Christopher Marvel wins William G. McGowan Scholar award for senior year at Fairfield University's Charles F. Dolan School of Business


Image: Christopher MarvelFairfield University student Christopher A. Marvel has been chosen to receive a prestigious William G. McGowan scholarship of $21,000 to go toward his senior year tuition in the Charles F. Dolan School of Business.

The award, which is open to students enrolled in accredited business schools throughout the United States, rewards applicants who achieve academic excellence, demonstrate leadership skills, show an intellectual curiosity, display entrepreneurial potential, and are involved in campus and community activities.

The Washington, D.C.-based William G. McGowan Charitable Fund, Inc., is a philanthropic organization dedicated to providing financial assistance to students continuing their educations in selected academic institutions. The fund is named after its late founder William G. McGowan, former chairman of MCI Communications Corp.

For Marvel, a resident of Manasquan, N.J., the scholarship is a means to alleviate financial pressures on his family and avoid taking out loans that would make it harder for him to immediately continue his schooling. Marvel, who has a major in accounting, is considering going to law school after graduation. "I'm really concerned with justice," said Marvel, who is pursuing an internship in forensic accounting this summer. Possessing the ability to communicate in a second language is also very important to Marvel, who has a minor in Spanish and another in Latin American and Caribbean Studies. "Exceptional communication skills and a strong regard for social justice are paramount to becoming a good leader in my opinion," Marvel said.

"Chris Marvel is an exemplary student who lives Fairfield University's mission every day," said Norman Solomon, Ph.D., dean of the Dolan School of Business. "He is a serious scholar who is committed to the well being of his fellow students and to the well being of the community at large. The essay Chris wrote for the McGowan award is outstanding. He is truly deserving of this great honor."

The McGowan fund found its origins in his own struggle to finance his education. After being accepted to Harvard University for graduate work, he realized he would not have enough money to pay for his first year. McGowan ultimately benefited from a scholarship program that enabled him to finish his studies at Harvard.

While researching McGowan and his accomplishments, Marvel developed a deep respect for the man who, as head of MCI in the 1960s, took on the powerful AT&T.

"The timeless story of David and Goliath comes to mind as analogous to William McGowan's ongoing struggle against AT&T and the regulatory and legal battles that they fought," Marvel wrote in his scholarship essay. "The impact of the foundation of MCI and his subsequent victories in gaining access to AT&T's lines of communication are numerous and subtle."

Marvel went on to praise McGowan for his commitment to social responsibility. "Yet the founder of MCI, after being stricken with severe heart problems by 1986, sought to aid the institutions responsible for the health and intellectual development of Americans and create enduring funds to support innovation in medicine and education that would improve other people's lives."

With a cumulative GPA of 3.94, Marvel has made the Dean's List every semester at Fairfield University. A member of the Dean's Roundtable Advisory Council for the Dolan School of Business, Marvel is perhaps most proud of his recent induction into Beta Gamma Sigma, the national business honor society. It had been the fervent hope of his late grandfather, Benedict Harter, a former dean of the graduate school of business at Fordham University, that his grandson be eligible to join. "That was really important to me, as a tribute to him," Marvel said.

In addition to his studies, Marvel has been a radio co-host on Fairfield University's WVOF-FM, a member of the Greek Club, and a campaign manager for a Fairfield University Student Association presidency candidate. Marvel has also played Club rugby and intramural softball. Marvel is also an accounting tutor with Beta Alpha Psi Honor Society (the professional business and financial information fraternity). Recently elected to the Student Beach Resident Association, Marvel hopes to foster a "clearer, stronger relationship between the campus and its beach resident students."

Last summer, Marvel worked as a refinance closing agent at the law offices of Harter & Pfleger in Colts Neck, N.J., where he gained valuable insight in the real estate market and compiled refinance packages, coordinated information and communication among clients, banks and title companies, reconciled municipal taxes for Q3 with escrow amounts, and performed other duties

Read the winning essay

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on May 17, 2004

Vol. 36, No. 279