Fairfield Celebrates 70 McCormick Road with an Opening Ceremony

Submitted by Lisa Calderone MFA '11 on September 29, 2011

The underlying mission of Fairfield University is built right into the stones of 70 McCormick Road, a new hall that houses the Service for Justice (S4J) residential college. Alongside two faces hand-carved into the paneling of the first floor commons are the pairing of phrases etched into the stone walls beside them: “Go Set the World Aflame” and “To Act Against.” These two phrases reflect the Jesuit ideal of making sure that one’s outer life (helping others) is in line with the inner life (acting against selfishness). On the afternoon of September 28, student residents gathered with faculty, staff, and administration to recognize, celebrate, and bless the new hall – and its intention.

Dr. David McFadden, academic chair of the College where the 127 admitted sophomores will take one S4J course per semester, referred to the new residential hall as “quintessentially Jesuit” and urged those gathered to make connections between their studies, service, and justice inside and outside the classroom.

“All of us in S4J have in the back of our heads the intention of giving back,” followed Luke Record, a transfer student whose first year at Fairfield will be spent living and learning at 70 McCormick Road. “How fulfilling is it to be part of this? Let’s keep working towards helping others.” Added Gina Guido, a student affairs representative for the hall’s Residential Community Council, “It’s a great honor to be part of this home.”

Known as a “good and holy man,” the Rev. Joseph McCormick, S.J., dean of discipline at Fairfield University from 1957 to 1966, and rector of the Fairfield Jesuit Community from 1966 to 1970, was remembered before the blessing of the building in his name. According to the Rev. George Collins S.J., coordinator for mission and identity, Fr. McCormick was always present for those in need both in and out of the Jesuit society. “His spirit is here and he’s humbled and a bit honored to be remembered in this way.”

Next, the Rev. Charles H. Allen, S.J., assistant to the president and alumni chaplain, presented a flash drive that is to act as a Time Capsule, capturing “Life at Fairfield University” in 2011. He teased the student residents about making sure it be placed in the cornerstone (bottom) of the building, not the keystone (the central stone in an arch) or the capstone – an academic course many are in the midst of taking and mistaking for the word “cornerstone.”

Inside the Time Capsule is a letter from the President, the Rev. Jeffrey P. von Arx, who in good humor read to all:

To the Members of the Class of 2061:

Looking down on the Fairfield University that I knew and loved so much in the early years of the 21st century, it gives me great pleasure to see how the University has grown and prospered over the years.  I must confess some sadness to see that 70 McCormick Road – a wonderful residence for sophomores for fifty years and built during the seventh year of my presidency – has reached the end of its useful life and has been demolished.

In the demolition process, you were careful enough to retrieve this flash drive.  Back in 2011, many skeptics said that the Class of 2061 would have no idea how to use a flash drive, but I never doubted for a moment that you would be bright enough to deal with this piece of outdated technology.

Now that you have opened this drive, you should find the following pieces of information:

  • A Student Handbook
  • Videos of The President’s Christmas Messages for 2009 and 2010
  • A Video of The Bensonians’ Thank You Message to the Annual Fund Contributors
  • Photographs from a Recent Retreat
  • Photographs of the Campus from the Admission Office
  • A Self-Guided Walking Tour of the Campus from the Admission Office
  • September 27, 2011 Front Pages from the New York Times, Connecticut Post and Boston Globe
  • A Copy of the Fairfield University Magazine for Winter 2010
  • A Copy of Fairfield University Currents for September 2011
  • A Video of the 2011 Alumni Reunion
  • A Brochure of Fairfield University Highlights from the Admission Office

It is our hope that in reviewing these documents, the Class of 2061 will appreciate what a dynamic institution Fairfield University was fifty years ago.  Some of you are undoubtedly the grandchildren of members of the Class of 2014 and we certainly hope that these, now elderly souls and the first residents of 70 McCormick Road, share with you their memories of life so long ago.

Please know that we in God’s heavenly kingdom are watching out for you and for the Fairfield University that you are experiencing and enriching today.

Sincerely,

Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J.
President

About the Service for Justice Residential College

The Service for Justice Residential College, like all sophomore residential colleges at Fairfield, aims to build community through an intentional living experience that asks the big “meaning of life” questions at the same time as integrating coursework with personal life. The community is supported by:

  • Academic Chair Dr. David McFadden, professor of history, who was among the original group of faculty that proposed the idea of a Social Justice Residential College. Dr. McFadden ensures that the courses offered to the S4J residents challenge them to be change agents and make a difference in their own communities. S4J offers 10-12 courses each semester, all of which have been modified to address one of the major questions of the College.
  • 16 mentors (faculty/staff, administrators, alumni, and friends of the University).
  • Weekly gatherings such as “McCormick Munchy Mondays” (M3 or MCubed and self-explanatory), “Wellness Wednesdays” (mass with guided meditation), and “Zumba Thursdays,” (an aerobic dance offered by resident Aidan Wildes).
  • Ice-breaker and kick-off September retreats for residents and their mentors at Iroquois Springs, focusing on the three questions of the college: 1) “Who am I?” 2) “Whose am I?” 3) How am I called to serve justice?
  • A dinner series designed for students to invite faculty or staff into their community to speak about how they try to live their life as a vocation, balancing professional and personal life; Dr. McFadden will be one of the first guests.

In addition, students are offered opportunities to get involved in meaningful ways, including:

  • Mentors Achieving Academic Success – a mentorship opportunity in Bridgeport High Schools for at-risk students presented by a Fairfield alum, Jessica Bromberg.
  • RESULTS – a grass roots organization committed to contacting legislators for their support to end global poverty, with Luke Record as the student leader working on starting a Fairfield U chapter.
  • Collaboration with Students for Social Justice, a student organization with Conor O’Kane serving as the advisor, on events such as a dinner series with the filmmaker of “Budrus.”
  • A Service in Action Committee led by residents and two RAs, with monthly trips to serve at Prospect House and the new Smilow Burroughs Boys and Girls Club.

For more on Fairfield’s residential colleges, click here, and for information on registering for 2012-13, email rescolleges@fairfield.edu.

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