Fairfield University

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Fairfield University
Fairfield University seal.svg
Latin: Universitas Fairfieldensis
Former names
Fairfield University of
St. Robert Bellarmine (1942-1944)
Motto Per Fidem ad Plenam Veritatem (Latin)
Motto in English
Through Faith to the Fullness of Truth
Type Private, nonprofit, research
Established 1942
Affiliation Roman Catholic (Jesuit)
Endowment $172.9 million (FY 2016)[1]
Chairman Frank J. Carroll, III '89[2]
President Mark R. Nemec
Provost Christine Siegel (Interim)[3]
Academic staff
583 total (375 FTE)[1]
Students 4,559 FTE[1]
Undergraduates 3,879 FTE[1]
Postgraduates 680 FTE[1]
Location Fairfield, Connecticut, U.S.
Coordinates: 41°9′36.61″N 73°15′29.04″W / 41.1601694°N 73.2580667°W / 41.1601694; -73.2580667
Campus Suburban - 200 acres (80.9 ha)
Fight song "Hail Stags"
Colors Cardinal and White[4]
Athletics NCAA Division IMAAC
Nickname Stags / Lady Stags
Mascot Lucas the Stag
Website www.fairfield.edu
Fairfield University.svg
Main Entrance and Alumni House

Fairfield University is a private, co-educational university in Fairfield, Connecticut. It was founded by the Society of Jesus in 1942, and today is one of 28 member institutions of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities.

As of 2016, the university had about 3,800 full-time undergraduate students and 1,100 graduate students (full-time and part-time) in its five schools and colleges: the Fairfield University College of Arts and Sciences, the Charles F. Dolan School of Business, the School of Engineering, the Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies, and the Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions.[1]

History and tradition


St. Robert Bellarmine, S.J., Patron Saint of Fairfield University

The Society of Jesus founded Fairfield University in 1942 when the Jesuits acquired the two contiguous estates of the Brewster Jennings and Walter Lashar families. In the same year the Rev. James H. Dolan, S.J., the Provincial Superior of the New England Jesuit Province appointed the Rev. John J. McEleney, S.J. the first President of the "Fairfield University of Saint Robert Bellarmine, S.J." and Vicar of the Fairfield College Preparatory School. In 1944, the Rev. James H. Dolan, S.J. became the second President. During his tenure, the State of Connecticut chartered Fairfield University to grant degrees in 1945; the College of Arts and Sciences admitted its first class of 303 male students in 1947; the State of Connecticut accredited the College of Arts and Sciences and the University held its first summer session of undergraduate courses in 1949.

Presidents of Fairfield
Years President
1942–1944 John J. McEleney, S.J.
1944–1951 James H. Dolan, S.J.
1951–1958 Joseph D. FitzGerald, S.J.
1958–1964 James E. FitzGerald, S.J.
1964–1973 William C. McInnes, S.J.
1973–1979 Thomas R. Fitzgerald, S.J.
1979–2004 Aloysius P. Kelley, S.J.
2004–2016 Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J.
2016–2017 Lynn M. Babington (Interim)
2017- Mark R. Nemec

In 1971, Fairfield University won a significant legal victory at the Supreme Court of the United States in Tilton vs. Richardson establishing an important legal precedent concerning the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and government financial assistance to religious-based colleges and universities.[5] This landmark court case questioned the legality of Fairfield and three other Connecticut religious-based institutions securing federal construction grants under the Higher Education Facilities Act of 1963. An appeal by the plaintiffs was denied by the Supreme Court on June 28, 1971, ensuring Fairfield a significant amount of federal money which contributed to the construction of the Nyselius Library (1968) and Bannow Science Center (1971).[6] In the majority opinion, the Court upheld, 5–4, the federal construction grants as long as the facilities were not to be used for sectarian instruction or places of worship.[5] The Court held that the church-related institutions in question had not used their federally funded facilities for religious activities, and that the facilities were "indistinguishable from a typical state university facility."[5]

Fairfield has been a frequent stop of candidates for President of the United States throughout several presidential campaigns. During the 1984 presidential election, President Ronald Reagan visited Fairfield on October 26, 1984. During the 1988 presidential election, George H. Bush visited the university and delivered a speech in Alumni Hall attacking the tax-and-budget policies of then Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis days before being elected the 41st president. During the 2000 United States presidential election, Texas Governor George W. Bush scheduled and controversially cancelled at the last moment a large student rally at Fairfield following a visit to Bob Jones University, a school that has been characterized as anti-Catholic. Alumnus Thomas J. Josefiak served as general counsel to both the 55th Presidential Inaugural Committee and later served as general counsel to the Bush presidential campaign during the 2004 election.

A detailed account of the history of Fairfield University was written by the Rev. Joseph MacDonnell, S.J. in his book entitled If these Stones Could Speak.[7] Further, a brief history of "The Jesuits in Fairfield" can be found on The Fairfield Jesuit Community website.[8]

In September 2000, Charles F. Dolan H'04, founder of HBO and chairman of Cablevision, donated $25 million to the renamed Charles F. Dolan School of Business.[9]

In September 2004, von Arx announced that the capital campaign, "Our Promise: The Campaign for Fairfield University," launched and led by the Rev. Aloysius P. Kelley, S.J., raised a record $137.9 million. The capital raised resulted in the construction and renovation of seven buildings, the creation of four new academic chairs, and the significant increase in the University's endowment.

In October 2006, von Arx, Kelley, and Paul J. Huston '82, chairman of the Board of Trustees, dedicated the Aloysius P. Kelley. S.J. Center, a new environmentally friendly, state-of-the-art welcoming center for prospective students and a "one-stop shopping" administrative center for current students.[10]


Bellarmine Hall

The median SAT score of first year students for the Classes of 2015 through 2020 has ranged between 1750 to 1780 (out of 2400). The graduation rate for the Classes of 2010 through 2017 has ranged from 81% to 84%.[1] The significant majority of undergraduates are from the northeastern United States (Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey having the largest number of incoming students in the Class of 2020), but other states and foreign nations are represented as well.[1]

Among undergraduates, the most popular majors are Communication, Psychology, Biology, Marketing, Accounting, Finance, Business, Engineering, and Nursing.[1] In 2015-16, the university awarded some 509 master's and doctoral degrees, including 28 Doctor of Nursing Practice degrees.[1] As of fall 2016, some 90% of full-time faculty have a doctorate; 2.6% have a terminal master's, and 6.6% have a master's.[1]

There are five colleges and schools: the College of Arts and Sciences, the Charles F. Dolan School of Business, the School of Engineering, the Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies, and the Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions.[1]

Some 65 Fairfield students have been awarded Fulbright Scholarships.[11] Fairfield was awarded a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa in 1994.[12][13]

Egan Chapel of St. Ignatius Loyola

Centers at the university include the Center for Faith and Public Life (founded in 2005); the Center for Catholic Studies;[14] and the Carl and Dorothy Bennett Center for Judaic Studies (founded in 1994).[15]

Dolan House, International Programs Center

A spring 2017 survey of top college administrators conducted by U.S. News & World Report ranked Fairfield University as #3 among Northern "Regional Universities" for service learning programs.[16] In 2016, Times Higher Education and World University Rankings identified Fairfield as one of 20 universities in the world that could "challenge the elite universities" and become globally renowned by the year 2030.[17]


As of 2016, the university had about 3,800 full-time undergraduate students and 1,100 graduate students (full-time and part-time). As of fall 2016, about 78.1% of full-time undergraduates were white, 7.8% were Hispanic of any race, 5% had unknown ethnicity, 2.5% were black or African American and 2.2% were Asian.[1] As of fall 2016, there were about 119 international students in the undergraduate class (including non-degree-seeking and part-time international students) and 163 international graduate students.[1]

Tuition and fees

Tuition and fees (excluding room and board) has annually increased by between 2.0% and 4.1% per year from 2008 to 2017, going from $36,075 in the 2008-09 academic year to $45,350 in the 2016-17 academic year. Over the period 2009 to 2017, between 58% and 85% of full-time undergraduates received some form of scholarship or grant funding, and between 58% and 68% of graduating seniors had taken out student loans at some point.[1]

Arts and enrichment

Quick Center For the Arts

Quick Center for the Arts

The Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts is the major center of theatre and the arts at Fairfield.[18] The center opened in 1990 and hosts events such as popular and classical music, dance, theatre, and programs for young audiences. It houses the 740-seat Kelley Theatre, the 150-seat Lawrence A. Wien Experimental (Black Box) Theatre, and the Thomas J. Walsh, Jr. Art Gallery.[19]

The center is home to the Open VISIONS Forum, which under the direction of Dr. Philip Eliasoph brings a wide range of speakers to campus to participate in an dialogue about topical issues.[20]

Fairfield University Art Museum

The Fairfield University Art Museum, opened in October 2010, is located in a 1920s Tudor mansion. The Museum features four galleries with about 2,700 square feet (250 m2) of space. Its main gallery, The Frank and Clara Meditz Gallery, is named in honor of the parents of the lead donor to the project, University Trustee John Meditz '70.[21]

Theatre Fairfield

Theatre Fairfield is the resident production company of the Theatre Program of the Department of Visual & Performing Arts at the university. Theatre Fairfield's season includes professionally directed and designed productions; a Festival of student-written, directed, and designed plays; performances by On the Spot, an improv company; Director's Cut or A Class Act which features the work of advanced directing and acting students; and independent projects created by junior and senior theatre majors.[22] The PepsiCo Theatre, a renovated 1922 carriage house, is the home to Theatre Fairfield. This theatrical facility includes a 70-seat flexible black box theatre, coffeehouse, dance studio, design studio and costume shop/dressing room.[23] Veterans of Theatre Fairfield include Paul Marcarelli '92 and January LaVoy '97.


Fairfield University is a member of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) and is classified as Division 1 in the National Collegiate Athletic Association for a majority of its athletic programs. it sponsors 20 varsity sports – baseball, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's crew, men's and women's cross country, field hockey, men's and women's golf, men's and women's lacrosse, men's and women's soccer, softball, men's and women's swimming and diving, men's and women's tennis, and women's volleyball. Men's lacrosse is a member of the Colonial Athletic Association and field hockey is an associate member of the America East Conference.

Athletic success

The Stags' most notable success in athletics has been in basketball, lacrosse, soccer and volleyball. The men's basketball team held a half time lead over the number 1 seed University of North Carolina Tar Heels before falling short in the 1997 NCAA Men's Basketball Championship tournament. Darren Phillip '00 was the nation's top rebounder averaging 14 rebounds per game in 1999–00 and Deng Gai '05 was the nation's top shot blocker averaging 5.5 blocks per game in 2004–05. On March 16, 2010, during the first round of the 2010 CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT) men's basketball set the national record for the largest comeback in division I college basketball postseason history by overcoming a 27-point deficit with under 16 minutes to play to defeat George Mason in overtime, 101–96. The Stags were led by Mike Evanovich who finished with a career-high 32 points and a school record nine three-pointers including one with 0.9 seconds in regulation to send the game into overtime.[24] And at the conclusion of 2010 season, head coach Ed Cooley was named the Ben Jobe National Coach of the Year. The former women's basketball head coach, Diane Nolan, achieved her 500th career win in 2005–06 and led the Stags to four post-season bids to the NCAA Women's Basketball Championship in 1988, 1991, 1998 and 2001.

The men's lacrosse team earned berths to the 2003 and 2005 NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship tournaments while the women won 7 MAAC Regular Season Titles in the last decade and earned a berth to the 2009 and 2015 NCAA Women's Lacrosse Championship. On April 21, 2013, men's lacrosse set the school record for the defeat of the highest ranked opponent when the Stags upset the then no. 1 nationally ranked Denver Pioneers 9-8.[25] The previous record was set on March 13, 2010, when the Stags upset the then no. 3 nationally ranked (and eventual 2010 NCAA tournament runner-up) Notre Dame Fighting Irish 10–8 while competing in the inaugural 'Beating Cancer With A Stick Classic' at The Kinkaid School in Houston, Texas.[26]

The men's soccer team won the 2005, 2006 and 2011 MAAC Regular Season Championship as well as the 1999, 2006, 2008 and 2011 MAAC Tournament Championship. The 2006 MAAC Championship earned the team a First round NCAA Tournament Game with University of Connecticut. In 2011 the Stags went unbeaten in MAAC conference play, and won the MAAC Championship. In 2012 Fairfield's goalkeeper, Michael O'Keeffe, was called into the New Zealand Olympic squad. The women's soccer team has advanced to the NCAA Women's Soccer Championship five times, most recently in 2005 and 2008, and has won the MAAC Championship seven times since 1993. And the women's volleyball team was nationally ranked in 1998 (24th) and 1999 (32nd) and competed in five straight NCAA Women's Volleyball Championships between 1997 and 2001.[27]

Sport clubs

Sport Clubs offer a competitive athletic opportunity for students including baseball, equestrian, men's and women's ice hockey, martial arts, men's and women's rugby, sailing, men's and women's skiing and snowboarding, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's track and men's and women's volleyball.[28] The Men's Rugby Football Club or Red Ruggers, established in 1963, is the longest continuously running sport club at Fairfield University. The Red Ruggers won the 2008 MET NY Rugby Football Union Division II Title and have produced two USA Rugby Collegiate All-Americans.[29] Former Red Ruggers Paul Sheehy '81 competed for the USA Eagles at the 1991 Rugby World Cup and Will Brazier '05 competed for the United States national rugby league team at the 2004 Liberty Bell Cup.[30] The Equestrian Club was Regional Champions in 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2002, & 2003 and in 2007 seven Fairfield riders were invited to the elite Tournament of Champions, a horse show for the nation's top collegiate equestrian teams.[31] The Men's Hockey Club (formerly an NCAA level Division I program of the now-defunct MAAC) competed in the 2007 MCHC Championship game and the 2008 ACHA National Tournament.[32] The Men's Volleyball Club won the 2006 and 2007 New England Collegiate Volleyball League Division II Championship and competed in the 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006 and 2008 National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA) Volleyball Championships.[33]

Campus and region

Bellarmine Pond

The university is situated on a pastoral campus offering scenic views of Long Island Sound and all the amenities of a major, comprehensive university in a setting of rolling hills, sprawling lawns, picturesque ponds, and bucolic wooded areas-a setting ideal for education. Fairfield's 200-acre (0.81 km2) campus consists of 35 buildings anchored by the three manor homes of the original estates: Bellarmine Hall (1921), formerly the Lashar's 'Hearthstone Hall', renamed to honor Saint Robert Bellarmine, S.J,; McAuliffe Hall (1896), originally O.G. Jennings' 'Mailands', renamed for Bishop Maurice F. McAuliffe, who sanctioned the creation of Fairfield University; and David J. Dolan House, Lawrence Jenning's 'Larribee', dedicated to honor the uncle of Charles F. Dolan who made the 1989 acquisition of Dolan Campus possible. Along with Bellarmine Hall, named in honor of Saint Robert Bellarmine, S.J, many of the buildings on the campus are named in honor of Jesuit priests. Behind each building name is a story of a Jesuit priest who was an exemplar of the Jesuit mission and their pursuit of educational and intellectual contributions, human rights and social justice.[34]

DiMenna-Nyselius Library

DiMenna-Nyselius Library

Built in 1968, the DiMenna-Nyselius Library originally was named the Nyselius Library in honor of benefactors Gustav and Dagmar Nyselius. They were Swedish immigrants who had settled in Stamford and wanted to make a donation to Fairfield University to repay in part the kindness of their adoptive country. In 2001, the Library underwent a major renovation and expansion and was renamed the DiMenna-Nyselius Library in recognition of a donation from alumnus Joseph A. DiMenna, Jr. '80.

In March 2010, a strong Nor'easter storm peeled back a roughly 120’ x 30–40’ section of the roof along the parking lot side of the library building, destroying 2,583 books—some of which were out of print. The worst-damaged sections were the ones on Shakespeare, film, modern languages, science and social science. The minimum estimated value of the books was $88,519.41.[35]

Environmental sustainability

Jesuit Center Roof Garden

In 2007, the university opened a $9.5 million combustion turbine-based combined heat and power plant on its campus with a capacity of 4.6 MW; the university was honored by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with a 2010 Energy Star CHP Award for the project.[36]

In 2008, university president von Arx signed the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment, a high-visibility effort to address global warming by garnering institutional commitments to neutralize greenhouse gas emissions, and to accelerate the climate change mitigation efforts in research and education.[37]

In 2011, a new $12.5 million, 22,000-square-foot contemporary-style home for the Jesuit priests of Fairfield University (then numbering 22) was completed; the building is located near the center of campus and contains sustainable elements.[38]

In August 2009, Fairfield University became the first university in the United States to install Tomra UNO reverse vending machines (RVM), an all-in-one recycling machine for bottle deposits.[39]


The university runs a shuttle between campus and downtown.

Publications and media

The Fairfield Mirror is the independent student newspaper of Fairfield University, WVOF is the student-operated radio station, and StagsTV is the university's student-run television on YouTube.

The Media Center is a 15,000-square-foot (1,400 m2) facility located on the ground floor of Xavier Hall that houses the Film Television and Media Arts major (FTM), the Campus Television Network, and the student run HAM Channel. It operates a 32-foot (9.8 m) television production satellite uplink truck that can transmit and receive digitally encoded television signals from geostationary domestic satellites.


John C. Dolan Hall

Student life

Community service

The goal of Jesuit education is homines pro aliis, “men and women for others”. As a result, Fairfield students are involved in many community service opportunities. Fairfield was among just 119 colleges in the nation named to the Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement in 2008.[40] Further, the University was named to the 2009 and 2010 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll by the Learn and Serve America Program of the Corporation for National and Community Service.[41]

Locally, the award-winning Annual Hunger Clean Up is a one-day service-a-thon where the entire university community joins together to work at 40-plus local agency sites throughout Fairfield County and to raise money for local and national hunger and homelessness causes.[42] The Fairfield chapter of Colleges Against Cancer hosts an annual American Cancer Society Relay for Life, an overnight event designed to spread awareness of cancer prevention, treatments and cures, celebrate cancer survivors and raise money for cancer research.[43] The Adrienne Kirby Family Literacy Project, recognized as a model program by the Corporation for National and Community Service, involves about 175 Fairfield student-volunteers a year in providing individual tutoring to preschool children at the Action for Bridgeport Community Development's Early Learning/Head Start Program.[44]

Internationally, Ignatian Solidarity Corps volunteers annually participate in two-week international service trips during their spring and winter breaks traveling to Ecuador[45] Mexico, Jamaica, Belize and Haiti. In 2004, Mikaela Conley '06 and Aamina Awan '07 founded The Afghan Children's Project to raise awareness and funds for children who have suffered the effects of war, violence, and poverty in the heart of Afghanistan.[46] Both were interviewed on CNN Daybreak in August 2005 for their work in funding the building of a water well for Aloudine, a small village outside Kabul, desperate for clean drinking water.[47] And in 2008, nine Fairfield students, inspired by 2006 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank, started Sustainable Equity for Women, a micro-lending project designed to raise and invest money in small businesses run by women in developing countries in conjunction with Kiva Microfunds.[48]

John A. Barone Campus Center

Fairfield University Student Association

The Fairfield University Student Association (FUSA) is the official student association for full-time undergraduate students and is the largest student organization on campus.[49] The association exists to represent student issues and concerns to the faculty and administration and to sponsor a multitude of student programs and activities. All full-time undergraduate students are members. The association is organized into four branches – legislative', programming, marketing and council of student officers. The legislative branch consists of the Student Senate, comprising 20 elected representatives (5 from each undergraduate class year). The executive branch is headed by the popularly elected President of FUSA, who serves as the official spokesperson for undergraduate students in addition to administering the student association on a daily basis. In 2002, Karen Donoghue '03 became the first woman elected President of FUSA.[50] The FUSA President is assisted by a popularly elected Vice President, elected class officers, and a number of other appointed officers, including the Chair of Programming, the Chair of the Council of Student Organizations(COSO), the Chair of Marketing, and Secretary of the Treasury. The judicial branch, known as the Student Court, serves as a hearing body in certain student conduct cases, as well as performing the judicial functions required for the student association.[51]

Student activism

A central tenet of a Jesuit education is the promotion of the values of peace and social justice.[52] Fairfield University students have embraced and reflected these values in their own student activism. In 1988, 1989 and 1990, the Coalition for a Better World constructed "Cardboard City" and held a 36-hour vigil,[53] and again in 2008, the Students for Social Justice similarly constructed "Homeless Village" and hosted the "Oxfam Hunger Banquet" to raise awareness of the plight of the homeless in the United States.[54] In 1999, students staged an 11-hour sit-in at the home of the university president and later a hunger strike to protest a contracting company used by the university that the students said was anti-union and paid janitors poorly.[55] Each year, the Students for Social Justice travel to Columbus, Georgia for the annual School of the Americas Watch protest at a combat training school for Latin American soldiers now known as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. The date of the protest marks the anniversary of the murder of six Jesuit priests, their maid, and her daughter in El Salvador at the hands of soldiers trained at the School of the Americas.[56] And in 2008, Fairfield for Peace NOW created "Hope Trail", a pathway of flags around campus symbolizing the cost in life and casualties from the Iraq War,[57] and "A Cry For Peace", a play written and performed with Theatre Fairfield demonstrating the toll of the Iraq War on the families of soldiers back in the United States.[58]

Student media

Fairfield Ham Channel logo.png
  • StagsTV – The Student Television Station of Fairfield University
  • The Mirror – The Independent Student Newspaper of Fairfield University
  • WVOF – The Voice of Fairfield University

Notable alumni


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  30. ^ Life Photo: Will Brazier, Philips Kangaroos v USA Tomahawks. Retrieved March 27, 2011.
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  32. ^ Men's Hockey Club Archived July 23, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
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  45. ^ Fairfield students provide aid in Ecuador[dead link]
  46. ^ "The Afghan Children's Project: Background". Afghanchildrensproject.org. Archived from the original on October 4, 2011. Retrieved November 14, 2011. 
  47. ^ "A Well That Runs Deep" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 5, 2012. Retrieved November 14, 2011. 
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  54. ^ Food for thought: Students for Social Justice host Hunger Banquet Archived April 5, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  55. ^ Greenhouse, Steven (November 13, 1999). "Six Students End Hunger Strike After Fairfield Drops Contractor". New York Times. Retrieved November 14, 2011. 
  56. ^ "Fairfield University: Social Justice: School of the Americas Protest". Fairfield University. Archived from the original on September 10, 2011. Retrieved November 14, 2011. 
  57. ^ "Fairfield University students erect symbols of Iraq war casualties". Fairfield University. April 8, 2008. Archived from the original on August 1, 2012. Retrieved November 14, 2011. 
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External links

  • Official website
  • Official athletics website
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