Fairfield University Commencement to honor four who have devoted lives to service and learning


Thomas J. ReganRev. Thomas J. Regan, S.J., who was named Teacher of the Year early in his teaching career at Fairfield University and now serves as the Provincial Superior of the New England Province of the Society of Jesus, will deliver the commencement address at Fairfield University on Sunday, May 20 at 10 a.m. At the ceremonies on Bellarmine lawn, Fr. Regan will be presented with an honorary doctor of laws degree.

Other honorary doctor of laws degree recipients will be: Edward P. Hardiman, Ph.D., principal of St. John's Preparatory School in Danvers, Mass.; Meghan Lowney of Fairfield, Conn., a consultant and former executive director of Operation Hope of Fairfield, Inc.; and Dr. James Roach, a physician who serves as chairperson of the Board of Directors of St. Vincent's Special Needs Center.

As Provincial Superior of the New England Province of the Society of Jesus, Fr. Regan oversees the governance of some 400 Jesuit priests, brothers and seminarians. The Jesuits of New England sponsor, in addition to Fairfield University, Boston College and the College of the Holy Cross, three high schools in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Maine, a retreat house in Gloucester, Mass., and Campion Renewal Center in Weston, Mass. They also staff six parishes and are involved in education and parish work in Jamaica, the West Indies, and Amman, Jordan.

Fr. Regan is a former president of the Jesuit Philosophical Association and was elected to the Executive Council of the American Catholic Philosophical Association. He served a six-year term as national president and chair of the Board of Directors of Alpha Sigma Nu, the National Jesuit Honor Society. Before his appointment as provincial, Fr. Regan was a tenured associate professor of philosophy at Fairfield where he chaired the Department of Philosophy and was co-director of the Ignatian Residential College.

A native of Waltham, Mass., Fr. Regan entered the Society of Jesus following his graduation from Boston College. He holds a master's degree and doctorate from Fordham University and did his theological studies for the priesthood at Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, receiving his master's of divinity degree with distinction in 1987. The following year he received a post graduate diploma in pastoral theology from the University of London.

Dr. HardimanDr. Hardiman is a 1992 graduate of Fairfield University who worked with Fr. Paul Carrier, S.J., to develop the inaugural Mission Volunteer program to Duran, Ecuador. Following his graduation from Fairfield, Hardiman spent one year in Duran as a lay missionary with La Paroquia Santa Marianita.

When he returned to his high school alma mater, Xaverian Brothers High School in Westwood, Mass., in 1993 as a teacher and campus minister, he developed the Xaverian Global Encounter Program, modeled on the Fairfield U. program, to bring students to Duran, Ecuador, Tijuana, Mexico, Appalachia and local areas.

At Xaverian, Dr. Hardiman oversaw the development of a spiritual formation program that connected with student experiences of service and restructured a six-week program of full-time service for seniors. He went on to become dean of students and then assistant principal for academics at Xaverian, before being named principal of St. John's Preparatory School in Danvers, Mass., in 2003.

Dr. Hardiman was a presenter at the 2005 and 2006 National Catholic Education Association Annual Conference and Exposition where he spoke on "Curriculum and Mission." He is the author of "Technology to Enhance Communication and Student Achievement in the June, 2004 edition of MASCD Perspectives.

Dr. Hardiman earned a master of arts degree in pastoral ministry and a doctorate in educational administration from Boston College. He lives in Danvers with his wife, Karalyn, and their three children.

Meghan K. LowneyMeghan K. Lowney, MSW, devoted the last 16 years to upgrading and expanding the services for homeless people in the Fairfield area through her work with Operation Hope of Fairfield, Inc. She joined the local non-profit agency in 1990 as coordinator of Women's and Family Shelters where she was responsible for the overall management of two emergency shelters and staff and the direct clinical care of families and adult women who were homeless. While in that position she developed and opened the Family Shelter in 1995.

Named executive director in 1996, she spent the next 10 years increasing Operation Hope's quantity of services to the homeless by 500 percent. Through grant writing and individual and foundation donor recruitment and solicitation, she successfully funded the operational budget which increased from $400,000 to three million dollars. She designed and managed the first Capital Campaign for $2 million and wrote and won government grants totaling over $5 million. By developing and nurturing partnerships, she gained an additional $500,000 in pro bono services for Operation Hope.

Under Ms. Lowney's direction, the positions of clinical director, comptroller, director of operations and director of marketing and communications were added. She tripled the staff size, developed an internship program with area schools and created professional and leadership development systems. Seven new properties with a total of 17 units were acquired for clients and eight units of new construction are in development. Today Operation Hope is recognized statewide as a reputable, effective provider of local solutions to homelessness.

Today Ms. Lowney is a member of boards and committees for The Campaign to End Homelessness; HOME Connecticut: Affordable Housing Awareness Campaign; Connecticut Association of Nonprofits; the Bridgeport Mayor's Task Force to End Homelessness; and Sacred Heart University and Southern CT State University.

A graduate of Boston College, Ms. Lowney earned a master's degree in social work from the University of Connecticut. A consultant to non-profit community organizations, she is also an adjunct professor in the School of Social Work master's program at Southern Connecticut State University.

James P. RoachJames P. Roach, M.D., is a physician whose profession and life have been dedicated to the Jesuit ideal of cura personalis, Latin for "care for the whole person." In addition to serving on the boards of several non-profit agencies, he and his wife, Joan, hosted two young people from Cambodia and another from Brazil so they could gain an education. Three years ago, Dr. Roach donated a kidney to a patient he didn't know. This year the American Red Cross is honoring him with the Medical Award at the 7th Annual Heroes of Mid-Fairfield County Breakfast.

A graduate of both Fairfield Prep and Fairfield University Dr. Roach went on to earn a Doctor of Medicine degree from New York Medical College. He served as a surgeon in the United States Air Force from 1962-65 and then did a residency in urology at Albany Medical Center Hospital. He spent most of his medical career in private practice and as attending urologist at St. Vincent's Medical Center, where he also served as Chief of Urology, Department of Surgery; President of the Medical Staff; and on the Board of Directors.

Dr. Roach continues to be on the attending staff at the U.S. Veterans' Hospital in West Haven and is a clinical instructor at the Yale University School of Medicine. In addition to serving as the Chairperson of the Board of Directors for St. Vincent's Special Needs Center, he is a member of the Board of Directors and a tutor at the Mercy Learning Center and a member of the Board of Directors of the Visiting Nurses Association of Connecticut. He is a former board member of the Cardinal Shehan Center.

Dr. Roach and his wife, Joan, who live in the Black Rock section of Bridgeport, are the parents of eight children and have 13 grandchildren.

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

Posted on March 29, 2007

Vol. 39, No. 195