Memorial Scholarships – honoring and celebrating the lives of Fairfield University alumni.

Memorial Scholarships – honoring and celebrating the lives of Fairfield University alumni.

by Virginia Weir

Like other types of endowments, scholarships made in the memory of a member of the Fairfield community perpetuate the University’s mission. At the same time, they serve for family and friends as a way of honoring what was important in the life of their loved one – namely, the education and community of friendships they developed at Fairfield. “The scholarship is a reflection of the importance of Fairfield in my brother’s life,” said Jamey Cappello ’94 of the scholarship founded in memory of Jonathan Cappello ’00, who was killed in the events of September 11, 2001.

In addition to substantial major individual gifts, some funds have been augmented by annual charity golf outings and other fundraisers. The gatherings have provided opportunities for alumni, friends, and families to come together and share stories, renew friendships, and celebrate the memories of those they love.

Remembering alumni from 9-11

Among the University’s 53 endowed memorial scholarships, four have been established in honor of Fairfield alumni who died on 9-11.

Jim and Linda Slattery, parents of Chris Slattery ’92, an employee at the firm of Cantor Fitzgerald, recognized the outpouring of affection from friends, family, and coworkers. They decided to establish a foundation in honor of Chris – the funds of which support scholarships for students attending Chris’ high school in Mineola, N.Y., and the Christopher Slattery ’92 Fairfield Memorial Scholarship at Fairfield University, where Chris was a history major.

In addition to individual gifts, another source of foundation income has been the annual Chris Slattery Golf Classic, held for the seventh year this summer. “To know Chris was to love him,” said Chris’ father, Jim. “He had a huge number of friends, and something he enjoyed doing with a lot of them was playing golf – so it was a natural that we would stage a golf outing in his name.” The golf tournament maintains a Web site at www.chrisslatterygolfclassic.com.

The Fund, now approaching $800,000, has supported 14 students since it was founded. James Skane ’12, a nursing major, wrote recently to Jim Slattery:

“I cannot thank you enough. Your gift has truly been a substantial help in financing my education at Fairfield. I have appreciated every moment that I’ve spent on campus. I also would like to thank you for giving me the honor of being associated with Christopher. His fun-loving nature and caring personality were rarities in the world and characteristics that I strive to emulate daily. Thank you again for this honor and generous gift.”

Members of the Class of 1986 recently established the H. Joseph Heller and Michael P. Lunden ’86 Memorial Scholarship in memory of Joe Heller ’86, who was a commodities broker at Carr Futures, and Michael Lunden ’86, a Cantor Fitzgerald employee. During college, Heller and Lunden lived together with eight other Fairfield classmates who called themselves the “Caddyshacks” in honor of the “shack” in which they resided and their love of golf.

At their 25th reunion this past summer, the Caddyshacks announced that enough gifts had been raised from individual class members that they could establish an endowed scholarship in their classmates’ names.

“We’ve been a part of each others’ lives for the past 25 years,” said Shaun O’Leary ’86, who initiated the endowment. “We wanted to do something so that Joe and Mike are always in our memory … Fairfield gave us these friendships that are so important.”

Since Mike Andrews ’89, who also worked at Cantor Fitzgerald, passed away, 75 to 150 of his friends and family have gathered regularly around the time of his birthday for “Mike Nights” at Coppersmith’s, a Manhattan pub that Mike and nine of his friends opened in 2000. Like the Slatterys, several of those friends decided to coordinate an annual golf outing to raise funds for the Michael R. Andrews ’89 Memorial Scholarship Fund honoring Mike.

“It may seem cliché, but it really does keep his memory alive for us,” said his close friend, Andy Davis ’89. “Mike was someone who knew a lot of people. As a baseball player, he was popular among his teammates and with other athletes at Fairfield. But he also had a lot of other connections … so the golf outing kind of keeps that spirit of connection going.”

Each year, the Mike Andrews Memorial Golf Outing attracts about 100 Fairfield alumni; the sixth outing will be held this October at Plandome Country Club in New York. Visit mikeandrewsopen.mam2008.golfreg.com for more information.

In 2002, the Jonathan Neff Cappello ’00 Scholarship was established by his family. Like many others, Cappello was an employee at Cantor Fitzgerald. “Through the fund, Jono’s name lives on in a generous fashion,” said his brother Jamey Cappello ’94. “It’s a great acknowledgement of his life – to help someone else in some way.”

Six students so far have benefited from the Cappello Scholarship. “I am having the most incredible time at Fairfield and cannot believe that next year I will be a senior. I feel truly blessed and just wanted to personally thank you for your amazing act of kindness,” wrote Timothy McTiernan ’12.

Other memorial scholarships

Many of the University’s memorial scholarships were initiated with gifts of $100,000 or more – such as the Vincent J. Maiocco Scholarship in Memory of William J. Lucas ’69. The fund honors the University’s former vice president of finance, who worked at Fairfield for 41 years and was beloved by many. Lucas died last year.

The fund was named for the past president of the Connecticut Student Loan Foundation (CSLF) and created by Mark Valenti, who later became CSLF president. Lucas served on the CSLF board of directors.

“Bill became a good personal and loyal friend, and was an astute, thoughtful, and honest businessman,” noted Valenti. The scholarship honors Lucas “as an outstanding contributor to higher education … and for his all-around citizenship and integrity.” Proceeds from the fund will help support a student from Connecticut with financial need.

When Sharon Ann Pollice ’85 passed away from cystic fibrosis in 2000, four of her Fairfield classmates initiated a memorial scholarship in her name the following year. Pollice was a psychiatric nurse, and her family requested that the scholarship be designated to a nursing student. Over the years, they coordinated three large fundraisers to support the scholarship. When her parents Anthony and Joanne Pollice recently celebrated their 50th anniversary, they requested that contributions be made to the scholarship in lieu of gifts. “At our age, what gifts do you need?” said Joanne Pollice. “It’s so much better to give it to the fund.” The Pollices also make an annual contribution to the scholarship.

The pain of losing a loved one doesn’t go away, but Jim Slattery acknowledged that over the past 10 years since the tragedy of 9-11, the fund in his son’s name helps keep his son’s spirit alive. “The scholarship shows that even out of the horror that was September 11th, good can shine through! That good protects and preserves Chris’ memory for us, and that helps us get through the day.”

For more information about establishing a memorial or other scholarship to benefit Fairfield University, please contact Geri Derbyshire, Director of Major Gifts at gderbyshire@fairfield.edu, or (203) 254-4000, ext. 3486.