Newburgh resident receives award for outstanding service to Fairfield University


Ashley Toombs, of Newburgh, was honored with the Saint Ignatius Loyola Medal at Fairfield University's 57th Commencement Ceremony on May 20 for her outstanding commitment and service to the University.

Instituted in 1952, the Saint Ignatius Loyola Medal is presented annually by the Fairfield University Alumni Association to the senior who best exemplifies the true spirit of a Jesuit education and who best maximized opportunities for emotional, social and intellectual growth throughout his or her four years at Fairfield. The individual chosen for the award also has shown a commitment to the Jesuit ideals of maintaining high academic standards and involvement in community service and extracurricular activities.

Toombs, who graduated with a bachelor's degree in international studies and Spanish and a minor in Caribbean and Latin American Studies, said being chosen for the honor was unexpected. "You don't think you're going to get a medal for what you do. You do it because you love Fairfield and you want to see it become a better place for future students."

During her time at Fairfield, Toombs worked on a host of activities that ultimately raised students' awareness of issues close to her heart, including diversity.

She said, "If we don't embrace diversity, we're missing out on the chance to really learn about people."

Her many accomplishments included helping to coordinate the newly established Student Diversity Grant Program. The grants are awarded to students who strive to promote diversity within the University community.

As an intern with the New Haven-Leon Sister City Project, Toombs brought the pilot program and fundraiser, "Educate a Nicaraguan Child for a Year," to the Fairfield campus and created a program to bring educational books to the country.

Toombs was a student representative for the Center for Faith and Public Life Committee and served on the Environmental Steering Committee. In addition, she also served on the Fairfield University Student Association Executive Cabinet as Secretary of Academics and was selected the 2005-2006 Senator of the Year.

Toombs was a group leader for a project that brought a group of volunteers to New Orleans during Spring break to work on the reconstruction of two houses.

For her many contributions to the University, Toombs was honored earlier this year with a Martin Luther King Jr. Vision Award. The University presents the awards annually to individuals whose lives reflect Dr. King's vision.

She hopes to work with the Peace Corps or the Jesuit Volunteer Corps before embarking on a career working with non-profit organizations.

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

Posted on May 20, 2007

Vol. 39, No. 228