The University fosters the idea of making the most of the gifts that you have been given and then going out into the world and making it a better place for those around you. This teaching is evident in our daughter…and has inspired our desire to support the growth and teachings Fairfield has to offer.
Rita and Kevin Gill, P’11, ’15
Occupations: Stay-at-Home Mom; Construction Business Owner
About our Family
Kevin and I are the parents of six children ranging in age from eight to 26 years. We have a wonderful mix of four girls and two boys. We both grew up in large Irish Catholic families south of the Boston area. Before having children I worked for several years as an account executive for Federal Express. I continue my work as a stay-at-home Mom now and volunteer as a board member for a local women’s shelter. Kevin spent most of his younger adult years working in construction management and began his own business in 1991. His mother was an immigrant from Ireland and taught him the value of hard work and strong faith. Together we try to continue this example with our own children.
My daughter was first interested in Fairfield because of its strong academic reputation, Jesuit values and morals, geographic location, and beauty. After her first visit to the campus there was no doubt in her mind that Fairfield was where she wanted to spend her college years. All of the faculty and staff we encountered were eager and available to spend time sharing information and answering questions.
Like our daughter, we, too, have many fond memories of Fairfield. One of our favorites occurred on the day that we moved her in at the start of her freshman year. In the spirit of Jesuit tradition, Fairfield’s upper classmen volunteers met us at the parking lot with enthusiasm and insisted on carrying all of her belongings to her new dorm room. Helping us find our way and offering suggestions and solutions left us in utter amazement. It is a tradition at Fairfield to do this for the freshman incoming class. Watching the older students supporting and advising my daughter as if they were an older sibling personified the relationship the community inspires and has continued during her years spent at Fairfield and beyond. And, now, our son is a sophomore at Fairfield.
Memorable Moments: Graduation
Although all four years at Fairfield held many fond experiences and memories, our daughter still feels that the graduation festivities were beyond any expectations. Fairfield just gets it right. She will never forget the celebration the University hosted for the families of the graduates. It gave the students the opportunity to celebrate their accomplishments with their families as well as the friends who had become like a second family to them over the past four years. The night was full of introductions and anecdotes. So many of us had become friends over the past four years during the many move-in days, family weekends, and sporting events. The size of the campus allowed her to have enough room to grow while still feeling connected to the people around her. This night was the grand finale of all that growth and connection.
An important influence: Fr. von Arx
When I think of someone who has been influential to my daughter, Father von Arx quickly comes to mind. His example and influence began right away on move-in day of my daughter’s first year. Between the boxes, bags, pillows, and posters, we looked up to see the president of Fairfield University, Fr. von Arx, dressed in a sweat shirt and jeans, popping his head into the various dorm rooms. He was taking time to introduce himself and welcome the students to campus. He worked right alongside the volunteers, pitching in to help in any way needed. He was the real deal. Watching someone whom my daughter thought would be somewhat removed from the day-to-day happenings instead taking the time to be sure he was around and available gave her a true appreciation of his dedication.
Because of this experience, we as parents also felt relief and trust that this was the right place for her to be. It is one thing to preach of the importance of service to others and it is quite another to be right out there on a hot summer day. Later in the afternoon we attended the farewell Mass in the chapel. In his homily, Fr. von Arx spoke of separation and growth. He took the time to sympathize with our concerns and helped us to trust the faculty with our children. His keen insights and gentle understanding made the last goodbye before we left much more bearable. Fr. von Arx is a true example of the Jesuit tradition of “men and women for others.” Because of this example, our daughter has gone on to have a good spirit of service. She has donated her time, treasure, and talent to helping the world become a better place.
Why We Give Back
Our motivation to give back to Fairfield stems from our experience as parents of an alumna. Fairfield is very unique in its ability to offer each student a challenging academic experience with the support to be successful. The University fosters the idea of making the most of the gifts that you have been given and then going out into the world and making it a better place for those around you. This teaching is evident in our daughter, as well as the many alumni that we have had the opportunity to spend time with, and has inspired our desire to support the growth and teachings Fairfield has to offer.
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