Fairfield is on the move

by Virginia Weir

There’s a feeling of excitement — of increasing momentum — these days at Fairfield. You can feel it when you walk across campus. Perhaps it’s the new walkways that make it easier to get around. Or maybe it’s the way the students are enjoying their living spaces, as word gets around about the new residence halls and refurbished apartments. Then there is a feeling of pride about Fairfield winning (for the fourth time!) the MAAC Commissioner’s Cup for overall excellence in athletics.

From the University’s newest students, to growing alumni participation, to great job prospects for Fairfield graduates, this is a period of growth for the University.

“We have worked hard, and that work is paying off,” said University President Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J. “We are seeing more applicants, and greater alumni participation in our events and programming, while our academic programs continue to excel. Fairfield is moving forward briskly at a time when many universities and colleges are finding it tough going.”

CLASS OF 2016

Increased enrollment is one sign of the momentum. This year’s freshman class is one of the University’s largest, with 993 students, chosen from the largest pool ever of more than 9,000 applicants. Twenty percent are the first in their family to go to college.

“This is a terrific class — with students coming from 22 states, Puerto Rico, and as far away as Morocco and Bosnia-Herzegovina,” reported Karen Pellegrino, dean of enrollment. “They’re varied, academically gifted, and I have every confidence they will bring a lot to the University.”

In a testament to excellent academic qualifications, 62 Magis Scholarships — the University’s merit award for students who excel in the classroom and beyond — were awarded this year.

The Class of 2016 is also more involved in their communities and more recognized for noteworthy accomplishments than in years past. Their capacity for leadership is already impressive: There were 141 who held office in student government; 13 Eagle Scouts and 13 Girl Scout Gold Award recipients; and 160 were captains of a varsity sports team. Additionally, 70 percent were involved in service during high school.

Kyle Duffy ’16, an accounting major from Williston Park, N.Y., is excited to be part of the Class of 2016.

“I chose Fairfield because of the unique feeling and environment that only this school had. It just felt right for me,” he said. A member of the National Honor Society, Kyle played three sports in high school and was involved in both leadership and service groups. “The generous financial aid I’ve received really supported my decision. It has changed my life for the better, as it does for many families.”

ALUMNI CATCHING THE WAVE

“I meet hundreds of alumni in my travels all around the country,” Fr. von Arx noted. “It’s very gratifying to see what a close-knit alumni community has been formed, generation after generation. These bonds were formed through Fairfield.”

Alumni bonds are extending across the country. In the past five years, the number of regional alumni chapters has grown from four to ten, covering the Northeast, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles, and Puerto Rico. Last year, more than 3,100 alumni attended 60 regional chapter events. In addition to the Online Community, newly launched Facebook pages and Twitter accounts for each of the chapters help alumni stay in touch.

Fairfield alumni networked at a “Meet-Up” event last spring at the Metropolitan Club in New York.

There is also increased interest in professional networking events, such as Briefcase Breakfasts and Fairfield C

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