Fairfield University awards 1,226 degrees to Class of 2007


Commencement 2007

Read the Commencement Address
Given by The Rev. Thomas Regan, S.J., the Provincial Superior of the New England Province of the Society of Jesus

Rev. Thomas Regan, S.J., the Provincial Superior of the New England Province of the Society of Jesus, told the more than 1,200 graduates at Fairfield University's 57th commencement exercises today, "You should always consider your integrity as a non-negotiable."

He said, "You should never evaluate yourselves or others in terms of the size of your wallet or the impressive sounding nature of your position. Rather you should evaluate yourselves by the extent to which you live out a daily commitment to be 'men and women for others.' "

For Fr. Regan, who taught philosophy at Fairfield where he chaired the Department of Philosophy and was a Teacher of the Year here before being named provincial, it was a kind of homecoming as he delivered the commencement address and was presented with an honorary doctor of laws degree.

He said, "You should feel deep down within your innermost being a real sense that you can never turn a blind eye or a deaf ear to the truly poor among us. Rather you can and should always feel an inner urge to get personally involved in the struggle for justice throughout our contemporary world."

As Provincial Superior, he now 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 and six parishes in New England, a retreat house in Gloucester, Mass., and Campion Renewal Center in Weston, Mass.

Fr Regan at Commencement

Rev. Thomas Regan, S.J., the Provincial Superior of the New England Province of the Society of Jesus, delivered the commencement address and was presented with an honorary doctor of laws degree. He taught philosophy at Fairfield for many years and was the chair of the Department of Philosophy.

Fr. Regan also told graduates of his belief that the ball is in their court to become professionally competent and loving individuals who embrace and embody all of life's most sacred values.

Echoing Saint Ignatius's call to Jesuits, Fr. Regan urged graduates to 'go set the world on fire.' "With knowledge comes responsibility," he said. "My young friends, welcome to the world of educated women and men. The torch is now placed firmly in your hands so that you can enlighten the paths of others. I invite you both to embrace that challenge and to accept that responsibility."

David Charles Muccino, of Unionville, Conn., delivered the University's valedictory address, reflecting on how he and his classmates worked in Bridgeport, throughout the United States and abroad to help those in need while promoting social justice. "Whether we become financial analysts, doctors, actors, politicians, or teachers, we graduate today with our futures open with opportunities to achieve more in service to God and our neighbors. Believe in the infinite possibilities within yourself."

The University awarded 1,226 degrees to the Class of 2007, including 863 bachelor's degrees, 340 master's degrees, 17 certificates of advanced study and six associate's degrees.

The Saint Ignatius Loyola Medal for outstanding university service was awarded to Ashley Marie Toombs, of Newburg, N.Y. Anthony William Kunz, of Harleysville, Penn., received the Bellarmine Medal, which is given to the student with the highest four-year academic average.

The University also conferred honorary doctor of laws degrees on several individuals who have devoted their lives to service and learning:

A 1992 Fairfield University graduate, Edward P. Hardiman, Ph. D. worked with Rev. Paul Carrier, S.J., former University Chaplain and Director of Campus Ministry, to develop the University's inaugural Mission Volunteer program to Duran, Ecuador. When he returned to his alma mater, Xaverian Brothers High School in Westwood, Mass., in 1993 as a teacher and campus minister, he developed the Xaverian Global Encounter Program. It was modeled after the Fairfield University program that brings students to Ecuador, Mexico, and Appalachia to help impoverished people. He is the principal of St. John's Preparatory School in Danvers, Mass.

Commencement 2007

 

A Fairfield resident, Meghan K. Lowney, MSW, the former executive director of Operation Hope of Fairfield, Inc., devoted the last 16 years to expanding the services for homeless people in the area through her work with Operation Hope. After being named its executive director in 1996, she helped increase Operation Hope's quantity of services to the homeless by 500 percent. Today Operation Hope is recognized statewide as a reputable, effective provider of local solutions to homelessness.

A resident of the Black Rock section of Bridgeport, James P. Roach, M.D., a physician, serves as chairperson of the Board of Directors of St. Vincent's Special Needs Center. His life has 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. He is a graduate of both Fairfield Prep and Fairfield University.

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on May 20, 2007

Vol. 39, No. 227