Fairfield University establishes Center for Faith and Public Life Advisory Board of leaders from the corporate world, civic life and religious organizations

Fairfield University has announced the formation of an Advisory Board to the Center for Faith and Public Life that has been charged with guiding the Center's strategic initiatives, and helping to secure the financial resources necessary to achieve its long-term growth. The board is made up of 15 distinguished Fairfield alumni, parents of University students, and prominent individuals from the corporate world, civic life and religious organizations. Rosellen Walsh Schnurr, '74, a member of the University's Board of Trustees, chairs the Advisory Board.

Rev. Richard Ryscavage, S.J., director of the Center for Faith and Public Life, said, "In putting together the external advisory board we were looking for energetic, highly accomplished and successful individuals with a strong commitment to the Catholic social values that undergird the Center for Faith and Public Life. At this early stage in the Center's evolution, we are in particular need of advice in the area of organizational development and program selection, as well as help in building up the Center's endowment."

The Center is an academic forum where students, faculty, scholars, policy makers, and community and religious leaders are able to explore the intersection of faith and civic life. The Center works to help students understand how to participate in building the global, national, and local common good: creating those social conditions that allow for the full flourishing of the human person in the political community.

The Center's many projects have focused on such important subjects as immigration and refugee policies, international and domestic humanitarian assistance, academic freedom, and Catholic social thought, to name just a handful. Additionally, the Center's Office of Service Learning facilitates connections between focused academic learning that meets disciplinary standards for rigor, with meaningful and appropriate service that addresses needs identified by and with communities.

Board members will bring their expertise to the Center to help champion its strategic direction, expand outreach, participate in events, enhance existing resources, and spearhead fundraising, among other objectives. Fr. Ryscavage said, "The new board is a dynamic mix of persons who have a direct Fairfield connection and others who are involving themselves with the University for the first time. I think that they all will become strong and effective 'ambassadors' for the Center as we move forward."

The Advisory Board is:

  • Rosellen Walsh Schnurr, '74, chair. She has 30 years of experience as an educator in both the private and public sector. In recognition of the extraordinary generosity of the Walsh family, an art gallery and the athletic center at the University have been named in their honor.
  • David Babbitt, '79. He is vice president for Global Markets, Foreign Exchange Sales for Bank of New York. His distinguished career in banking has required extensive travel to the Far East, Africa, the Middle East and Europe.
  • Pierre D. Bognon. A board member of the Fairfield chapter of Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice and a Knight of Malta, he retired as CFO of Marsh Europe in 2003 after working for 20 years for Marsh & McLennan.
  • Mary Ryan Cunningham, '76. A Fairfield resident, she serves on the Board of Trustees for Fairfield Country Day School. She has volunteered for many years at Lauralton Hall and Fairfield Prep where her children attended high school.
  • Charles MacCormack. He is president and chief executive officer of Save the Children, the world's leading independent non-profit serving needy children. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
  • Robert Murphy, '71. A 32-year veteran of ABC News, he is now vice president of administration for ABC. He's played key roles in the re-launch of "Nightline" and the network's 2008 political coverage.
  • Gregory Neville. A director in Credit Product Sales with Barclays Capital, he earned a J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law.
  • Marianne O'Connell Neville, '79. She worked for Irving Trust Company in financial institutions banking for a decade. She and husband, Gregg, a fellow board member, are the parents of a Fairfield sophomore.
  • British Robinson is the Director of Public-Private Partnerships in the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator at the State Department. In 1994, Robinson joined the Social and International Ministries Office of the U.S. Jesuit Conference as a policy analyst and was later named the agency's national director.
  • •    Robert Rooney. He is president of the Fairfield County chapter of Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice, and is the executive vice president and chief operating officer of Affinion Group, Inc.
  • •    Kelly Ryan. She has devoted her professional career to public service. She has served her country as both a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State as well as a Vice Counsel at the Department of Justice. A graduate of Georgetown Law, Kelly has a keen interest in Fairfield's efforts to connect issues of faith and public life.
  • Daniel Sullivan, '73. He is president and CEO of Collette Travel Services, and has been very active in charitable efforts that have aided Hurricane Katrina and Kosovo war victims, among other people in need.
  • G. Kurt von Uffel. He is Vice President, Director of Sales of Electronic Liquidity Exchange and has worked for many years on Wall Street. He became a Knight of Malta in 2003. He earned a B.S. in economics from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School.
  • Erin von Uffel. She is a Dame of Malta, and has been very involved in numerous non-profits and charitable organizations, including the Path to Peace Foundation. She and her husband Kurt are the parents of a Fairfield freshman.
  • Margaret Smith, '74. She worked at Citibank for seven years. A graduate of both Fairfield University and Rutgers University, she worked on the Capital Campaign for several years at Shipley School in Bryn Mawr, Penn., where all three of her children attended.
  • Supporting the Advisory Board is Fr. Richard Ryscavage, S.J., who is also professor of sociology at Fairfield. He served as national director of the Jesuit Refugee Service. He chaired the humanitarian section of INTERACTION, the largest coalition of American non-governmental organizations working internationally. He was the first Arrupe Tutor at the Refugee Studies Centre of Oxford University in England. While he was executive director of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Office of Migration and Refugee Services, he ran one of the world's largest refugee resettlement agencies where he oversaw annual federal grants of more than $40 million from the State Department and the Department of Health and Human Services. In 2006, he was invited by the Vatican to become a member of the official delegation of the Holy See to the 61st session of the UN General Assembly.

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

Posted on March 17, 2009

Vol. 41, No. 253

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