Fairfield University Awards Dinner to raise funds for Alumni Multicultural Scholarship Fund


Merrill Lynch CEO keynote speaker; Two "Pioneers" among honorees

onealE. Stanley O'Neal, chief executive officer of Merrill Lynch, will deliver the keynote address at Fairfield University's Awards Dinner on Tuesday evening, April 1, at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers in New York City. The annual dinner benefits the Alumni Multicultural Scholarship Fund at Fairfield and honors distinguished alumni and a member of the faculty or administration of the University. The chair of the dinner is Michael Neal of Weston, Conn., a university trustee and president and chief executive officer, GE Commercial Finance, and senior vice president, General Electric Company.

The University will present Mr. O'Neal with the Distinguished Leadership Award. Named last year by Fortune magazine as the most powerful black executive in America, he will become chairman of Merrill Lynch on April 28, 2003, joining the elite group of African-Americans to head Fortune 500 companies.

Mr. O'Neal joined Merrill Lynch in 1986 and has held leadership positions throughout his career there, including in the areas of global capital markets, investment banking, and client strategies. From 1998 to 2000, he was executive vice president and chief financial officer, responsible for worldwide financial and risk management. In 2000 he was named president of the U.S. Private Client Group and two years later, chief executive officer of Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. Prior to joining Merrill Lynch, Mr. O'Neal worked for General Motors Corp. in New York and Madrid, Spain. While working part-time on a GM auto assembly line in Georgia, he attended Kettering University (formerly known as the General Motors Institute), graduating in 1974 with a bachelor's degree in industrial administration, and then earning an MBA with distinction from Harvard University in 1978.

Mr. O'Neal is on the board of directors for GM, the NASDAQ Stock Market, and the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., formed to oversee redevelopment following the Sept. 11 terrorist attack. In addition, he is former vice chairman of the Securities Industry Association and a member of the Capital Markets Advisory Committee of the New York Stock Exchange. He serves as a trustee of the National Urban League, Ronald McDonald House of New York, Catalyst, and the Buckley School, and also serves on the advisory board of the Bronx Preparatory Charter School.

Among the other honorees are two "pioneers" who helped open the university in 1947: Rev. Victor Leeber, S.J., a member of the first faculty; and Arthur Laske of Trumbull, Conn., a member of the first class (1951) at Fairfield. Also being honored are Maive Scully of Fairfield, Conn., class of 1976 and senior vice president and chief financial officer of GE Consumer Finance operation in Stamford, Conn.; and Kurt Schlichting, Ph.D., of Fairfield, Conn., class of 1970 and professor of sociology and anthropology at Fairfield.

father leberFr. Leeber will be presented with the Honorary Alumnus Award. As a member of the original faculty, he founded and chaired, for 26 years, the modern languages department, teaching Spanish, French and Italian to generations of students. He also founded five varsity sports programs, including track, football, men's and women's swimming and men's basketball and over the years served as chaplain and mentor to scores of student athletes.

Fr. Leeber retired from teaching in 1992, but remained active as a tutor and mentor to student athletes. Upon his retirement, the first Rev. Victor F. Leeber, S.J. Scholarship was established through the generosity of countless friends, family, faculty and staff. Eight years later, in 2000, a second scholarship was named for Fr. Leeber through the generosity of William Egan '67 and his wife Jacalyn. Last October, Fr. Leeber moved from the Fairfield Jesuit Community to Campion Center in Weston, Mass., where he is gathering historical data on the university with plans to write a history of Fairfield.

laskeMr. Laske of Trumbull, Conn., will receive the Alumni Service Award. A 1947 Fairfield Prep graduate and a business major who commuted from Trumbull, he has said that the experience of being in Fairfield's very first class gave him and his classmates "a pioneering spirit" and a bond that continues today. He served on the Alumni Association Board of Directors for 16 years and helped organize his class reunions in 1991 and 2001. His oldest daughter, Susan, is a 1983 Fairfield graduate with a degree in psychology.

A longtime member of the President's Circle at Fairfield, Mr. Laske is a director of the William T. Morris Foundation. He is a member of the board of the Somir Petroleum Foundation and the St. Vincent's Medical Center Foundation and an usher at Christ the King Church in Trumbull.

maiveMaive Scully of Fairfield, Conn., senior vice president and chief financial officer of GE Consumer Finance operation in Stamford, Conn., will receive Fairfield's Professional Achievement Award. During a 26-year career with GE, she has held various financial management positions with GE and GE Capital. Named vice president, finance, for GE Consulting Services in 1988, she was promoted to portfolio manager for GE Capital Services in 1990 and then chief financial officer of GE Capital's Structured Finance Group in 1992. Prior to her current position, she was in a cross-functional role as Managing Director of Global Telecom within SFG, responsible for developing investments in the telecommunications area.

A 1976 graduate of Fairfield with a bachelor of science degree in finance, Ms. Scully was a member of Fairfield's Board of Trustees for two terms, from 1993 to 1999 and was the National Alumni Annual Fund chair in 1998. A member of the President's Circle, she served on the Fairfield Awards Dinner Committee from 1993 to 2000.

schlichtingKurt Schlichting, Ph.D., of Fairfield, Conn., professor of sociology and anthropology at Fairfield University, will receive the Distinguished Faculty Award. A 1970 graduate of Fairfield, Dr. Schlichting earned a master's and a doctoral degree from New York University in sociology and returned to his alma mater in 1974 as a member of the faculty.

As a sociology professor, he encourages discussion on topics such as inequality, social structure, and urban/suburban relationships, while also teaching statistics and data analysis - tools that can help bring about social change. He is the director of the Fairfield County Research Center, established at the University in 1987 to provide statistical information and data analysis for local governments and non-profit organizations.

In 2001 his book, Grand Central Terminal: Railroads, Architecture and Engineering in New York, was published by Johns Hopkins Press and went on to receive the Association of American Publishers 2002 Best Professional/ Scholarly Book Award in the category of Architecture and Urbanism.

In 2002 he and the University were among the fewer than five percent of applicants awarded a grant from the Federal Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education. The three-year grant will be used to implement Geographic Informations Systems technology at five area high schools, two of which serve predominantly inner-city students. He has also received major grants from the Archbold Charitable Trust, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the Rockefeller Brothers Trust.

Michael A. Neal, who is chairing the dinner, is president and chief executive officer of GE Commercial Finance, an array of businesses with assets of more than $180 billion that offer financial services and products to businesses of any size. Previously, he was president and chief operating officer of GE Capital Corporation.

nealHe has held various assignments at General Electric Company since he began in 1979. In 1990 he became general manager of Commercial Equipment Financing and in 1994 was appointed executive vice president of GE Capital. He has been recognized for planning and implementing GE Capital's successful core growth strategies, acquiring and building throughout Asia, most notably in Japan. Recently he led the effort to acquire Heller Financial Services, which at $20 billion dollars is GE Capital's largest-ever acquisition.

A graduate of Georgia Institute of Technology, Mr. Neal is a member of the U.S. Advisory Board of the European Institute of Business Administration, the Georgia Tech Foundation and the Board of Stamford-based Soundwaters. He has been the chairman of the GE Capital New York/Connecticut/New Jersey tri-state United Way campaign and participates in several local community volunteer activities through GE ELFUN.

Anyone interested in attending the dinner should contact the Special Events Office at (203) 254-4000, ext. 2661.

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

Posted on March 10, 2003

Vol. 35, No. 235