Letter from the President

Dear Friends,

The fall is always spectacular on our campus, and the weekend of Oct. 5 was no exception. The trees had just begun to turn, the weather was warm and the skies cleared — ideal conditions to celebrate 50 years of rugby at Fairfield University.

The men’s and the women’s teams, as well as alumni teams, played in the afternoon before an enthusiastic crowd of family and friends. Then, in the evening in the tent behind Bellarmine Hall, hundreds of ruggers from over five decades reminisced about old tackles, valiant tries, bitter losses, and glorious victories — memories that have bound them all together as lifelong friends.

It’s remarkable to consider that rugby is one of our oldest traditions at FairfieldUniversity, and yet it only goes back to 1963.As I looked over the proud facesof old andyoung ruggers that evening, it seemed clear tome that our youth is our strength. We are stilla budding institution — inheritors of five centuries of Jesuit tradition — but, nevertheless, a University just stepping into its maturity. Our vitality, flexibility, and enthusiasm will prove to be an advantage in the future.

The world of higher education has entered a tremendously challenging period of transition. Today’s technologies are revolutionizing the workplace, demanding of universities like ours that we adapt to keep pace and prepare our students for success.

It is also true that the costs of a university education have dramatically increased in recent years. According to a recent article in Forbes magazine, the overall consumer price index has risen by 115 percent since 1985, while the college education rate has increased by 500 percent over the same period. While Fairfield has put a cap on significant tuition increases, these cost pressures compel us to be more focused than ever on clarifying the value proposition we offer. Meanwhile, the dynamics of the economy are such that graduates face a very competitive landscape when they enter the workplace. All of you who have college-age children will be familiar with these realities.

That is where our youthfulness as an institution gives us an edge, in my opinion. We are young enough to think quickly, to change, and to embrace the new opportunities before us.

I’m also proud to be able to say that, while we are changing, we continue to be recognized as an institution that prepares its graduates for success. Given the pressure on universities to provide value to students and their families, the fact that Kiplinger’s Personal Finance recently named us one of the “100 Best Values in Private Colleges” for 2014 is of particular note. Fairfield joined Yale University as the only two colleges in Connecticut that met that standard.

Once again, this year U.S. News and World Report ranked us among the top 2 percent of regional universities for the 23rd year in a row, while Bloomberg BusinessWeek named our Charles F. Dolan School of Business among the top 100 business schools in the nation.

To be recognized in this manner is gratifying, and yet none of these rankings take fully into account the ways through which, as a Jesuit institution, we develop persons of integrity. It is true that our graduates are successful. But we also form good citizens, good neighbors, and good friends — just like those men and women who gathered together in October in the tent at Bellarmine Hall, to share memories of the past, and to make plans for the future.

As I write, we are in the midst of a number of changes and innovations across a spectrum of areas and I want to take this opportunity to bring you up to date with a few of the exciting changes this year.

“Classroom to Career”

We want students to think creatively about the future while they are in the midst of their studies. Tailored to all 16 majors in the College of Arts and Sciences, this program engages students in each of the four years of their undergraduate career, helping undecided majors to focus their energies, guiding them toward internships, summer jobs, and introducing them to people in the world of work who will inspire their imaginations.

New Home for the School of Engineering

This fall our School of Engineering classes moved to newly renovated spaces in the Rudolph F. Bannow Science Center — a first step in a major initiative to foster deeper collaboration between our science, engineering, and nursing programs.

Health Sciences Initiative

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