On July 1st, 2017 Mark R. Nemec, PhD became the 9th President of Fairfield University. Additionally, Dr. Nemec joined the politics department as a professor within the College of Arts and Sciences.
A graduate of Loyola High School, Jesuit College Preparatory in Los Angeles, Dr. Nemec earned a PhD in Political Science and an MA in Education from the University of Michigan and a BA in English from Yale, where he was an All-Ivy League rugby player. 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. He 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.
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, Dr. Nemec led the school’s significant growth and evolution by focusing on extending the university’s reach to ever broader student populations in ever more innovative ways.
Building upon the University of Chicago’s commitment to rigorous inquiry in all its offerings, Graham reaffirmed its commitment to lifelong learning in the liberal arts by reinvesting in its core programs for adult learners. By committing resources to both long established and newly created programs ranging from the Basic Program of Liberal Education for Adults, which celebrated its 70th anniversary during his tenure, to working with leading global employers to develop liberal arts offerings for professionals, Nemec helped the school advance its academic goals.
During his tenure, Graham invested in professional programs in newly emerging, multi-disciplinary fields recognizing their significance to higher education’s continued relevance including master’s degrees and certificate programs to insure career development with rigor. In just three years, Graham greatly expanded its Master of Science in Analytics program and developed a Master of Science in Biomedical Informatics both of which have generated significant impact with students and employers in a short amount of time.
Recognizing that not every student’s path in higher education is linear, Graham School, with Dr. Nemec’s guidance, established outreach and scholarship programs to increase access for students from a variety of backgrounds. Most notably, the school created the Historically Black College and University (HBCU) and Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) Bridge Scholars Program which offered exceptional students an opportunity to explore paths to graduate or professional school after their college graduation, and to support them in their eventual applications to graduate or professional degree programs.
Under Dr. Nemec’s leadership, Graham explored, developed, and implemented new modalities and approaches to teaching and learning and served as an instrument of innovation in areas of university-wide strategic importance, with a particular emphasis on online pedagogy and digital engagement. Graham has been the steward on the university’s partnerships with innovative online course providers such as Coursera, edX, FutureLearn, and GetSmarter. Additionally, Graham partnered with the University of Chicago’s Alumni Relations and Development group to launch UChicago AlumniU, an online digital engagement platform which engaged over 1500 unique alumni (many for the first time since graduation) in its first year through courses and discussion forums.
Prior to his tenure at the University of Chicago, Nemec turned from academia to the use of data and analysis to help global organizations including institutions of higher education operate more strategically and effectively. He joined the University of Chicago after serving 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 joined the Fairfield community as president and as professor in the department of politics with his wife, Suzanne, and their four children Alex, Teddy, Philip and Kit.
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
Nancy Dallavalle became the Vice President for Mission and Identity at Fairfield University in 2015. Dr. Dallavalle leads the University’s efforts in mission and identity across campus, with particular concern for Fairfield University’s Catholic and Jesuit character reaching both internal and external audiences. She supports Fairfield’s numerous ties already in place with the Diocese of Bridgeport and a variety of other affiliate groups. Dr. Dallavalle holds a doctorate in theology from the University of Notre Dame, an M.A. in theology from St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota and a bachelor’s degree in music from Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. Dr. Dallavalle serves on the advisory boards for Fairfield’s Center for Catholic Studies and the Center for Ignatian Spirituality.
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 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 both the New England Basketball Hall of Fame and the Clark University Athletic 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, Marketing and Communications, Finance, Institutional Research, Human Resources, Events and Conference Management, Facilities Management and Student Affairs.
Vice President for Enrollment Management
Karen Pellegrino joined Fairfield in 2004 and has responsibility for all Enrollment, Admission and Financial Aid at Fairfield University. Prior to joining Fairfield University, Ms. Pellegrino held positions in the Admission offices of both Boston College and Fordham University. Ms. Pellegrino received a both a bachelor’s degree in psychology and English in 1984 and a master’s degree in higher education administration in 1996 from Boston College. Ms. Pellegrino has spent much of her career working with Jesuit universities, believing strongly that Jesuit institutions provide a unique opportunity for students to combine a tradition of academic excellence with a community that nurtures an individual’s personal and spiritual development.
Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Christine Siegel, PhD, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, assumed the role of Interim Provost on Jan. 1. 2017. Dr. Siegel joined the Fairfield University faculty in 2005 as an Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions. Since her tenure and promotion to Associate Professor in 2008, Dr. Siegel has assumed increasing administrative responsibilities at the University, serving as GSEAP’s Associate Dean and University Consultant for Assessment. Following completion of her PhD in Educational Psychology and Statistics in 1998, Dr. Siegel worked extensively in the K-12 setting as a psychologist and school administrator. She has taken the lead on a number of important initiatives at Fairfield, the most recent of which include revision of the core curriculum, promotion of inclusive excellence through campus climate assessment and diversity projects, and innovation in teaching and learning through re-structuring the CAE and increasing access to technology in our classrooms. Dr. Siegel was instrumental in writing the University’s strategic plan and establishing frameworks for student learning assessment. As Interim Provost, Dr. Siegel assumed leadership for the Academic Division working directly with the Academic Deans and faculty governance committees.
Vice President for Finance and Chief Financial Officer
Mr. Trafecante is the vice president for finance and treasurer and chief financial officer of the University. He has more than 20 years of financial management experience spanning the areas of public accounting, information technology, transportation, 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. Trafecante is a Fairfield alumnus, earning his MBA in finance in 2001. He earned his bachelor of arts degree in accounting from Assumption College.