Fairfield University salutes retiring President


Fairfield University honored its retiring President yesterday by creating an endowed chair of Catholic Studies in his name and establishing a fund to support initiatives related to Fairfield's Jesuit and Catholic mission.

More than 400 individuals, including members of the Fairfield University Board of Trustees, benefactors and friends of the University, gathered Sunday to pay tribute to Rev. Aloysius P. Kelley, S.J., and to honor his legacy of 25 years of service to the institution.

 

Fr Kelley

The tribute began with a Mass of Thanksgiving in Fr. Kelley's honor at the Egan Chapel of St. Ignatius Loyola - one of nine major structures built during Fr. Kelley's tenure. Following Mass, a reception and tribute ceremony took place in the Kelley Theatre of the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts.

"Today we celebrate the accomplishments of a man who by all accounts can only be called extraordinary," said Board of Trustees Chair Paul Huston. "For the last twenty-five years, Father Kelley has led this institution with integrity and a passion for excellence that has resulted in its evolution into one of the nation's foremost Jesuit universities."

Fr KelleyCiting the four leadership pillars noted in the book "Heroic Leadership" by Chris Lowney, a former Jesuit who for 17 years served as a managing director for J.P. Morgan, Huston said looking at the tenure of Fr. Kelley, "There is no doubt, that Fairfield University and those in its immediate and extended family have been blessed with a heroic leader among us."

Huston announced the following ways in which the University and its benefactors are honoring the retiring leader:

  • Through gifts from current and former trustees and their families, a $2 million endowment was established for the Aloysius P. Kelley, S.J., Chair in Catholic Studies.
  • As the result of a generous $500,000 gift from the Mary B. Radwick Trust, the Aloysius P. Kelley, S.J., Endowment in Support of the Facilitator for Jesuit and Catholic Mission and Identity has been established. The gift was made possible by James Stapleton of Fairfield, an alumnus, past trustee of the University and trustee of the Radwick Trust.
  • With other gifts received from alumni, parents and friends, the University has established an endowment fund to support initiatives to further Fairfield's mission as a Jesuit and Catholic University.
  • The Board also bestowed upon Fr. Kelley the title of President Emeritus and approved the naming of a new building slated for construction next year after the retiring President. The building will house the offices of undergraduate and graduate admission, financial aid, the University registrar and the bursar.

Those in attendance gave an enthusiastic and prolonged standing ovation to Fr. Kelley following his remarks, in which he said of his experience as president: "It has been the most enjoyable and rewarding experience of my life by far. I do not expect it to be equaled."

 

Fr Kelley

Sunday's program also included a premier showing of a video entitled; "Aloysius P. Kelley, S.J. - The Man. The Priest. The President." In addition, an exhibit featuring 40 photographs highlighting Fr. Kelley's presidency was unveiled at the Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery at the Quick Center. Video tributes to Fr. Kelley from Connecticut's U.S Senator Christopher Dodd and Congressman Christopher Shays were also part of the program as was a letter of tribute from President George W. and Laura Bush.

Fr. Kelley announced his retirement in October 2003. His last day as President will be June 30. His successor is Rev. Jeffrey von Arx, S.J., Dean of the College of Rose Hill at Fordham University who was in the audience, as was Boston College President Rev. William Leahy, S.J.

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

Posted on May 20, 2004

Vol. 21, No. 6