internal meetings, and tour work facilities. Alumni mentors review students’ résumés and students often explore brief projects relevant to their career interests.


heannon Loffredo ’20 felt an instant connection with alumna Maureen Murray ’78, a content manager at the fintech firm DailyPay, when they were paired for a job shadow during her senior year. “We immediately clicked,” said Loffredo, “and I was comfortable asking her all sorts of questions about the company. We even discovered that we both lived in the same exact room

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when we were first-years at Fairfield. We both lived in Campion 414 — 42 years apart from each other!” Though she initially wished to pursue a career at an entertainment-related company, the experience opened up Loffredo’s eyes to other industries. “When shadowing at DailyPay, the significance of a startup’s tight-knit community became apparent to me. Going into college, I had picked Fairfield because of the tight-knit community I felt when coming onto campus the first time,” she said. “It made sense that I would be drawn to a company with the same type of community.” By the end of her job shadow day, Loffredo knew she wanted to work for DailyPay following graduation. She touched base with Murray monthly, and once the pandemic hit and hiring freezes were implemented, she began communicating even more frequently with Murray to stay top of mind. She kept at it and in August 2020, Murray offered her an associate content writer position, which she quickly accepted. “Get to know people in the company where you do your job shadow” advised Murray. “Ask a lot of questions. Don’t be afraid to speak up. Be persistent! Rheannon’s persistence is what ultimately got her the job — she was always top of mind for me.” Jessica Estrada ’15, supervisor for global sales operations at WebMD, participated in the Alumni Job Shadow Program as a student during her junior and senior years. When she interviewed at WebMD for a job with the sales operations team, “This is what I want to do,” she remembered thinking, describing it as a lightbulb going off. “I was able to have that revelation because this industry was accessible to me through the Job Shadow Program,” she noted. Her positive experience as a student inspired her to volunteer as an alumna mentor. “After starting my own career, I wanted to give current Fairfield University students the opportunity to learn about the work that we do at WebMD, and also provide advice and guidance,” she explained. “Participating as a mentor in the Job Shadow Program helps me still feel connected to the University. It feels great to give back.”

Since joining WebMD and volunteering in the Alumni Job Shadow Program, five student mentees have interviewed and joined WebMD in full-time positions within the marketing and sales teams, including Christopher Gerver ’18, Olivia Salinger ’19, and Vanessa Medrano ’18. Estrada noted that student participants who were actively involved during their on-site visits stood out among their peers. The Stags helping Stags ethos is alive and well in Fairfield University’s alumni network, as evidenced by volunteers in the Alumni Job Shadow Program. “I would not be here if it had not been for them,” noted AntoinePortinari, who described her job at Skillsoft as “the shining light at the end of the tunnel F I had been looking for.” l


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Titanic Dream

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Bretton Hunchak ’09 oversees stewardship of the world’s most famous shipwreck. by Alan Bisbort

Maybe it all started for Bretton Hunchak ’09 with a shoebox diorama he made in third grade. Inside that shoebox, the young Hunchak of Ellington, Connecticut, re-created part of the interior of the RMS Titanic, the ill-fated British passenger liner that sank on her maiden voyage from Southampton, England to New York in 1912. “It was by far the coolest diorama in the whole class,” Hunchak said, with a laugh. “I’d grown up around boats, so the Titanic fascinated me even back then.” Flash forward to the present, when Hunchak is planning an actual expedition to the site of the world’s most famous shipwreck — located 400 miles off the coast of Newfoundland, and more than two miles below the ocean’s surface. On a date yet to be scheduled due to the pandemic, Hunchak will be there in his capacity as president of RMS Titanic, Inc. (RMST), the sole salvor in possession of the Titanic’s wreck site. Hunchak’s company’s mission, according to an RMST press release, is to serve as the exclusive steward of the RMS left:

RMS Titanic, the ill-fated British passenger liner that collided with an iceberg and sank on her maiden voyage from Southampton, England to New York in 1912. above:

Bretton Hunchak ’09, president of RMS Titanic, Inc. (RMST), posing in front of the submarine used by Victor Vescovo for his Five Deeps Expedition, in which Vescovo became the first person to visit the deepest points in every ocean.

Titanic. “Since 1987, RMST has honorably conducted eight research expeditions to the wreck of RMS Titanic exclusively recovering and conserving more than 5,500 artifacts. Utilizing these recovered objects in concert with scientific data and historical research, RMST brings to the general public the celebrated and moving experience Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition,” which has recently been on display in Las Vegas, Orlando, Fla., and in Arizona. Thanks to an RMST company partner, Magellan GPS, the Titanic wreck site can now be found easily, and Hunchak and an international crew of 60 maritime experts plan to “encamp” there for six weeks once current travel and health risks abate. Their top priority is to retrieve the radio equipment from inside the bow section of the wreckage. (The Titanic split in two before sinking on April 15, 1912, with the stern heading straight to the bottom, about a third of a mile away from where the bow eventually settled). “Why is that radio so important?” Hunchak asked, anticipating the question. “The Marconi wireless

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“Nobody knows how long the ship will remain intact. As [film director] James Cameron says, ‘The Titanic is melting like a candle, from the top down’.” — Bretton Hunchak ’09

telegraph machine is the only reason 700 people survived. It was the iPhone 12 of its day and was so new that the instructions said that if it broke down to bring it back to the manufacturer.” And, of course, two days into Titanic’s maiden voyage, the Marconi machine broke down. Rather than leave it alone, though, two engineers on board the ship took it apart to see if they could fix it. “These two guys broke the rules for the greater good and got it working again,” said Hunchak. “And because of that, they were able to radio for help in those few minutes between when the ship hit the iceberg and when it sank.” All previous exploration of the wreckage has been of its exterior, and was conducted via 2- or 3-person submersibles, which required more than two hours to get down to the wreck site and then another two hours to return to the ocean surface. “This is not like renting a sailboat for the weekend, in other words,” Hunchak said. Retrieving the radio equipment has taken far more intricate planning than previous expeditions. It will require an unmanned submersible to enter through a skylight or, failing that, to cut into the deck’s corroded roof. A suction dredge will remove loose silt, while the sub’s manipulator arms will cut any remaining electrical cords. “We aren’t going down there to pull up a million artifacts,” said Hunchak. “We will mostly be documenting with cameras what’s

above :

Photogrammetric survey of the Titanic’s bow section. left:

Once-gilded bronze cherub statue from the ornate Grand Staircase of the RMS Titanic. 24 spr ing 2 0 21 | Fairfie l d Un i ve rs it y M aga z in e

left, in order to make photometric models of the ship for later study. This will eternalize the Titanic for future generations.” The legendary undersea explorer Victor Vescovo saw the radio equipment on his last visit to the wreck site in August 2019. “The room where the radio is housed is collapsing in on itself and what’s left is in danger,” said Hunchak. “The wall on which the radio was originally mounted has disintegrated, and it’s now attached only by the cable, so that, according to Vescovo, it looks like it’s floating.” If Hunchak’s expedition finds and secures the equipment, it will be brought to the surface and stabilized in a solution of salt water. Because the equipment is made of multiple materials (wood, metal, wires, glass), it may require anywhere from six to 24 months to restore. “Nobody knows how long the ship will remain intact,” said Hunchak. “As [film director] James Cameron says, ‘The Titanic is melting like a candle, from the top down.”


ince the Titanic’s wreck site was discovered by undersea explorer Robert Ballard in 1985, any visit to it has been fraught with controversy. The overriding concern is that the site remain a burial ground for the 1,500 people who lost their lives, and be accorded the same respect that any cemetery receives. When the ship split in two after hitting the iceberg, its back half spun around as it slowly sank, spewing debris across several miles of the ocean floor. Prior expeditions have only salvaged artifacts from these debris fields scattered in the vicinity of the wreckage, never from inside the ship. The main wreck site itself has been off limits, and people have fought for years in admiralty

court in the U.S. to gain access to it. Hunchak and his legal team spent a year in maritime law litigation in order to get that elusive clearance. Originally scheduled for summer 2021, the expedition is now indefinitely delayed, yet Hunchak remains optimistic. He has even squeezed inside a submersible to learn what that feels like. “We went down to 1,000 meters,” he recalled. “It was intense. I am a tall guy, and you are in this sphere-shaped titanium shell that only two or three people can fit inside. When it goes under, the condensation on the inside drips a little. The joke for first-timers is for the captain to look up at the dripping water and say, ‘Oh no!’ And of course my heart was in my throat.” Though he has been president of RMS Titanic, Inc. for only two years, Hunchak is well aware of the debate over whether the site should be visited at all. “I agree that the site is a memorial and I would not allow anything abrasive or abusive to occur to the remains. This site visit will be done entirely by unmanned vessels, which are as accurate as robot surgeons. There really are only about 50 people in the world who would have the know-how and tools to explore the Titanic wreck site in this way, and we all know each other. Most people have a decent enough moral compass not to desecrate the site.”


ow did a good Catholic boy from Connecticut get from that shoebox diorama to the real deal? Well, that voyage — or, at least, the educational component — may have begun before he was even born. The name bestowed upon him came from a Jesuit priest, named Fr. Bretton, who was close to his mother’s family when she was a girl. Hunchak attended East Catholic High School in Manchester, Conn. The sole guidance counselor there was a Fairfield University alumnus, and advised Hunchak to visit the campus. “I looked at Fordham and some schools out West, but after I visited Fairfield’s campus and met Milo Peck, assistant professor of accounting and an attorney, I was convinced it was the place for me. The finance business track [that] Fairfield provided, and the presence of Professor Peck made me want to go there. He taught accounting classes and showed me

that it was not just a bunch of numbers, that it got right to the heart of how a business works or doesn’t work.” After “scrambling a bit” upon graduation, Hunchak was hired by Deutsche Bank at their New York office on Wall Street. From there, he moved to a start-up hedge fund. “I learned how to spot failing businesses, and how to right their ships,” he said. A little more than two years ago, Hunchak came across Premier Exhibitions, the company that owned the RMS Titanic, which was in bankruptcy. He took the company private, made some financial adjustments and reemerged as RMS Titanic, Inc., part of E/M Group (Experiential Media Group, LLC). He is now the de facto head of both RMS Titanic, Inc. and E/M Group, and Fairfield alumna Katrina Young ’09 is his executive assistant.


n addition to his focus on all things Titanic, Hunchak also oversees an extensive educational outreach program related to this work. “Part of the Jesuit ethic that Fairfield has instilled in me is that if I have a platform, I should do some good with it,” he said. “We have recently been collaborating with James Cameron,” – director of the 1997 film, Titanic – “ who’s really ‘Mister Titanic,’ to create a program for Los Angeles City Public Schools, where his wife is a teacher.” E/M Group designed a five-week course related to the Titanic and underwater exploration that meets STEM curriculum standards. It includes components like question-and-answer sessions with actual divers who’ve been to the Titanic site, and with James Cameron. “We’ve tested it in inner city schools of New York and Atlanta and the feedback has been incredible,” he said. “We have put our heart and soul into this education program. The students have loved it.” E/M Group offers traveling exhibitions of varying sizes, too. “If the space is large enough, we can build a replica of the grand staircase on the Titanic to give a real sense of what it was like, the grandeur,” said Hunchak. “Or in a smaller space, we can do a virtual walkthrough of the ship. People have enjoyed that F during this long Covid pandemic.” l

above from top:

Items salvaged from the Titanic’s wreckage: A black silk Edwardian period top hat,a common fashion accessory in 1912; King of Clubs from a deck of Steamboat playing cards, most likely used for playing poker while onboard; A 14-carat gold Fox Head lapel or scarf pin with glass eyes, thought to have belonged to one of the men traveling in First Class.

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by Tess (Brown) Long ’07, MFA’11

Maria Clinton ’13 had driven more than 800 miles from Denver to Arizona with her friend and co-director to meet the subjects of their documentary, The Love Bugs. The desert sun beat down on their SUV. Clinton was sandwiched between four dogs and lots of equipment for most of the way. The wood-paneled cabin where they stayed during filming was — ironically — infested with insects. “I have to be honest; I really didn’t like bugs [before the film],” Clinton said with a laugh, talking with her hands over Zoom in her Westchester-area home. She debated stomping or swatting, but then would think of her documentary work. “It really became a question of ethics each time a bug would invade our space.”

Despite her initial squeamishness, Clinton, a filmmaker and photographer whose clients have included NBC, About.com, Hudson News, and non-profit organizations, followed her curiosity and passion for a good story to bring The Love Bugs to fruition. The short film, for which Clinton was also one of the cinematographers, follows married entomologists Charlie and Lois O’Brien, who have, over the course of 60 years, traveled to more than 67 countries and quietly amassed the world’s largest private collection of insects, an entomological treasure trove of 1.25 million specimens. These two renowned scientists and pioneers in their field grappled with the advancement of Charlie’s Parkinson’s Disease in their twilight years. Though Charlie and Lois, respectively 85 and 91 at the time of filming, realized that their work of exploration and discovery was coming to a close, they still existed in a time when science needed them most because of the devastating effects of climate change on the world’s most delicate ecosystems. The film charts the couple’s culling of their collection as they prepare to donate it — valued at approximately $10 million — to Arizona State University. The documentary short, with a small production team of mostly women — something that was important to Clinton, has streamed on PBS and has garnered 14 film festival awards and even more official selections. The film will also be touring with the prestigious American Film Showcase this year. The Love Bugs is now also free and accessible to students and teachers with companion educational materials in both English and Spanish.

from top:

Entomologist Lois O’Brien in her fieldwork hat; a specimen case from the O’Briens’ collection which now resides at Arizona State University; a still frame of the late entomologist Charlie O’Brien examining insects under a scope with a PhD student looking on.

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was in complete awe of the magnitude of their collection and the diversity of specimens,” Clinton said about the first time she visited the O’Briens. “Their [individual] offices were across the hall from each other and they pulled out their most impressive cases of weevils and planthoppers.” The carefully mounted insects sparkled like miniature “disco balls” in lacquered teals and vibrant greens, and had location tags from places like India, Brazil, and beyond. Unlike anything Clinton had ever seen, they got her over her original repulsion. But it was the relationship between Charlie and Lois that pulled the heartstrings, if you will, of Clinton and the film crew, and left them wanting to know more. “We originally imagined a much shorter film, but just one trip to Green Valley [Arizona], and we knew there was a much bigger story that we had to share,” Clinton said. “The focus was definitely on the importance of science and scientists; however, the story evolved into something greater as we considered their love for one another.”

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In the opening scene, Charlie and Lois are surrounded by their collection — nestled together in front of ceiling-high pine specimen cabinets and drawers, glass presentation frames brimming with pinned insects, and piles of waxy envelopes. Lois asks about the condition of her hair, saying that she was just outdoors, that she always has fly-aways. Charlie, with laughing but doting eyes, brushes her hair aside. They readily admit that they don’t always agree, but just as quickly defer to one another’s knowledge or opinion. Later in the film, we see the signs of a home well lived-in, of a partnership peacefully forged over time. But, we also peer inside at lives of caretaking and facing the prospect of terminal illness, at the clutter and rubble of old age. The O’Briens present it all with a humor that has sustained them, even as they squabble over the slide carousel or eventual funeral plans, and all without losing focus for the things that they love most: each other, but really the bugs. Clinton wanted to keep the cameras rolling as much as possible, to capture the more “vérité observational footage” as well as the

structured interviews — and as many images of the O’Briens’ million and a half specimens as possible. “We wanted a blend for the film and it was important to us to feature animation as well, to really help the bugs come alive.” That’s where an illustrator and the animation team at Mass FX Media came in, to create the “watercolor reminiscent” images of the insects and to depict some of the detailed memories, stories, and journal entries shared by the O’Briens in the documentary. “So many people worked together to make this film possible,” said Clinton, who also has an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and has worked as an adjunct professor of film. Official work on the project began in May of 2017 and post-production wrapped in January of 2019. The film premiered at its first festival in May 2019.


riginally from Westchester County, New York, Clinton was a communication major and a new media, television, and film minor at Fairfield. She was active on campus as a member of the Hamm Channel and the Honors Program, and was inducted into the National Communication Honor Society, Lambda Pi Eta. But it was her relationship with the late Gisela Gil-Egui, PhD, associate professor of communication and Latin American and Caribbean Studies, that led her to social justice work with JUHAN ( Jesuit Universities Humanitarian Action Network), and in turn sparked her interest in documentary filmmaking. “I enjoyed taking Dr. Egui’s classes because she had such a wealth of knowledge,” Clinton said. “I vividly remember Dr. Egui inviting me into her space with her warm smile. She was always so supportive of my academic


A still frame from The Love Bugs film, of married entomologists Charlie and Lois O’Brien with their collection of 1.25 million insect specimens. above:

Maria Clinton ’13


An aquamarine Weevil, Eupholus loriae Gestro, from the O’Briens’ collection.

journey as well as my professional pursuits.” With encouragement from Dr. Egui as well as guidance from Julie Mughal and Danielle Corea through Fairfield’s Center for Social Impact, Clinton created the student activist group “Stand For.” “We used documentary and visual journalism to spread awareness about crises such as the humanitarian crisis in Yemen,” Clinton said. “The genre [of documentary film] also provides the freedom to explore diverse and poignant topics that have the power to shift perspectives and change lives.” Charlie O’Brien has passed away since the time of filming, so Clinton hopes especially now that The Love Bugs documentary will elevate the importance of scientists in our society, “open the door for dialogue” on the imminent threat of climate change, and bolster important connections between longevity, curiosity, and love. “I believe there is such power and agency in one’s ability to share their own story,” Clinton said. “This film is honestly for everyone and I hope that it does encourage some F thoughtful consideration.” l Learn more about The Love Bugs and watch the film at thelovebugsfilm.com.

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

The Arts The Bridgeport Rotary Club Foundation

has approved a grant in the amount of $7,500 to support “Arts for All,” an educational initiative managed by the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts and established in partnership with Bridgeport Public Schools. This grant will enable high school students in Bridgeport to benefit from exceptional arts education experiences, including virtual performances and mentoring by Fairfield University students. A $5,000 grant from the Maximilian E. and Marion O. Hoffman Foundation

will support “From Classroom to Gallery: Supporting the Curriculum in the Art Museum,” an initiative by the Fairfield University Art Museum, which will benefit young students from Bridgeport’s Turnaround Art Schools during the 2020-21 school year, including virtual field trips. The Unload Foundation (#UNLOAD) has pledged to support the Fairfield University Art Museum with a $10,000 grant in support of the museum’s fall 2021 socially engaged exhibition series, featuring Carrie Mae Weems: The Usual Suspects in the Walsh Gallery, and Robert Gerhardt: Mic Check and Roberto Lugo: New Ceramics in the Bellarmine Hall Galleries. The University received a grant in the amount of $7,852 from the William and Philip Carlson Fund to support arts programming and scholarships at Fairfield.

Center for Social Impact An anonymous donor awarded $30,000 to

support the Center for Social Impact’s programming for refugee youth, including the HOPE Club: an afterschool program serving nearly 30 English-language learners in grades 4 to 12, and Ubuntu Academy: a two-week summer literacy

From the exhibition Birds of the Northeast: Gulls to Great Auks: Marsden Hartley’s Give Us This Day, 1938, oil on canvas. Lent by Art Bridges. Learn more at Fairfield.edu/museum.

lab for high school students offered by the Connecticut Writing Project, which takes place on the Fairfield University campus. The Marie and John Zimmermann Foundation has renewed its support of the

Jones-Zimmermann Academic Mentoring Program with a $20,000 grant. With this award, Fairfield University will continue to provide after-school tutoring and mentoring to elementary students in Bridgeport, Conn.

College of Arts & Sciences The F.M. Kirby Foundation has renewed

its support of the Adrienne Kirby Family Literacy Project with a generous $15,000 grant. The project, directed by Professor Judy Primavera, PhD and implemented in partnership with Hall Neighborhood House

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in Bridgeport, enables Fairfield University students to put their classroom learning into action as they support literacy development and early childhood education for the benefit of Bridgeport children and their families.

Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing & Health Studies A $3,000 grant from the CVS Health Foundation will provide scholarship support for exceptional nursing students who are training to become family nurse practitioners. Recipients of this award are bilingual, demonstrate outstanding academic promise, and have aspirations to take nursing positions that support medically underserved

#UNLOAD is an arts-based initiative that seeks to drive consensus around one of the most divisive issues today: gun violence. populations following graduation. The Delaney Memorial Foundation

has given $3,000 for scholarships to assist outstanding nursing students who demonstrate financial need.

Charles F. Dolan School of Business Symmetry Partners has awarded a $10,000

grant to support the Finance Program’s strategic priorities. Couristan, Inc. has awarded a $5,000 grant to support the Dean’s strategic initiatives.

General University Support & Scholarships The Lavelle Fund for the Blind has

renewed its support of the Brother Kearney Scholarship Program with a $7,232 grant. Gifts from the Lavelle Fund for the Blind are used to provide financial aid to undergraduate and graduate students who are legally blind and demonstrate financial need. The William T. Morris Foundation

renewed its support with a $20,000 grant toward the Arthur C. Laske Jr. ’51 Memorial Scholarship. This scholarship is awarded to a student from Connecticut with financial need and a strong commitment to community service. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

(SAMHSA) has given a grant of $9,776.75 to the Health Center in support of Lisa Arnold MFT, LADC, alcohol and drug counselor and clinical director of the Collegiate Recovery Program, for her efforts to prevent high-risk and underage drinking among students, employing professional development opportuniF ties for staff and screening tools for students. l

Linda Roney, EdD, RN-BC, CPEN, CNE, assistant professor and the director of the undergraduate nursing program, leads a simulation with Egan students.

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Alumni NOTES 1960

’68 | Richard J. Nagle, PhD and his colleagues just published the fifth edition of their book, Psychoeducational Assessment of Preschool Children, with Routledge Publishing. Dr. Nagle is a distinguished professor emeritus at the University of South Carolina. He was also named the Louise Fry Scudder Professor of Psychology in recognition of his sustained record of excellence in research, teaching, mentoring, and contributions beyond the university.


’79 | Luc R. Pelletier MSN, APRN, PMHCNS-BC, FAAN, has recently published two articles in peer-reviewed professional nursing journals. “An Exploratory, Descriptive Study of Nurse Leaders; Personal and Work Experiences During Union Negotiations and Strike Event” ran in the Journal of Nursing Administration and explored the experiences, perceptions, and emotional state of nurse leaders during union activities to understand the impact on their personal and professional lives. “Effectiveness of a Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Residency Program on Retention” was published in the Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association.


’81 | Anthony DeFilippis Jr., JD, has chosen to follow his life’s passion, taking on a new role as the founder and chief foodie at Pranzo Tours, a


StagMates Mary Galterio ’15 and Kevin Bachman ’13 tied the knot on August 22, 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.

boutique travel firm he founded in 2014. Pranzo specializes in making travel to Italy a truly authentic cultural and culinary experience. DeFilippis is passionate about helping people discover the “real Italy” by personally planning their introduction to its food, people, and culture. Learn more at pranzotours.com. ’84 | Nancy Dowling MA’87 of Bunnell High School in Stratford, Conn. was named High School Principal of the Year by the Connecticut Association of Schools. ’85 | Colleen (Collins) Shaddox has co-written a book entitled Broke in America: Seeing, Understanding, and Ending U.S. Poverty, published in February 2021 by Benbella Books. ’87 | Caitlin O’Connell, PhD, a behavioral ecologist and worldrenowned elephant scientist, has written a new book, Wild Rituals: 10 Lessons Animals Can Teach Us About

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Connection, Community, and Ourselves, published in January 2021 by Chronicle Books.


’90 | Frank D’Orazio was named chief executive officer and appointed to the Board of Directors of James River Group Holdings on November 2, 2020. The James River Group is a Bermuda-based insurance holding company which owns and operates a group of specialty insurance and reinsurance companies in Bermuda and the United States. D’Orazio was previously the chief operating officer and chief of staff of Allied World Assurance Company Holdings, Ltd. ’91 | Carol Soisson published her first novel for children ages 8-12, called Snowmallows, through her company, Shepherd’s Companion Press, LLC.

’95 | Kathleen Alicks is currently serving as a member of the Board of Trustees for Birth Haven (birthhaven. org), a homeless shelter for young pregnant women. Alicks is also serving on Crum & Forster’s Diversity and Inclusion Council, and is the executive sponsor of C&F’s Women’s Employee Resource Group. ’98 | Michael Snizek has been named the managing partner of Buckley Law Group, P.A., a litigation firm with offices in New York City, Florida, Los Angeles, and Dallas. The firm has also changed its name to Buckley & Snizek, P.A.


’05 | Kevin Neubauer was named to Private Debt Investor’s (PDI) 2020 Rising Stars list. The annual list recognizes senior industry figures under the age of 40 who have demonstrated noteworthy leadership, innovation, and dealmaking skills, and who PDI believes have the potential to shape the future of the asset class. Neubauer is one of only ten lawyers named to the list of 40 industry-wide honorees.


’13 | Maria Clinton co-directed the film The Love Bugs, which streamed on PBS POV Dec. 7, 2020 as part of POV Shorts Season 3. POV is the longestrunning showcase on television for independent films. For more information visit thelovebugsfilm.com. ’15 | Kathryn Pitz was named one of the “20 to Watch: Women in HVAC” by Engineered Systems. Pitz is a mechanical engineer at Kohler Ronan.

Jody (Kertyzak) Sommers ’97 CFO in an Industry Devastated by the Pandemic


by Jeannine (Carolan) Graf ’87 aised by a h ardworking single mom on the eastern shore of Long Island, N.Y., Jody (Kertyzak) Sommers ’97 is a self-described “numbers person” who chose to study accounting because she liked that “it’s black and white; it makes sense.” She was recruited on campus by Deloitte for her first job, after which she spent 16 years at Glencore, the world’s largest commodities trading company. In 2017, Sommers made the leap into the tumultuous restaurant industry: “It was scary, but also a challenge I was 100 percent ready for,” she said. At Barteca, a group of 30 or so Bar Taco and Barcelona restaurants, Sommers and her team oversaw everything “from soup to nuts”

“The deep-rooted relationship between the people working in our restaurants and the communities around them has gotten even stronger.” — payroll, taxes, cash flow — with no outsourcing. Just as she was getting her footing, the restaurant group was sold; she stayed on a year to help with the transition, leaving in July 2019. One short month later, after a series of shake-ups that involved yet another sale and a reorganization, Sommers was brought back as CFO of the newly independent and privately held Barcelona restaurant group. “It was a wild ride,” she recalled of the hectic weeks spent rehiring her finance team, setting up accounting and payroll systems in a new Westport, Conn. office, and getting the 18 Barcelona restaurants — across 9 states

and Washington, D.C. — back on track after being derailed by “too much noise upstairs.” By early 2020, the individual restaurants were re-focused fully on the customer experience and the results were nothing short of amazing. “We were bringing in eight or nine percent more business than in the prior year,” Sommers noted, “which is huge by full-service restaurant industry standards.” Little did she know that as the company’s ownership ups and downs were stabilizing, an unthinkable new global health threat was on the horizon. Around the second week of March 2020, emails about state-mandated restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic began pouring into Sommers’ inbox, raising unforeseeable questions: No indoor dining? Is this going to hit every state? How long will the shutdowns last? “As CFO, I had to take things head-on,” said Sommers. When sales plummeted, 90 percent of Barcelona’s employees had to be laid off. “Restaurants have such small margins, and labor is the biggest expense; we needed to get labor costs in check as quickly as possible.” Sommers leaned heavily on the remaining restaurant workers — a few managers and chefs in each location — to stay on top of regional developments. As Spanish tapas restaurants with an emphasis on the in-person experience, “we didn’t really do take-out before the pandemic,” she said. But when news broke that some jurisdictions were allowing meals “to go,” they seized the opportunity to streamline the menu and create a brand-new visually appealing website with a contactless payment platform for online orders. Barcelona’s take-out earnings rose from a pre-pandemic average of $7,000-a-week (across all 18 restaurants) to $125,000-a-week between April and June 2020. “Not our normal revenues by any stretch,” said Sommers, “but the numbers show how quickly our teams were able to come up to speed and run

with the new processes.” Once states began permitting outdoor dining and indoor dining at reduced capacity, “we hired back a tremendous number of workers as quickly as we could,” Sommers reported. But new questions arose: Are employees going to feel comfortable working in a restaurant? Are patrons going to want to eat here? To address these concerns, Barcelona put “a massive focus” on safety protocols: wearing masks 24/7 in the workplace, keeping a safe distance, wearing gloves. New “sanitation ambassadors” were assigned at each location, and a third-party was brought in to oversee employee health screenings. Restaurant teams set up patio heaters and took advantage of loosened city ordinances to create outdoor “streateries” and “parklets” for al fresco dining. “The patio sales really helped us,” said Sommers. “Who doesn’t love to sit and eat outside on a beautiful day?” Extended outdoor dining is one innovation Sommers hopes will continue long after the pandemic. Another is the company’s new employee relief fund. “A lot of restaurant workers live week-to-week,” she explained, “and this is something we’ll have when disaster hits and people who have worked for us for many years find themselves in a bad situation.” In an industry devastated by the pandemic, Sommers is most grateful for those who have rallied in support: “The deep-rooted relationship between the people working in our restaurants and the communities around them has gotten even stronger. All of the giving that has happened, at a time when nobody was really F thriving… it has been truly heartwarming.” l

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Alumni NOTES Marriages

John F. Donovan ’54 — Nov. 9, 2020

Kaylin Cavanaugh ’04 and Sean Hogan — Dec. 28, 2019.

John J. Kulowiec ’55 — Nov. 26, 2020

Colleen (Wilson) ’11 and Daniel Horstmann ’16 — Oct. 10, 2020.

Robert E. Roche ’55, MA’60, CT’66 (GSEAP) — Nov. 11, 2020

Mary Galterio ’15 and Kevin Bachman ’13 — Aug. 22, 2020

Births Carol (Gjenvick) ’07 and Tom Scappaticci ’07 — son, Calvin Thomas, Dec. 14, 2019. Francesca (D’Souza) ’09 and Connor Nugent — son, Seamus Mallon, July 8, 2020. Grace (Miceli) Flanagan ’09, MS’10 and Joseph Flanagan ’09 — son, Joseph Charles, Aug. 25, 2020.

Arthur J. Bennett ’56 — Sept. 25, 2020 Vincent J. Musco Jr. ’56 — Nov. 10, 2020 Donald E. Flood ’57 — Nov. 8, 2020 David J. McCarthy Jr. ’57 — Oct. 1, 2020 Edward E. Jobes ’58 — Nov. 12, 2020 Richard J. Barone Sr. ’60, MA’70 (GSEAP) — Oct. 3, 2020 Matthew J. Donofrio Jr. ’61 — Dec. 17, 2020

Julia (Macina) ’09 and Jonathan Burns ’09 — daughter, Abigail Grace, Dec. 15, 2020.

Eric W. O’Brien ’61 — Jan. 7, 2021

Diana (Genovese) ’11 and Sean Bannon ’11 — daughter, Brooklyn Kristina, Apr. 28, 2020.

William M. Ndini ’62 — Oct. 5, 2020

Rebecca (Lerner) ’14 and Ryan Yarusi ’12 — daughter, Hayden Laine, Aug. 11, 2020

Brian F.X. Ahearn Sr. ’62 — Sept. 14, 2020

Elliot L. Pierson ’52 — Sept. 28, 2020

George K. Lukach ’63 — Oct. 29, 2020

Roy H. Ervin Sr. ’53 — Oct. 6, 2020

Peter F. Meah ’63, MA’71 (GSEAP) — Nov. 26, 2020

Salvatore M. Santella ’53 — Dec. 24, 2020 Vincent J. DeCarlo ’54 — Nov. 6, 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.

Robert J. Burns ’63 — Nov. 11, 2020 Richard J. Clarkin ’63 — Dec. 18, 2020

Walter R. Purcell Jr. ’53 — Oct. 26, 2020

Grace (Miceli) Flanagan ’09, MS’10 and Joseph Flanagan ’09 welcomed son, Joseph Charles, into the world on August 25, 2020.

Phillip R. Bucchi Sr. ’63 — Jan. 1, 2021

In Memoriam James J. Hannan ’53 — Sept. 26, 2020


Arthur H. Sorensen Jr. ’63 — Dec. 8, 2020 Michael J. Zapf ’63 — Oct. 16, 2020 John L. Farrell ’64 — Jan. 7, 2021 James C. Moore ’64 — Oct. 12, 2020

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Did you know that 19% of Fairfield graduates are members of a legacy family? Our legacy families consist of students and alumni whose family members — including parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren and/or siblings — attended or currently attend Fairfield. For a chance to have your legacy family featured in a future issue of Fairfield University Magazine, visit fairfield.edu/fla and share your legacy story.

Frank Figliuzzi ’84 A Vocation in the FBI


by Meredith Guinness hen Fr ank Figliuzzi ’84 applied for a job with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, an FBI agent sat down to have a heart-to-heart… with his wife. Figliuzzi and the former Coleen Button ’84 attended Fairfield together and had been married for years, but the Bureau needed to make sure she was prepared for what was to come. “It’s not a job; it’s a vocation,” said Figliuzzi, who retired as an assistant director after 25 years with the agency in 2012. “It’s a calling.” In fact, at age 11, Figliuzzi was spurred on by a spate of popular TV shows about law enforcement, and knew he wanted to bring bad guys to justice. From his home in New Fairfield, the pre-teen wrote to the FBI’s New Haven field office to ask how he could best prepare to become an agent. “And I got a response!” he said, laughing. “They said, ‘Here’s what you’ve got to do…’” At Fairfield, Figliuzzi explored the relationship between rules and community, snagging a job as a resident advisor and paying close attention in courses on politics and propaganda with veteran professors such as Carmen Donnarumma and Philip Eliasoph, PhD. “The Fairfield education was astounding,” he said. “And the Jesuits were masters at it.” After earning his BA in English literature with minors in communication and sociology, he headed to the University of Connecticut for a law degree, completing an FBI honors summer internship and a plum assignment with the Federal organized crime strike force in New Haven. He had topsecret clearance and argued motions against mobsters in court. “I just absolutely ate it all up,” said the father of two. After training at the FBI Academy at Quantico, Virginia, Figliuzzi stood before his

entire class in a time-honored ceremony – and opened the envelope that would reveal his first full-time assignment and determine the course of his career. He was assigned to counterintelligence and counterterrorism in Atlanta, Georgia. And so, the little boy from Connecticut who had dreamed of catching bad guys began tailing spies and terrorists, from the 1988 Democratic National Convention to the Olympic Games in Albertville, France and Barcelona, Spain. Figliuzzi went on to lead intricate doubleagent operations that pitted him against the Russian Foreign Intelligence Agency (“the SVR”). He was hand-picked for the postCold War economic espionage unit headed by Robert Hanssen, who was later exposed for secretly working with the Soviet Union and its successors. Sentenced to life in prison without parole in 2001, Hanssen is considered the most damaging spy in FBI history. Figliuzzi remembered hearing about the arrest of his unit chief while driving on the Florida Turnpike. Stunned by the betrayal, the veteran lawman had to pull his car over and collect himself. It was clear that Hanssen had exposed the double-agent case Figliuzzi had helped create. “I was shocked,” he said. “He was directly responsible for the deaths of 10 Russian individuals who were working for the U.S.” In the latter part of his 25-year FBI career, Figliuzzi worked in counterintelligence in Palo Alto, and led investigations from the San Francisco office into crimes against children. Called back to the nation’s capital, thenDirector Robert Mueller appointed Figliuzzi chief inspector overseeing internal affairs. He eventually rose to assistant director in charge of the counterintelligence division. Steeped in the ethics that govern the Bureau’s inner workings, Figliuzzi’s later assignments informed large sections of his new book, The FBI Way: Inside the Bureau’s Code of Excellence (Custom House, January 2021). His singular experience also led to

Steeped in the ethics that govern the Bureau’s inner workings, Figliuzzi’s later assignments informed large sections of his new book, The FBI Way: Inside the Bureau’s Code of Excellence.

a five-year post as assistant chief security officer for investigations and insider threat for General Electric’s 300,000 employees in 180 countries, and his ongoing stint as a national security contributor for NBC and MSNBC News. Figliuzzi’s time in the agency prepared him well for the turmoil of the past few years — from foreign relations to domestic extremism. Whether tracking child pornographers or hunting down terrorist movements in south Florida after the 9-11 attacks, he learned to remain focused on and committed to the gatekeeping, the “code keeping” that is the cornerstone of the FBI. “It’s the intersection of values and leadership,” he said. “It’s preserving what F matters most.” l At 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 30, Frank Figliuzzi ‘84 will deliver a free virtual lecture to the Fairfield University community titled “It Can’t Happen Here? Assessing the Rising Threat of Domestic Militias.” For details and to register, visit quickcenter.com.

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Alumni NOTES In Memoriam

Stephen A. MacGillvray ’82 — Nov. 20, 2020

Continued from previous page.

James J. (Coach) Keenan III ’83 — Dec. 23, 2020

Ronald R. Scobbo ’64 — Nov. 14, 2020 Richard C. Pecoraro ’66, MA’68 (GSEAP) — Oct. 25, 2020 David G. Lingua ’67 — Dec. 6, 2020 Peter W. Comerford ’68 — Nov. 28, 2020 Thomas E. Donovan Jr. ’68 — Dec. 8, 2020 Fr. Gerald J. Sabo, S.J. ’69 — Oct. 24, 2020 Lawrence P. Maher ’70 — Sept. 9, 2020 Douglas Gyurko ’71 — Dec. 2, 2020 Cathryn A. Camby ’78 — Dec. 19, 2020 William W. Bisch ’80 — Oct. 27, 2020 Richard E. Wenzel ’80 — Oct. 19, 2020

Teale A. Stevens ’83 — Nov. 11, 2020 Edward F. Flanagan ’88 — April 29, 2020 Rose A. (Schmenk) Giesken ’88 — Dec. 24, 2020


Colleen (Wilson) ’11 and Daniel Horstmann ’16 were married on October 10, 2020. The StagMates celebrated with more than 15 fellow Stags in attendance.

Timothy J. Lavelle ’90 — Nov. 2, 2020 Heatherly (Whelahan) Carlson ’96 — Sept. 7, 2020 MariaJosé MartinezSteinberg ’01 — Oct. 1, 2020 Christopher J. Martino ’03 — Dec. 10, 2020 Caitlin M. Davis ’05 — Oct. 31, 2020 Jennie A. (Proulx) Friese ’06 — Nov. 25, 2020 John V. Camuto ’12 — Dec. 2020 (Date N/A) Sarah Pak ’18 — Dec. 23, 2020

Leave a Legacy

Education is a Gift. Pass it on. By including Fairfield University in your estate plans, you can create a personal legacy that will support many generations of future students. For more information, please contact: Stacie Kelly, Senior Director of Planned Giving at 203-254-4020 or skelly1@fairfield.edu or visit fairfield.edu/plannedgiving

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Julia (Macina) ’09 and Jonathan Burns ’09 are the proud parents of daughter, Abigail Grace, born December 15, 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.


As a way to keep our alumni connected, no matter where life takes them after graduation, Fairfield University has established Regional Alumni Chapters throughout the United States.

G R A D U AT E S C H O O L S Nancy Dowling ’84, MA’87 of Bunnell High School in Stratford, Conn. was named High School Principal of the Year by the Connecticut Association of Schools. Jennifer Smith Turner MA’93, CT’02 was recognized by the NYC Big Book Award as a winner in the category of Women’s Fiction for her book Child Bride. This is the second national literary award Smith Turner has received for Child Bride; the debut novel was also named the best Ebook in fiction for 2020 by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association.


Jason R. Tibbetts Jr. MA’64 (GSEAP) — Nov. 26, 2020 Sr. Mary E. Gleason MA’66, MA’70 (GSEAP) — Sept. 3, 2020

BOSTON Margaret (Maggie) Smith ’12 margaret.smith921@gmail.com

NORTHERN NEW JERSEY Sean Knightly ’13 sean@knightlyagency.com

Richard J. Barone Sr. ’60, MA’70 (GSEAP) — Oct. 3, 2020

CHICAGO Colbey Stabell ’16 colbey.stabell@gmail.com

PHILADELPHIA Robert Hoey ’05 rthoey@janney.com

Rev. John F. Dias MA’70 (GSEAP) — Nov. 20, 2020

Christopher Young ’16 cfyoung313@gmail.com

Matthew McAndrew ’06 matt.mcandrew1@gmail.com

Sr. Mary L. Lorenz MA’70 (GSEAP) — Dec. 13, 2020

FAIRFIELD/ WESTCHESTER COUNTIES Mary Kelly ’02 marykelly02@yahoo.com

SAN FRANCISCO Carrick Higgins ’15 higginscj@hotmail.com

Richard C. Pecoraro ’66, MA’68 (GSEAP) — Oct. 25, 2020

Sr. Mary C. Lojewski MA’71 (GSEAP) — Nov. 7, 2020 Peter F. Meah ’63, MA’71 (GSEAP) — Nov. 26, 2020

Grace (Miceli) Flanagan ’09, MS’10 and Joseph Flanagan ’09 — son, Joseph Charles, Aug. 25, 2020

Barbara (Mandel) Ivler MA’72 (GSC&PC) — Oct. 2, 2020

In Memoriam

Jacqueline (Watson) Dayton MA’75 (GSEAP) — Oct. 2, 2020

Veronica (Connors) Hendrick MA’58 (GSEAP) — Nov. 29, 2020

Ruth (Coates) Wodock CAS’75 (GSEAP) — Nov. 10, 2020

Angelo L. Cardella MA’59, CAS’62 (GSEAP) — Nov. 8, 2020

Barbara M. (Williams) Lombardo MA’76 (GSEAP) — Nov. 25, 2020

Lillian M. (Adley) Germain MA’60 (GSEAP) — Oct. 17, 2020 Robert E. Roche ’55, MA’60, CT’66 (GSEAP) — Nov. 11, 2020 Patricia J. (Dudley) Silski MA’61 (GSEAP) — Oct. 23, 2020 Barbara J. (Smith) Sheppard CAS’62 (GSEAP) — Dec. 10, 2020 Earl B. Slater Jr. MA’62 (GSEAP) — Oct. 27, 2020 Rev. Mark A. Hirniak MA’64 (GSEAP) — Nov. 20, 2020

There are 9 across the country: from Boston to Washington, D.C. alphabetically, and from Boston to San Francisco, geographically. Feel free to reach out to any of these alumni volunteers if you have an idea for an event or want to get involved. Or, contact Fairfield’s Office of Alumni Relations at alumni@fairfield.edu or at (203) 254-4000, ext. 2614. Want to know what’s coming up in your area? Keep an eye on our events calendar or visit your Chapter’s Facebook Page.

HARTFORD alumni@fairfield.edu NEW YORK CITY Katherine Gillette ’15 ktgillette15@gmail.com

Emily Jedinak ’12 emily.jedinak@comcast.net WASHINGTON, D.C. alumni@fairfield.edu

Edward White MA’74 (GSEAP) — Nov. 20, 2020

Francis Cesaroni MA’77 (GSEAP) — Oct. 4, 2020 Dennis P. Kearns MA’80 (GSEAP) — Oct. 4, 2020 Sr. James P. Kavanagh MA’83 (GSEAP) — Oct. 24, 2020 Brian J. Knowles MA’83 (GSC&PC), MA’04 (GSEAP) — Dec. 3, 2020 Arthur F. Martorella MA’85 (GSEAP) — Nov. 12, 2020

Do you own your own business and want to let your fellow alumni know about the work that you do? Create your personal virtual “business card” in Fairfield’s new, exclusive

ALUMNI-OWNED BUSINESS DIRECTORY Business cards will include your name and class year, a brief description of your company, contact information, and the opportunity to offer a special discount available only to Alumni. Visit fairfield.edu/registeryourbusiness to register and activate your account and complete the profile.

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Alumni NOTES



In Memoriam Continued from previous page. Maureen Shannon CAS’85 (GSEAP) — May 31, 2020 Tammy McVey-Camilleri MA’86 (GSC&PC) — Oct. 12, 2020

Brian J. Knowles MA’83 (GSC&PC), MA’04 (GSEAP) — Dec. 3, 2020 Emily A. Belval MA’15, CAS’16 (GSEAP) — Oct. 17, 2020 Timothy G. Dorr MS’16 (CAS) — Oct. 19, 2020

Mary Ann (Downing) Matthews MA’88 (GSEAP) — Nov. 21, 2020 Ann (McArdle) Leroux MA’91 (GSEAP) — Nov. 7, 2020 Barbara (Rende) Carriero MA’96 (GSEAP) — Nov. 30, 2020 Teresa M. Lacaria MBA’00 (DSB) — Sept. 7, 2020 Randall J. Wade Jr. MA’03 (GSEAP) — Dec. 13, 2020

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Kelly (Flynn) ’14 and Joseph Dunn ’14 with their new puppy, Olive. From neighbors in Dolan Hall to #StagMates, they celebrated their nuptials virtually with family and friends watching online! 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.


Fairfield University Alumni Association alumni@fairfield.edu | 203-254-4280 Visit fairfield.edu/alumnievents for complete information. Please visit our website for the most current information about alumni events.

Quick Center for the Arts 203-254-4010 Follow us! @FairfieldQuick Visit quickcenter.com for complete information. LECTURES: Open VISIONS Forum | Bank of America Women and Leadership Series Tara Westover Author of Educated TUES., MARCH 16 | 7:30 P.M.

Tara Westover Fredrickson Family Innovation Lab Laura Splan Part I: “Unfolding Narratives: Mining the Biotechnological Imaginary” MON., MARCH 17 | 7 P.M.

OVF: Espresso Donald Rattner “My Creative Space: How to Design Your Living Spaces” TUES., MARCH 23 | 7:30 P.M. Fredrickson Family Innovation Lab Laura Splan Part II: “Tickling the Bonds: Creative Engagement with Molecular Visualization Tools” MON., MARCH 24 | 7 P.M. OVF: Espresso Frank Figliuzzi ’84 “It Can’t Happen Here? Assessing the Threat of Domestic Extremist Groups” TUES., MARCH 30 | 7:30 P.M. OVF: Espresso Sabine Nikolay “From Vienna to Woodstock: A European Look at Rock Culture Myths & History” TUES., APRIL 6 | 3 P.M.

LECTURES: “Marsden Hartley, Painter of Birds” WED., FEBRUARY 10 | 6 P.M. “Birding While Black” TUES., MARCH 2 | 5 P.M. “Nature’s Best Hope” TUES., MARCH 23 | 4 P.M. Orin Grossman, PhD MUSIC: Sphinx Virtuosi SUN., MARCH 14 | 3 P.M. Orin Grossman, PhD Europe: Iberia II (Iberia 5, 7, 8) FRI., MARCH 19 | 4 P.M. Orin Grossman, PhD USA: Gershwin, Rhapsody in Blue FRI., MARCH 26 | 4 P.M.

Classical Studies Lecture Jessica Lamont “Sickness and Health in Ancient Greece” MON., APRIL 12 | 5 P.M.

The Fairfield University Art Museum

Jessica Mindich #UNLOAD Foundation TUES., APRIL 13 | 7 P.M.

museum@fairfield.edu | 203-254-4046 Visit fairfield.edu/museum for complete information.

OVF: Espresso Kay Cosgrove ’07, PhD “Painters and Poets: Unity of Nature Past and Present” WED., APRIL 21 | 7:30 P.M.


THEATRE: Global Theatre Series Six Feet THURS., MARCH 25 | 7:30 P.M. DANCE: Connecticut Dance Alliance MON., MARCH 1 | 6 P.M. MON., APRIL 19 | 6 P.M. MON., MAY 17 |6 P.M.

“Rara Avis: John James Audubon: Artist, Naturalist, & Early Conservationist” WED., APRIL 14 | 5 P.M. “Women, Status, and the Family Code in Morocco” TUES., APRIL 20 | 5 P.M. ART IN FOCUS: Augustus of Prima Porta THURS., MARCH 18 | 11 A.M. Diptych: Scenes from the Life of Christ and the Virgin THURS., APRIL 15 | 11 A.M. Harem Revisited #31 THURS., MAY 20 | 11 A.M. MINDFULNESS MEDITATION: MON., MARCH 8| 6 P.M. MON., MARCH 15| 6 P.M. MON., MARCH 22| 6 P.M. MON., MARCH 29| 6 P.M.

Birds of the Northeast: Gulls to Great Auks NOW THROUGH MAY 14 By Design: Theater and Fashion in the Photography of Lalla Essaydi NOW THROUGH MAY 21

A cropped version of Ann Craven’s Passenger Pigeons, Again (Extinct, after Audubon), 2019, oil on canvas. Courtesy of the artist and Southard Reid, London.

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Meet Mairin Lane ’16


hen first contemplating her next steps after high school, Mairin Lane’s top priority was to venture far from home. “I am from Montvale, New Jersey, so initially I was only considering colleges on the West Coast.” It was her StagMate parents, Tim and Rose (Mulvey) Lane ’85, P’16,’24 who convinced her to include Fairfield on her list of college choices, because of their own great experiences as Stags and their strong connection with the University’s Jesuit values. Lane ’16 remembered having visited Stag Country briefly as a young girl, but only after touring the University as a prospective college student did she know “that Fairfield was where I would spend the next four years of my life.” To make the most of her Fairfield experience, Lane immersed herself in the University community; she joined the women’s rugby club, worked at the WVOF campus radio station — advancing to station manager by her senior year, and made her first gift to the University as a senior, in honor of her Fairfield experiences. “These were such great opportunities that helped me learn a lot about myself and make meaningful connections with friends that I still keep in touch with today,” she said. Her varied experiences, as well as the Jesuit values interwoven into her academic and recreational activities, inspired Lane to stay

engaged with the University after graduation. In 2016, after receiving her BA in politics with minors in environmental studies and French, Lane remained close by, moving to New York City to begin her career at Morgan Stanley. Currently, in her role as senior event coordinator of conferences and events for the New York office of the Managed Funds Association, she said, “I help manage and execute the company’s global conferences, seminars, and forums, as well as cultivate relationships with our event sponsors and partners.” While finding success in her career development, Lane also makes time to enjoy hobbies like

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“The Fairfield network is important, and alumni are always excited to meet fellow Stags, so make as many connections as you can and stay in touch.” golfing, discovering new cuisines, traveling, and spending time with family and friends — including the lifelong ones she made during her time at Fairfield. “I am still very connected with the University and my fellow Stags — I have been back for Alumni & Family Weekends, lots of rugby games, and I plan on continuing to visit because my youngest brother, Tom [Lane ’24], just began his Stag journey as a first-year student.” Lane has also dedicated her time to Fairfield, volunteering as a committee member for the Fairfield Awards Dinner and for her fifth reunion class, as well as recently joining the newly launched Women’s Leadership Council. “I just cannot believe I am coming up on my fifth year as a young alumna,” she said. “I felt like there was no better time than now to step up and give back to the University because we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of women at Fairfield, and my brother just started going there.” As a young alumna, Lane hopes to continue to strengthen her involvement with the

University. “Regardless of what the circumstances are in June 2021 around the pandemic, I am very much looking forward to connecting with my reunion class, whether it’s virtual or in-person.” She also hopes to continue supporting the University’s strategic priorities with donations and volunteerism. She recently gave to the University’s Stags for Stags initiative to provide immediate support to students’ most urgent needs during the pandemic. “If we want Fairfield to continue overcoming obstacles, providing quality experiences to students and strengthening its programming and offerings, that takes hard work and financial support, and I think it’s important for alumni like me to help with efforts like Stags for Stags in order to propel the next generation forward.” For current Fairfield students and alumni, Lane wants them to remember that “the Fairfield network is important, and alumni are always excited to meet fellow Stags, so make as many connections as you can and stay in F touch.” l

Your Giving Matters

Last March, your outpouring of concern inspired us to create the Stags for Stags initiative, bringing our community together to ensure that regardless of any challenge, our students have access to the same quality Jesuit education we have provided for over 75 years. More than a thousand alumni, parents, and friends have made Stags for Stags gifts to provide financial aid to our students who need it most, and to enhance academic programming, improve access to health and counseling services, and nurture the spiritual growth of all students.

Thank you for being men and women for others, and for your continued support. Like Mairin Lane ’16, you believe in Fairfield and our Jesuit traditions. For more information about Stags for Stags or to make a gift, please visit fairfield.edu/stagsforstags.

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Mark your calendar to join us in coming together as Stags for Stags during our seventh annual STAGiving Day!

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