Fairfield University welcomes 880 freshmen


Fairfield University welcomed to its campus 880 new students who make up the Class of 2001. The first-year students come from 23 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and 8 foreign countries and have an average SAT score of 1127, an increase of 20 points over the previous year. Among the class members are 13 class presidents, 8 student council presidents, 33 yearbook editors, 19 school newspaper editors, 5 presidents of their schools' National Honor Societies, and four Eagle Scouts. Over 10 percent of the class is multicultural.

The University received 5,494 applications for the class, a rise of almost 5 percent over the previous year, and admitted 3,747, an acceptance rate of almost 4 percent fewer than for the Class of 2000. Other statistics of note show that 20 percent of the freshmen graduated in the top 10 percent of their high school classes and 44 percent were in the top 20 percent. Eleven percent of the students are related to an alumnus and following in the path of a relative in coming to Fairfield and 70 students are graduates of a Jesuit high school.

At this time, 44 percent of the students in the College and Arts and Sciences and in the School of Business have not selected their majors and will receive counseling to help make the choices. In Arts and Sciences, the most popular majors are Biology (99 freshmen), Psychology (52), Communication Arts (34), Politics (29), History (25) and English (24). The leading majors in the School of Business are Marketing (23) and Accounting (21).

New York is the state that provides the most first-year students (240) followed by Connecticut (237) and Massachusetts (175). States that showed notable increases from last year are Florida, up from 7 to 13; Illinois from 15 to 22; and Maryland from 10 to 21.

The academic year opened with some changes on campus. In the classroom, study abroad programs with Herzen University of St. Petersburg, Russia and Wroxton College in Wroxton, Oxfordshire, England are now available to students and faculty. In addition, Dr. Katherine Kidd, the new director for the Internal Studies program, is developing short-term overseas trips for course credit.

Approximately half of the seniors in Arts and Sciences enrolled in internships or research projects as interest in such programs continues to grow, bringing together classwork and work-world experience.

In the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, Chinese and Hebrew have been added to a curriculum that already included Italian (which moves from a part-time to full-time faculty position), French, German, Japanese, Russian and Spanish. Meanwhile, new faculty member Dr. James Simon will expand the English Department's offerings in journalism. A former state news editor for the Associated Press, he brings experience in public relations and pubic affairs as well besides having taught at the University of the Pacific in California.

With the arrival of Dr. Harold Forsythe, the offerings in the program in Black Studies: Africa and and Diaspora will be able to expand. He previously taught at Rancho Santiago College and at the University of California, San Diego. His areas of specialization include 19th and 20th century American history as well as African-American history and his dissertation was entitled "Cast Down Your Buckets: The Afro-American Struggle to Create Political Community in Virginia's Rural Southside, 1863-1902."

Several former adjunct professors are moving into full faculty positions including Dr. David Zera, adjunct from 1990 until this year in the Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions. He holds a master's degree in special education with a learning disabilities concentration as well as two advanced certificates from Fairfield. Other former adjuncts returning are the Rev. Francis Hannafey, S.J., an adjunct in marketing while serving as assistant academic vice president 1986-89; Dr. Joy Gordon, an adjunct in philosophy, in 1994 who is also a member of the bar in two states and co-founder of the Cuba-U.S. Academic Consortium; and Dr. Kidd, director of International Studies, an adjunct from 1991 to 1993 in the Politics Department.

A master's degree in American Studies is also new and there are 23 students enrolled. Dr. Leo O'Connor, director of the program noted, "The subject of America is of great importance to the world population which is extraordinarily interested in our culture and institutions. No nation has spread itself so thoroughly and had more influence economically, politically and culturally than the United States. Some of the courses include, "Writing the Immigrant Experience," "Classical American Philosophy," "Female Religious Leadership in America," "The American Class Structure," and "The City in American Life."

The School of Business begins the year with accreditation by the AACSB-International Association for Management Education. Fairfield and Yale are the only independent universities in Connecticut given this accreditation.

In sports, the women's crew team has been upgraded to a varsity sport and the new Athletic Center is nearing completion and is expected to open in December.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on October 1, 1997