On July 1, 2017 Mark R. Nemec, PhD, became the 9th Ignatian and first lay President of Fairfield University. He was formally inaugurated on October 20, 2017.
Working with his senior leadership team and constituents across campus, President Nemec has positioned Fairfield as a model of the modern, Jesuit Catholic University committed to lifelong learning, holistic formation, and expansive partnership.
Under President Nemec’s leadership Fairfield has continued its rise as a values-based, student-centric, outcomes-focused institution dedicated to forming men and women for and with others, in pursuit of social justice and productive citizenship.
In this most recent year, Fairfield garnered a record number of undergraduate applications and enrollments, with particular growth in the number of applicants outside the Northeast region – a reflection of the University’s growing stature and enhanced national reputation. An expanded and updated Barone Campus Center was opened to students, with “The Tully” dining commons offering greater open space and dining options; a new residence hall was completed for the fall of 2018; and construction continues on a new $40 million facility for the Charles F. Dolan School of Business, scheduled to open in fall of 2019.
President Nemec is also leading the successful completion of the largest capital campaign in University history, currently closing in on a revised target of $210 million, having exceeded the original target of $160 million.
A graduate of Loyola High School, Jesuit College Preparatory in Los Angeles, President Nemec earned a BA in English from Yale, where he was an All-Ivy League rugby player. He received an MA in education and a PhD in political science from the University of Michigan. Early in his career, he taught American politics as a visiting assistant professor at Davidson College, and as an instructor at the University of Michigan.
Most recently, Dr. Nemec served as the dean of the Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies at the University of Chicago. As dean, he led the school’s significant growth and evolution by focusing on innovative ways to extend the university’s reach to broader student populations. Prior to his tenure at the University of Chicago, Dr. Nemec served as president and chief executive officer of Eduventures, a Boston-based information services firm providing research and advice to the higher education community. He previously had been a member of the executive team of Forrester Research, a provider of similar services to the technology industry.
Dr. Nemec is the author of Ivory Towers and Nationalist Minds: Universities, Leadership, and the Development of the American State (University of Michigan Press, 2006), and a contributor to The Educational Legacy of Woodrow Wilson (University of Virginia Press, 2012).
Beyond his research on the role of higher education in American political development, Dr. Nemec has been a frequent speaker on the current and future state of higher education and has presented to a diverse array of audiences including the White House’s Forum on College Affordability, the British Council’s Going Global, the New England Board of Higher Education’s Summit on Cost in Higher Education, and the annual meetings of numerous higher education associations.
Dr. Nemec was welcomed into the Fairfield community with his wife, Suzanne, and their four children: Alex, Teddy, Philip and Kit. In addition to his role as President of Fairfield University, Dr. Nemec also joined the politics department as a professor within the College of Arts and Sciences.
Vice President Marketing and Communications
Jennifer Anderson joined Fairfield in 2014 and oversees the University’s division of Marketing and Communications. Ms. Anderson brings more than 18 years of marketing and communications expertise to Fairfield including extensive experience in traditional and digital marketing, employee communications, media and public relations and marketing communications. Prior to joining Fairfield, Ms. Anderson served as the Vice President, Digital and Event Marketing for Pitney Bowes where she oversaw the company’s external and internal web properties, content marketing efforts and the global events organization. While at Pitney Bowes, Ms. Anderson also served as the Vice President, Office of the CEO, overseeing the operations of the CEO’s office and she led Marketing for one of the companies $1.5B global services divisions. Ms. Anderson graduated in 1997 with a BA in English from Fairfield University and earned an MBA in Marketing from the Charles F. Dolan School of Business. Ms. Anderson is also a graduate of the Executive Leadership Programs at Harvard University and Darden School of Business.
Vice President Mission and Identity
As vice president for Mission and Identity at Fairfield University, Rev. Gerry Blaszczak, S.J., leads the University’s campus-wide efforts to ensure that the University’s Catholic and Jesuit character reaches both internal and external audiences. Fr. Gerry has responsibility for several University programs including the Center for Ignatian Spirituality (CIS) and Campus Ministry. He also oversees Fairfield’s ties to the Diocese of Bridgeport and other affiliate groups.
Fr. Gerry entered the Society of Jesus in 1967 and was ordained in 1979. He holds a PhD in New Testament and early Church history with a secondary field of Islamic Studies from Harvard University. He earned a B.Phil. from Philosophische Hochschule Berchmanskolleg in Pullach, Germany and a BA, summa cum laude, in classics from Fordham University.
Fr. Gerry has been on the faculty of Le Moyne College, Fordham University, and Hekima College in Nairobi, Kenya. He has held the title of Secretary for the Service of Faith at the Jesuit General Headquarters in Rome, and has also served as novice director for the Maryland and New York Provinces of the Jesuits, superior of the Fordham Jesuit community, parochial vicar at St. Raphael’s Church in Raleigh, N.C., and pastor of St. Ignatius Loyola Church in Manhattan.
Vice President Human Resources
Scott Esposito joined Fairfield in 2015 as the Vice President of Human Resources. Mr. Esposito brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the institution, with over thirty years of Human Resources Leadership in a variety of industries and settings. Prior to joining Fairfield, Mr. Esposito was the Managing Director of Horton International LLC, a West Harford based human resources and talent recruitment firm serving clients in higher education as well as life sciences, financial services and manufacturing. From 2004-2010 he served as Vice President of Human Resources for Pratt and Whitney, the $12B aerospace division of United Technologies with over 34,000 employees. Mr. Esposito graduated cum laude from Fairfield in 1982 with a B.S. in management and completed his master’s degree in financial management at the Fairfield University Charles F. Dolan School of Business in 1987. He is also a graduate of the Executive Development Program of the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business.
Vice President for Facilities Management
David Frassinelli was named vice president of Facilities Management in 2018. Since joining Fairfield University in 2008, he has been responsible for campus operations as well as capital planning and construction. David has overseen the construction or renovation of more than half a million square feet of campus facilities, including a $60 million residential building program, Rafferty Stadium, and the $22 million Recreation Complex. Projects completed last year include the $19 million Tully Dining Expansion, the $31 million Center for Nursing and Health Sciences, and a 379-car parking garage. Projects under construction include a 200-bed residence hall and the $42 million new Dolan School of Business. Fairfield will be starting another wave of major construction projects that will provide housing, an Academic Commons, and renovations to a number of academic facilities. In 2011, David was awarded the Association of General Contractors Private Owner of the Year. David holds an undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College, a certificate in construction management from Stanford University, and an MS in finance from Fairfield University.
Vice President for University Advancement
Wally Halas is chief advancement officer of the University, responsible for all development and alumni relations functions and activities and the various offices and support services that comprise the Division of University Advancement.
Mr. Halas has more than 30 years of experience in fundraising and administration. Most recently, he was associate vice president for leadership gifts at St. John’s University in New York City, where he also oversaw the Office of Development and led the major gifts team on an interim basis. Mr. Halas also served in an interim role for the St. John’s School of Law as the executive director of development and alumni relations.
Prior to his position at St. John’s, Mr. Halas served as director of development-Northeast for Marquette University; assistant vice president for development at St. John’s; major gifts officer at Clark University; and commissioner of the Scholar-Athlete Games and chief operating officer of the Institute for International Sport at the University of Rhode Island.
Mr. Halas was the former head coach of men’s basketball at Columbia University and Clark University, where he also served as director of athletics and recreation. He has been selected to the New England Basketball Hall of Fame, the Clark University Athletic Hall of Fame, the Wakeman Boys and Girls Club Hall of Fame, and was recognized in 2007 by the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports as a Community Leader.
Mr. Halas holds a BA in political science and an MPA with a concentration in higher education from Clark University. He is a native of the Town of Fairfield and a graduate of Fairfield Prep.
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
Kevin Lawlor, ‘79 was named executive vice president and chief operating officer of Fairfield University in 2013. He joined his alma mater in the role of chief executive following more than 25 years in senior executive roles at United Technologies Corporation and serving most recently as vice president and GM of AAR’s Precision Systems division in Alabama. At UTC he played critical roles in finance, strategic planning, and program management, as well as the integration of multinational corporate units. Lawlor was an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he completed an MBA. He studied strategic cost management at Harvard Business School, undertook Senior Executive Training at the Darden School of the University of Virginia, and received an M.S. in Taxation from the University of New Haven. He is a 1979 graduate of the Fairfield University business school. As executive vice president, Mr. Lawlor oversees University operations, including Admission, Information Technology, Finance, Institutional Research, Human Resources, Events and Conference Management, Facilities Management, and Student Affairs.
Director of Athletics
Paul Schlickmann joined Fairfield University as the seventh Director of Athletics at Fairfield University in the summer of 2017. He oversees the Department of Athletics in all facets of its mission to help develop Fairfield’s varsity student-athletes in athletic competition, in the classroom, and as citizens of their local and global communities. Mr. Schlickmann brought a diverse background in collegiate athletics administration and growth in fundraising to Fairfield. He previously served as Director of Athletics at Central Connecticut State University for seven years, a tenure highlighted by 20 Northeast Conference Championships. Mr. Schlickmann has also held senior administrative positions in the athletic departments of Stony Brook University and Yale University. The son of a 1962 Fairfield graduate, Mr. Schlickmann was a four-year letter winner on the basketball team at Trinity College (Conn.), where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies. He also holds a Master of Science degree in Physical Education/Sport Management from Springfield College.
Christine Siegel, PhD, became Fairfield University’s provost in July, 2018. Dr. Siegel joined the Fairfield University faculty in 2005 as an assistant professor in the Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions (GSEAP). Granted tenure and promoted to associate professor in 2008, she assumed increasingly significant administrative responsibilities at the University, including GSEAP associate dean and associate vice president, before being named vice provost. As vice provost, Dr. Siegel contributed significantly to writing the University’s strategic plan, establishing frameworks for student learning assessment, and advancing inclusive excellence initiatives.
When Dr. Siegel was named interim provost in January, 2017, she assumed leadership for the Academic Division, working directly with the academic deans and faculty governance committees. In this role, her vision was instrumental in leading a number of significant initiatives, including hiring key academic personnel, reshaping the role of Fairfield’s academic centers, enhancing classroom technology resources, leading a successful accreditation process, revising the core curriculum, and refreshing the Honors Program.
Dr. Siegel earned a PhD in educational psychology and statistics in 1998 from State University of New York at Albany. A licensed psychologist, she worked in a variety of K-12 educational settings prior to transitioning to higher education. Her academic expertise in developmental psychology, learning theory, and educational assessment supports her scholarly work on teaching and learning, which has yielded numerous publications and professional conference presentations. Based on the recommendation of Fairfield’s Committee on Rank and Tenure following a 2018 review of her accomplishments, Dr. Siegel was granted the rank of professor.
Vice President for Finance and Chief Financial Officer
Mr. Trafecante is the vice president for finance, treasurer, and chief financial officer of the University. He has more than 25 years of financial management experience spanning the areas of public accounting, information technology, transportation, higher education, and investment management. In that time, he held leadership roles in all accounting and finance operations including planning and analysis, auditing, investor relations, treasury, internal controls and compliance, risk management, and payroll. Mr. Trafecante is a Fairfield alumnus, earning his MBA in finance in 2001. He earned his bachelor of arts degree in accounting from Assumption College.
Vice President for Strategic Enrollment Management
Corry D. Unis joined Fairfield University as vice president for strategic enrollment management in September, 2018. Mr. Unis most recently served as the vice president of enrollment at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. During his time at King’s College, Mr. Unis implemented new and innovative practices including predictive modeling and advanced analytics, resulting in increased enrollments, selectivity, and net tuition revenue. Prior to joining King’s College, Mr. Unis served as director of admissions at Alfred University in Alfred, N.Y., and as associate director of admission, among other positions, at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, N.Y. He holds a BA in political science from Le Moyne College and an MS in higher education management from Syracuse University.
Vice President for Student Life
Karen Donoghue ’03 was named Vice President for Student Life of Fairfield University in 2018. She oversees student engagement, recreation, student diversity, student conduct, and restorative mentoring. Donoghue is well known for her unique ability to combine individual care with a strategically sound execution of policy. Her singular efforts in promoting awareness around sexual assault and domestic violence have garnered recognition and praise from educational leaders and political representatives alike, and have made our campus a safer, more knowledgeable and respectful community. In addition to having oversight of many key living and learning areas, including but not limited to residential living, orientation and student programs, she is also a mentor to students, and was recognized by the Class of 2015 with the Manor Yearbook dedication. Prior to coming to Fairfield, Donoghue held an administrative position at Pennsylvania State University in State College, PA. She received her B.S. from Fairfield University and her M.A. from Rider University.