Fairfield University's signature fundraising event sets new record with $1.75 million for Multicultural Scholarship Fund

Image: Ed CooleyMore than six hundred guests attended Fairfield University's 24th annual Awards Dinner last night to benefit the school's Multicultural Scholarship Fund.

Event co-chairs 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 announced to a packed room at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York that the university's signature fundraising event set a new a record of $1.75 million for the scholarship fund - breaking the $1.4 million amount from 2010. "With your support, deserving young men and women from many different backgrounds will have access to a Fairfield education - an opportunity that, without that support, may not have happened," said Ollwerther.

The annual event raises money for need-based scholarships, which are awarded to students from various racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds from around the country. The dinner also recognizes alumni, faculty, and administrators for the highest levels of professional achievement, outstanding leadership, academic excellence, and meritorious service to the university.

Since the dinner's inception in 1988, more than $11 million has been raised for the endowed scholarship, and over 400 students have received assistance through the fund.

University President Jeffrey P. Von Arx, S.J., said, "I am especially grateful to our co-chairs this year. Tonight is a celebration of these efforts. In your support of the Multicultural Scholarship Fund, all of you here this evening help to ensure access to a Fairfield Jesuit education regardless of race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic differences. For your participation in this endeavor, I offer you my heartfelt thanks."

Image: Soobin LimSoobin Lim, a senior from Flushing, N.Y., credited the Fund for her success and said, "I would like to express my appreciation for my scholarship from the Fairfield University Multicultural Scholarship Fund. It was a huge determining factor in deciding to attend Fairfield."

Lim, who was born in Korea, explained she was just 10 years old, and didn't speak English when she came to the United States with her family. "What a long path I have travelled since then. My scholarship to Fairfield has nourished my life. I've been welcomed by a wonderful community, appreciated as the unique person I am, and learned many tools and skills to help others," said Lim.

Ed Cooley, the University's former men's basketball coach and 2011 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Coach of Year was the evening's keynote speaker. Cooley told the story of his own hardscrabble childhood, and praised the guests for their "blind generosity" in supporting access to education for students like himself. The crowd broke into applause when he then announced a $50,000 scholarship to the University in his mother's name.

The major awards of the evening were presented to three members of the Fairfield University community:

John C. Meditz '70 - Alumni Service Award

A resident of Weehawken, N.J., Meditz received the Alumni Service Award for his longstanding commitment to Fairfield. Known for his leadership abilities, Meditz is the co-founder and vice chairman of Horizon Asset Management, Inc., a New York based financial planning company.

A self-described history buff, his substantial gift of $2.5 million resulted in the construction of the Bellarmine Museum of Art. The facility is the newest gem on the campus, and one of the state's newest museums of art.

Meditz is a member of the board of trustees at Fairfield University and an active volunteer in his community-serving as the chairman of the Weehawken Planning Board and treasurer of the Weehawken Library. He is currently chairman of the Palisades Medical Center Board of Governors and 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

Novotny, who lives in Bridgeport, Conn., received the Distinguished Faculty Award for her outstanding contributions to the Fairfield University community.

Novotny was appointed dean of Fairfield's School of Nursing in 2001, 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.

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 brought considerable expertise in international nursing, having worked on projects in Mexico, Chile, Italy, and Zimbabwe.

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

Egan, a resident of Boston, Mass., was honored with the Alumni Professional Achievement Award. A pioneer in the field of venture capital, Egan 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. He is currently founder and general partner of Alta Communications and Marion Equity Partners LLC.

Known for his generosity, Egan, with his wife Jackie, endowed three scholarships at Fairfield and named them in honor of Fairfield faculty in the fields of English, economics, and modern languages. He also contributed to the building of the Egan Chapel of St. Ignatius Loyola, named after his parents, John and Marion Egan.

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.

Image: top) Ed Cooley ; bottom) Soobin Lim

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

Posted on April 7, 2011

Vol. 43, No. 272

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