Fairfield is on the move

onnects, along with service opportunities like the annual “Teddy Bears with Love” drive for children in hospitals during the holidays.

This growth has been spurred on by the efforts of the Office of Alumni Relations, which developed a new career services area early last year, and a new director who focuses specifically on regional engagement.

“Alumni involvement is crucial to so much of what the University does,” remarked Maureen (Errity) Bujno ’90, the new president of the Alumni Association. “We bring in new students by talking about our own experiences at Fairfield. And we share our expertise — with other alumni, by mentoring current students, and generally being ambassadors for all things Fairfield.”

Alumni involvement also translates into crucial financial support for the University, and those numbers have been going up steadily over the past four years. Total giving increased from $8.3 million in 2009 to over $30 million this past year, and undergraduate alumni donor participation climbed from 19 to 23 percent.

The financial support will be even more important as the University makes plans to expand its offerings in the healthcare fields, continue to attract quality faculty, and invest in scholarships so that talented students like those from the Class of 2016 can continue to come to Fairfield.

AFTER FAIRFIELD

Fairfield graduates have an edge in the job market, too — an important advantage in today’s economy.

“Our students’ success is reflected in the high rates of employment and entrance into prestigious graduate schools,” noted the Rev.Paul J. Fitzgerald, S.J., senior vice president for academic affairs. “It starts with our faculty — who prize student learning as job one. Then there is excellent advising, mentoring, and tutoring from faculty, staff, and student peers. And the experience is deepened through research projects and internships.”

Of the more than three-quarters of the Class of 2011 who responded to a post-graduation survey, 93 percent had secured either full-time employment, admission to graduate school, or committed to service programs such as the Jesuit Volunteer Corps.

Of those graduates with jobs, 30 percent had found employment through senior on-campus recruiting, and another 44 percent through internships they had while at Fairfield. Connections with alumni give Fairfield graduates an advantage, and the Career Planning Office welcomes job leads from alumni. Internships are reinforced by programs such as the new Job Shadow Program, which pairs alumni with junior- and senior-year students with an interest in their field. (See the Spring 2012 issue of Fairfield University Magazine.)

“At Fairfield, we know that a strong liberal arts education is the key to a flexible career and long-term professional success, in addition to its inherent value. But we also want students to be thoughtful about their futures right from the beginning,” said Dr. Robbin Crabtree, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Students are being advised to take advantage of new “Classroom to Career” web pages for all majors in the College, with links to very practical tips, from attending formal career planning events and developing leadership skills in student clubs, to working on their resumes with faculty advisors.

Nationally, the University has also kept its momentum. For the second consecutive year, Fairfield ranked second in the “Best Regional University North” category in the latest national college ranking report published by U.S. News & World Report. The report is based on indicators such as freshman retention, graduation rates, and the strength of the faculty. The University received high marks for small classes and a low student-faculty ratio of 11 to 1.

“I think those alumni who have been out of touch with Fairfield for some time would be surprised and pleased with the growth we’re experiencing across the whole spectrum of University life,” said Mark Reed ’96, vice president for administration and chief of staff. “There will always be challenges, of course, but the present is strong, and the future is bright for Fairfield.”

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