Melissa Slusz wins $18,000 William G. McGowan Scholarship for senior year at Fairfield University's Charles F. Dolan School of Business


Image: Melissa SluszMelissa Slusz, a senior at Fairfield University's Charles F. Dolan School of Business, was chosen to receive the prestigious William G. McGowan Scholarship. Slusz, of Kensington, Conn., will receive $18,000 to go toward her senior year tuition.

The William G. McGowan Charitable Fund, Inc. is a philanthropic organization dedicated to providing financial assistance to students continuing their education in selected academic institutions. It is named after its late founder, William G. McGowan, former chairman of MCI Communications Corp. Moments after getting the good news from Heather Petraglia, assistant dean of the Dolan School, Slusz phoned her parents, Anthony, who works for IBM Global Services, and Josephine, who works for Saint Paul Catholic School in Kensington, Melissa's alma mater. "They were over the moon, to say the least... I have them to thank because they are my role models and they have instilled in me the values that I believe in, which are the values that inspired my essay."

In her scholarship essay, Slusz shared that she related to McGowan, both personally and professionally. His legacy is as much about being a socially responsible and civic-minded individual as it is about being an entrepreneur who took on AT&T and helped consumers in the process. The McGowan Fund is based on the experience of McGowan during his college days. He struggled in his youth to pay his tuition at Harvard Business School. Ultimately, he benefited from Harvard's Baker Scholars award that allowed him to complete his MBA there.

She wrote, "Mr. McGowan's business bravado and insights were second to his social responsibility. He never turned his back on his past, but rather provided for those same hard working individuals that might follow in his footsteps. He combined business ethics and a social conscience to constitute his own brand of 'social ethics.' "

The Chicago-based 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. In addition to consistently being named to the Dean's List, Slusz is a member of the Dolan School's Marketing Club.

Norm Solomon, dean of the Dolan School, called Slusz an outstanding student. "Melissa has been a thoughtful and conscientious member of the Dean's Advisory Roundtable." Mark Ligas, Ph.D., chair of the marketing department, described her as conscientious, studious and incredibly hard-working. "I can only speculate that friends and other students who have worked with her find her to be an excellent resource and an individual that can be counted on."

Slusz is majoring in marketing and pursuing a minor in Art History, not a typical pairing of studies. She was drawn to marketing because it "combines the best of the past with the innovations of the future," while Art History has stimulated her creative side.

McGowan was renowned for being a visionary, but at the same time, he was a businessman with a great respect for the past. This resonated with Slusz. "Mr. McGowan was an individual who grew from his experiences and used them to always benefit society and the business landscape that surrounded him. I can think of no better guidepost than that to hang my business credentials on."

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

Posted on June 25, 2008

Vol. 40, No. 294