Fairfield University's signature fundraising event set for April 6



Proceeds will benefit Multicultural Scholarship Fund

Since 1988, Fairfield University has been recognizing alumni, faculty, and staff for the highest levels of professional achievement, outstanding leadership, academic excellence, and meritorious service. This year, two outstanding alumni and one distinguished administrator will be honored during the university's annual Awards Dinner on Wednesday, April 6, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York. Funds raised will go directly to the school's Multicultural Scholarship Fund, which has been strongly supported by dedicated Fairfield alumni, parents, and friends who have embraced the university's commitment to becoming a more diverse community - a major goal of its strategic plan. The co-chairs of the dinner event are Fairfield alumni Robert Ollwerther '78, P'10, chief operating officer at Avenue Capital Group, and Gavin O'Connor '88, managing director of the CAO Investment Management Division at Goldman Sachs. Tickets to the event can be purchased at www.fairfield.edu/awardsdinner.

Image: Ed CooleyIn 2010, the event raised nearly $1.4 million, and the university was able to distribute more than $367,000 in much needed scholarships. Since the first fundraising dinner in 1988, more than $11 million has been raised for the endowed scholarship, and over 155 students have received assistance through the fund.

Ed Cooley, Fairfield University's men's basketball coach and the 2011 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Coach of Year will be the keynote speaker. It's the second straight year that an organization has honored Cooley. Last season, he was selected as the inaugural Ben Jobe Award winner as the top minority coach in the country.

Following an impressive 10-year run as an assistant coach at Boston College, Cooley, in his fifth season at Fairfield, owns a 90-67 overall record, which ranks fourth on the university's all-time coaching wins list. He became the first Fairfield men's basketball coach to post a .500 or better record in league play in each of his five seasons. The Stags are 58-32 in conference play since he took over the helm.

The 2011 award recipients are as follows:

William P. Egan '67, P'99 - Alumni Professional Achievement Award

Image: W EganA Boston, Mass. resident, Egan received his bachelor's degree in economics from Fairfield University and a master's degree in business from the Wharton School. A pioneer in the field of venture capital, Egan began his career at New England Enterprise Capital Corporation, moving on to TA Associates, and later starting Burr, Egan, Deleage & Co. Over the years, he has identified and backed several of America's leading growth companies in the information technology, life sciences, and communications industries, including FedEx, Cephalon, and others. Egan is currently founder and general partner of Alta Communications and Marion Equity Partners LLC.

In 2000, Egan, with his with Jackie, endowed three scholarships at Fairfield and named them in honor of Fairfield faculty in the fields of English, economics, and modern languages. Over the past decade, well over 100 Fairfield students have benefitted from those scholarships.  Egan also contributed to the building of The Egan Chapel of St. Ignatius Loyola, named after his parents, John and Marion Egan. "Egan Chapel is the spiritual heart of the campus," said University President Jeffrey von Arx, S.J. "We are pleased to honor Bill for his distinguished career, but even more so for his devotion to Fairfield. He has been there whenever his alma mater has called on him."

For 18 years, Egan served as a member of Fairfield University's Board of Trustees. He is the past president and chairman of the National Venture Capital Association, a member of the Board of Overseers of The Wharton School, a trustee of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Duniry Foundation, and the University of Pennsylvania.

John C. Meditz '70 - Alumni Service Award

Image: J MeditzA resident of Weehawken, N.J., Meditz is the co-founder and vice chairman of Horizon Asset Management, Inc. In 1970, Meditz earned a bachelor's degree in economics from Fairfield University and later went on to complete a master's degree in finance from Rutgers University. He started his career as an instructor in economics at William Patterson College, and later worked at Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company, followed by a position at Bankers Trust Company, where he eventually became vice president and senior investment officer in the Private Clients Group.

A self-described history buff, the idea of a museum on the Fairfield campus with medieval art was attractive to Meditz and with a substantial gift from him, the new Bellarmine Museum of Art at Fairfield University became a reality. The museum houses the school's art collections, as well as medieval art on loan from Metropolitan Museum of Art's Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters. It is also a learning laboratory for Fairfield students, who attend classes in the seminar rooms. The beautiful main gallery of the museum bears the names of Meditz's late mother and father.

"When I explained to John what we hoped to do with the Bellarmine Museum for our students and the community, he said yes immediately," said von Arx, S.J. "John has a deep understanding of the mission of Fairfield as a Jesuit university, and he has served that mission well. He has been a University trustee during all of my term as president, and I have come to rely on his wise counsel and sympathetic ear."

Meditz is also a member of the board of trustees at Fairfield, and for the past 28 years, he has been chairman of the Weehawken Planning Board - Meditz is also treasurer of the Weehawken Library, and is currently chairman of the Palisades Medical Center Board of Governors. He also serves as chair of the Palisades Medical Center Foundation, and as vice chairman of the Board of Trustees for Xavier High School, New York, where he became a member of the Hall of Fame in 2008.

Jeanne M. Novotny, Ph.D., RN, FAAN - Distinguished Faculty Award

Image: Jean NovotnyNovotny, who lives in Bridgeport, Conn., received her undergraduate and graduate degrees in nursing from Ohio State University and a doctorate degree from Kent State University. In 2001, Novotny was appointed dean of Fairfield's School of Nursing, when enrollment hovered at about 120 students. Ten years later, Fairfield's School of Nursing is nationally recognized and has quadrupled in size with nearly 700 students.

"Jeanne has led the School through 10 years of unparalleled success and growth," said Rev. Paul Fitzgerald, S.J., senior vice president for Academic Affairs. "She not only understands and innovates according to the best, evidence-based, emerging practices in the field, but she also believes with all her soul that education of the whole person involves touching their hearts and engaging their spirit," he said.

Under Novotny's leadership, academic programs such as the Clinical Nurse Leader, Nurse Anesthesia, and Doctor of Nursing Practice graduate programs at Fairfield were all initiated. She has facilitated numerous partnerships and collaborations, including the VA Nursing Academy, St. Vincent's Medical Center, Bridgeport and Norwalk Hospitals, and local community colleges.

Novotny has also held positions at the University of Virginia, Case Western Reserve University, and Kent State University. She brought with her to Fairfield considerable expertise in international nursing, having worked on projects in Mexico, Chile, Italy, and Zimbabwe.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the website at www.fairfield.edu/awardsdinner, or contact Cindy Russo, Office of Corporate Relations at (203) 254-4000, ext. 2927.

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Media Contact: Mark Gregorio, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, mgregorio1@fairfield.edu

Posted on March 10, 2011

Vol. 43, No. 233