Student Handbook |Overview 


Fairfield University, founded by the Society of Jesus, is a coeducational institution of higher learning whose primary objectives are to develop the creative intellectual potential of its students and to foster in them ethical and religious values and a sense of social responsibility. Jesuit education, which began in 1547, is committed today to the service of faith, of which the promotion of justice is an absolute requirement.

Fairfield is Catholic in both tradition and spirit. It celebrates the God-given dignity of every human person. As a Catholic University it welcomes those of all beliefs and traditions who share its concerns for scholarship, justice, truth and freedom, and it values the diversity which their membership brings to the University community.

Fairfield educates its students through a variety of scholarly and professional disciplines. All of its schools share a liberal and humanistic perspective and a commitment to excellence. Fairfield encourages a respect for all the disciplines--their similarities, their differences, and their interrelationships. In particular, the undergraduate schools provide all students with a broad-based general educational curriculum with a special emphasis on the traditional humanities as a complement to more specialized preparation in disciplines and professions provided by the major programs. The University is also committed to society's need for liberally educated professionals. It meets the needs of its students to assume positions in this society through its undergraduate and graduate professional schools and programs.

A Fairfield education is a liberal education, characterized by its breadth and depth. The University offers opportunities for individual and common reflection, and provides training in such essential human skills as analysis, syntheses, and communication. The liberally educated person is able to assimilate and organize facts, to evaluate knowledge, to identify issues, to use appropriate methods of reasoning, and to convey conclusions persuasively in written and spoken word. Equally essential to liberal education is the development of the esthetic dimension of human nature, the power to imagine, to intuit, to create, and to appreciate. In its fullest sense, liberal education initiates students at a mature level into their culture, its past, its present, and its future.

Fairfield recognizes that learning is a lifelong process and sees the education which it provides as the foundation upon which its students may continue to build within their chosen areas of scholarly study or professional development. It also seeks to foster in its students a continuing intellectual curiosity and a desire for self-education which will extend to the broad range of areas to which they have been introduced in their studies.

As a community of scholars, Fairfield gladly joins in the broader task of expanding human knowledge and deepening human understanding, and to this end it encourages and supports the scholarly research and artistic production of its faculty and students.

Fairfield has a further obligation to share with its neighbors its resources and special expertise for the betterment of the community as a whole. Faculty and students are encouraged to participate in the larger community through service and academic activities. But most of all, Fairfield serves the wider community by educating its students to be socially aware and morally responsible persons.

Fairfield University values each of its students as individuals with unique abilities and potential, and respects the personal and academic freedom of all its members. At the same time, the University seeks to develop a greater sense of community within itself, a sense that all of its members belong to and are involved in it, sharing common goals and a common commitment to truth and justice, and manifesting in their lives common concern for others, which is the obligation of all educated, mature human beings.

Fairfield University Overview

Fairfield University offers education for an inspired life, preparing students for leadership and service through broad intellectual inquiry, the pursuit of social justice, and cultivation of the whole person: body, mind, and spirit.

A comprehensive University built upon the 450-year-old Jesuit traditions of scholarship and service, Fairfield University is distinguished by a rigorous curriculum, close interaction among faculty and students, and a beautiful, 200-acre campus with views of Long Island Sound.

Since its founding in 1942 by the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), the University has grown from an all-male school serving 300 to a competitively ranked coeducational institution serving 3,500 undergraduate students, 1,100 graduate students and approximately 400 continuing studies students.

Fairfield offers 44 undergraduate majors, 16 interdisciplinary minors, and 41 graduate programs. The University is comprised of five schools: the College of Arts and Sciences, the Charles F. Dolan School of Business, and the schools of Engineering, Graduate Education and Allied Professions, and Nursing. Students benefit from small class sizes, an outstanding faculty, a rich array of study abroad, internship, and service opportunities, and the resources and reputation of a school consistently ranked among the top regional universities in the north by the U.S. News & World Report.

In the past decade, more than 60 Fairfield students have been named Fulbright scholars, and the University is among the 12 percent of four-year colleges and universities with membership in Phi Beta Kappa, the nation's oldest and most prestigious academic honor society.

Fairfield is located one hour north of New York City at the center of a dynamic corridor of educational, cultural, and recreational resources, as well as leading corporate employers.

Diversity Vision Statement

As a Jesuit and Catholic institution, Fairfield University's commitment to the God-given dignity of the human person requires that we create an environment that promotes justice and fosters a deep understanding of human and cultural diversity. Fairfield is committed to encouraging dialogue among those with differing points of view in order to realize an integral understanding of what it means to be human. The University recognizes that transcending the nation's political and social divisions is a matter of valuing diversity and learning respect for individuals, in their similarities and their differences. Fairfield will continue to integrate diversity in all facets of University life--academic, administrative, social, and spiritual--as, together, the community seeks to realize a vision of common good that is rooted in genuine human solidarity.

Fairfield University defines diversity in the broadest sense, reflecting its commitment to creating a more inclusive community that is reflective of the richly diverse global community of which we are part. Diversity encompasses not only racial, ethnic, and religious diversity, but also diversity of socioeconomic contexts, cultural perspectives, national origins, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, physical ability, and educational backgrounds.

Seal of the University

Fairfield's seal combines elements of its several traditions. The gold pinecones come from the coat of arms of the family of Saint Robert Bellarmine, S.J., for whom the University was originally named. Superimposed on the cones is the badge of the Society of Jesus--the letters IHS surmounted by the cross and surrounded by the instruments of Christ's passion--to indicate that the University is in the care of members of the same religious family.

There are three compartments in the upper portion of the shield because "the school is dedicated and exists in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." The central compartment portrays a hart crossing a ford, a part of the coat of arms of the Diocese of Hartford, whose boundaries encompassed the Town of Fairfield when the University was founded. Finally, the two outer compartments show clusters of grapes, charges taken from the town seal and symbolic of the fertility of the verdant fields of the Town and County of Fairfield.

When the University was founded in 1942, the official name of the University was "Fairfield University of St. Robert Bellarmine." Three of the original seals with this name still exist on campus--in the main lobby of Alumni Hall, on the exterior of the Barone Campus Center, and on the glass front of Regis Hall facing the Quad.

Motto of the University

Fairfield's motto is "Per Fidem ad Plenam Veritatem" which translates as "Through Faith to the Fullness of Truth."

Patron Saint

Born in 1542, Saint Robert Bellarmine, S.J. (feast day, September 17) was a Cardinal and Doctor of the Universal Church and is the Patron Saint of Fairfield University. He was one of the most learned men of his time, and his books were such a powerful vindication of the Catholic Church that Queen Elizabeth I forbade her subjects from publishing or selling them under pain of death. A very popular orator, he could memorize an hour-long Latin sermon by reading it over once. He had the ability to simplify the great truths of theology and put them within range of ordinary people. Bellarmine confronted the Protestant Reformers and justified the right of the Catholic Church to defend herself and the faith, to meet moral issues, and to somehow guide and correct the temporal order.

In spite of his protests, the Pope made him a Cardinal "because he was without equal for learning in the Church of God." From this new vantage point he set about to root out the abuses which gave the Reformers grounds for their criticisms of the Church, and he presented to Pope Clement VIII a denunciation of the major abuses prevalent in the Pope's own Roman Curia. He also pointed out that the Pope was not the Church's overlord but its administrator. Only Pope Sixtus V's death prevented him from putting some of Bellarmine's writings on the list of forbidden books after Bellarmine opposed the Pope's theory of direct papal power over civil authority.

Bellarmine's concern for education was apparent from the letters he wrote urging careful training of mathematics teachers. Galileo invited Bellarmine to see the newfound wonders of the sky in his telescope and later Bellarmine turned to Jesuit scientists to confirm Galileo's findings. This resulted in Bellarmine's gentle treatment of Galileo at his trial, which did not please the Holy Office.

It is hard to imagine anyone with better qualifications to be the patron of Fairfield University not only because of his brilliant scholarship offered freely in the service of others, but also because of his commitment to intellectual integrity. In fact, his theories of government are reflected in the writings of Thomas Jefferson.


Fairfield's color is Cardinal Red (PMS 186).


The nickname/mascot for all intercollegiate athletic teams is the "Stags."

Stag mascot

Alma Mater

Fairfield! See the stag with cross of gold
Rears once more its undefeated head.
Fair our field, as any field of old,
Bids our banners, like our blood, be red.

"Through faith, unto total truth," our cry
Swells from the sea to spire and sky;
Hear, Alma Mater, hear! Fairfield, hail!

Mem'ries fold away the thought of thee:
Autumn roses crimson on the bough,
Bright snow breaking to the dogwood tree
Keeps spring singing, then as now.

"Through faith, unto total truth," our cry
Swells from the sea to spire and sky;
Hear, Alma Mater, hear! Fairfield, hail!
Lyrics by John L. Bonn, S.J.

Fight Songs

"The Fairfield University Fight Song" was written by Prof. Brian Torff during the 1995-96 academic year for a contest sponsored by the Fairfield University Student Association.

Come catch the spirit, Fairfield U.
For all to hear it, Fairfield U.
Red and White will always conquer,
Go for the winner 'till the end, and so we'll
Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight for Fairfield U.,
Each day and night our hearts will be true,
And all across the land we'll always stand by Fairfield U.
And all across the land we'll always stand by Fairfield U!

"The Men in Red" was written by Rudy Ross '51 when Fairfield was an all-male institution.

The men in Red will always fight for Fairfield.
The men in Red will fight tonight for Fairfield.
We'll stick out our chin, and we'll wind up with a win, with a grin.
The men in Red will raise a shout for Fairfield.
The men in Red will go all out for Fairfield,
As we go on rolling up the score for dear old Fairfield ever more.

Presidents of Fairfield University

Rev. John J. McEleney, S.J.

Rev. James H. Dolan, S.J.

Rev. Joseph D. FitzGerald, S.J.

Rev. James E. FitzGerald, S.J.

Rev. William C. McInnes, S.J.

Rev. Thomas R. Fitzgerald, S.J.

Rev. Aloysius P. Kelley, S.J.

Rev. Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J.

Marc R. Nemec, PhD

Jesuit Colleges and Universities

1789 Georgetown University
Washington, D.C.

1818 St. Louis University
St. Louis, Missouri

1830 Spring Hill College
Mobile, Alabama

1831 Xavier University
Cincinnati, Ohio

1841 Fordham University
New York, NY

1843 College of the Holy Cross
Worcester, Massachusetts

1851 St. Joseph's University
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

1851 Santa Clara University
Santa Clara, California

1852 Loyola College in Maryland
Baltimore, Maryland

1855 University of San Francisco
San Francisco, California

1863 Boston College
Boston, Massachusetts

1870 Canisius College
Buffalo, New York

1870 Loyola University of Chicago
Chicago, Illinois

1872 St. Peter's College
Jersey City, New Jersey

1877 Regis University
Denver, Colorado

1877 University of Detroit-Mercy
Detroit, Michigan

1878 Creighton University
Omaha, Nebraska

1881 Marquette University
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

1886 John Carroll University
Cleveland, Ohio

1887 Gonzaga University
Spokane, Washington

1891 Seattle University
Seattle, Washington

1910 Rockhurst College
Kansas City, Missouri

1911 Loyola Marymount University
Los Angeles, California

1912 Loyola University
New Orleans, Louisiana

1923 University of Scranton
Scranton, Pennsylvania

1942 Fairfield University
Fairfield, Connecticut

1946 LeMoyne College
Syracuse, New York

1954 Wheeling Jesuit College
Wheeling, West Virginia