David J. Guerrera wins William G. McGowan Scholarship for senior year at Fairfield University's Charles F. Dolan School of Business

David J. GuerreraBeing chosen as a recipient of a prestigious William G. McGowan scholarship holds special meaning for Fairfield University student David J. Guerrera. That's because he will be the first person in his family to graduate from college.

"I'm the first second-generation college student," said Guerrera, a student in Fairfield's Charles F. Dolan School of Business. "My dad is an immigrant from Italy, and education is so important to him. I can't tell you what this scholarship means to my parents. It is a gigantic help. It's like we all are receiving it."

The McGowan scholarship of $18,000 will go toward Guerrera's senior year tuition. The award is open to students enrolled in accredited business schools in the United States. The Chicago-based William G. McGowan Charitable Fund rewards applicants who achieve not only academic excellence but who also demonstrate leadership qualities, show intellectual curiosity, display entrepreneurial potential, and are significantly involved in campus and community activities.

"It's an accomplishment and I'm truly honored to receive it," said Guerrera, a lifelong resident of Watertown, Conn., who is majoring in finance and accounting with a minor in Asian Studies.

For Guerrera's parents, Mario and Lisa, the scholarship and the thought of David earning a degree from Fairfield bring peace of mind. "The most important thing in life is for my children to get an education, because it will lead to a better life," said Mario, a toolmaker. "In this country, it's up to you. The sky's the limit. You can do whatever you want if you have an education. In other countries, you are limited by your (social) class, but not in America."

Norm Solomon, Ph.D., dean of the Dolan School, said, "David is wholly invested in Fairfield. He is a wonderful person who has shown time and again how much he cares about his fellow students, the Dolan School of Business and the community."

Guerrera has found that Fairfield offers many opportunities, including its study abroad program in China. He studied the Chinese culture and language at The Beijing Center, a complement to his Asian Studies minor, he said. The minor focuses on the importance of Asia in the world political and economic system, and the curriculum explores how the entire world will be impacted by future developments in Asia. "Asia is getting so powerful in our global economy and has such influence on our corporate culture. I thought it was a smart place to study and I learned a bit of Chinese, too," he said.

The Dolan School offers a wealth of internship opportunities with Fortune 500 companies in the area, including Fairfield-based General Electric Company. According to Dr. Solomon, Guerrera is one of the few students who have been selected twice for summer internships with General Electric. Last year, he completed an internship at GE's corporate headquarters in Connecticut, and he is now completing another at GE Healthcare in Milwaukee. "Healthcare is a growing industry in business. I thought what better way to get my foot in the door to this field," Guerrera said.

His accomplishments at Fairfield include being invited to be a member of Alpha Sigma Nu, the Jesuit honor society; and Beta Gamma Sigma, the national business honor society. He is also a member of the Dean's Roundtable Advisory Council that involves students sharing their perspectives on Dolan School matters.

But Guerrera is a familiar face on campus for other reasons as well. His ear for music and talent for spinning records led him to found his own disc jockey business. He has worked at numerous events on the Fairfield campus, including the President's Ball and Fairfield University Student Association (FUSA) activities. "A great way to learn about business is to run one," he added.

The McGowan fund is named after its late founder, William G. McGowan, a former chairman of MCI Communications Corp. McGowan created the scholarship fund because it was a scholarship program that helped finance his education. After being accepted as a graduate student to Harvard University, McGowan didn't think he would have enough money to pay the tuition. Thanks to a scholarship, he was able to study at the prestigious school.

Guerrera's application essay celebrated McGowan's optimism and entrepreneurial spirit. "I wrote about how he took on Bell South and how his impact on MCI changed the telecommunications field," he said. "He was a very hard worker."

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

Posted on July 4, 2007

Vol. 40, No. 4

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