Spring — when it finally came after a dark winter — was as lovely this year as I can remember. The skies were clear, with the shores of Long Island clearly visible on the horizon and the flowering trees in glorious bloom around the campus.
One of the pleasures of this time of year is that we take a moment to celebrate the accomplishments of our faculty, students, staff, and alumni. Collectively, we are a generous and optimistic community, and this is reflected in the quality of what we do.
This year we were fortunate during our Annual Awards Dinner to be able to celebrate that we had raised $2.2 million in scholarship funds. This is thanks to our alumni network and to a number of individuals — featured in these pages — who have dedicated themselves to the support of Fairfield and our shared mission.
Among our graduating students there are a few who were singled out for their unique contributions during our Student Awards Ceremony on Monday, April 29. Michael O’Keefe, a communication major who joined us from New Zealand was given the award for Athletic Achievement, On and Off the Field. He was an All-MAAC soccer goalkeeper for four seasons, played on New Zealand’s Olympic Team, and managed in his spare time to serve as a sports commentator and producer for WVOF; Courtney Onofrio was given the award for Commitment to Development of Clubs and Service to Global Community. A nursing major from Massachusetts, she went on service trips to Nicaragua and New Orleans, was a Special Olympic Club member, and participated in clinical experience at Yale-New Haven Hospital; Alexandra Tarabour received the award for Dedication to Student Advancement Programs. A native of New Jersey and a dual major in communication and environmental studies, she served on the Senior Class Giving Committee, as Student Alumni Association president, and in other leadership capacities; Morgan Zachary, from Connecticut and a nursing major, received the award for Commitment to the Kairos Community and Program. Her dedications included mentoring at the Ignatian Residential College and serving as a camp counselor for the Muscular Dystrophy Association; Sarah Joseph was given the William J. Kramer ’60 Humanitarian Award for her work in the service of others. An English major from Massachusetts, she was an intern for Save the Children and a founder of the Fairfield Gospel Choir; and Daniel Jones was awarded the St. Ignatius Loyola Medal. A politics major from Maine, he led a service immersion trip to El Salvador, and was a leader on the Students for Social Justice Executive Board, among other commitments.
In addition, Arturo Jaras Watts received the prestigious Udall Scholarship, a federally funded scholarship given to students dedicated to careers in the environment. And we were awarded a “Senator Paul Simon Spotlight Award” for excellence in integrating international education, thanks to School of Nursing projects in Nicaragua.
Two members of our faculty were recognized by Alpha Sigma Nu — the National Jesuit Honor Society — chosen by our students as teachers of the year. Dr. Ashley Byun, assistant professor of biology was named Undergraduate Teacher of the Year, while our graduate students named Dr. Carl Sheraga, chair of the Department of Management in the Dolan School of Business, as Graduate Student Teacher of the Year.
Also, Dr. Robbin Crabtree, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, recently received the 2013 Distinguished Administrative Women in Higher Education award by the Connecticut American Council on Education Women’s Network.
These are only a few of accomplishments that we celebrate as the year draws to a close. They exemplify the spirit of the Fairfield University community, always in pursuit of “the magis.” We say congratulations and give our heartfelt blessings to everyone in the community as this academic year comes to an end.