A Mission Continues

A Mission Continues

lewis

The 32nd annual Fairfield Awards Dinner, a gala to celebrate the University’s dedication to the Ignatian mission of service through education, has been postponed, but Fairfield’s support for scholarship is stronger than ever.

As a classroom teacher, it has made me try to reach students as persons, not just as seats in a classroom. And it has energized me to encourage them to recognize that with privilege comes responsibility.

— Paul F. Lakeland, PhD

On March 26, 2020, the Fairfield Awards Dinner, Fairfield University’s flagship fundraising event for scholarship, was slated to take place at the Grand Hyatt in New York City. 

Supporters of the annual dinner have contributed more than $19 million toward student scholarship over more than 30 years, but this year the evening itself has been put on hold due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Though it is intended for the event to be rescheduled for a later date, the Fairfield community’s support for scholarship remains unflagging.

“Our alumni, parents, and friends community here at Fairfield is amazingly dedicated, and contributes significantly to the continued success of the University and our students,” said Wally Halas, vice president for University Advancement.  “Their generosity makes it possible for a new generation of students to benefit from Fairfield’s modern Jesuit Catholic education. Moreover, their support inspires these scholarship recipients to do their best and go out and make the world a better place.” 

Since 1988, the dinner has raised significant funds for the Alumni Multicultural Scholarship Fund and other endowed scholarships at Fairfield, while continuing to recognize and honor professional achievement, outstanding leadership, and volunteer commitment to Fairfield.

Meet This Year’s Honorees

ALUMNI PROFESSIONAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Clinton A. Lewis Jr. ’88 - Former Executive Vice President and Group President, Zoetis, Inc.

Photo of Clinton A. Lewis Jr.

For Clint Lewis ’88, hard work and serendipity have worked hand in hand to shape a life marked with successes. The son of Caribbean parents and the first in his family to attend college in the United States, Lewis found his way to Fairfield University and declared a major in biology. Without a calling for research or medicine, he set his sights on combining science and business, which he says shaped his Fairfield experience and his professional pursuits thereafter. A chance encounter at Fairfield set in motion his future career. At a career fair in the Campus Center one afternoon, Lewis struck up a conversation with Charles Dombeck ’71 of Pfizer. Dombeck later played an instrumental role in hiring Lewis to work at Pfizer upon graduation — Lewis spent the next 25 years with the pharmaceutical giant.

Starting in sales, Lewis progressed through senior commercial roles in human health, moving to the animal health division of Pfizer in 2007 when he became the President of U.S. Operations. In 2013, Pfizer spun out the animal health division into Zoetis, the largest global animal health company, appointing Lewis executive vice president of U.S. Operations and a corporate officer. Two years later, he became their executive vice president of International Operations and by 2018, Zoetis’ EVP and group president of International, Commercial Development for Global Genetics and Aquatics Health. When Lewis thinks back on his trajectory from Fairfield to Pfizer and Zoetis, he attributes much of his success to two factors: family and Fairfield.

 “For me, I look at the type of person and the type of leader I am today, and other than the DNA I have from the benefit of my mom and dad, it’s a product of the experience I had at Fairfield,” said Lewis.

“Fairfield and my Jesuit learning experience instilled in me a sense of self, an appreciation for others, and helped me to discover where I could make a difference.”

DISTINGUISHED FACULTY/ADMINISTRATOR AWARD

Paul F. Lakeland, PhD, Aloysius P. Kelley, S.J. - Chair in Catholic Studies & Professor of Religious Studies

Photo of Paul F. Lakeland

For Dr. Paul Lakeland, the Jesuit tradition has shaped the journey of his professional and intellectual life. Now the Aloysius P. Kelley, S.J., Professor of Catholic Studies and founder and director of the University’s Center for Catholic Studies, Dr. Lakeland has been teaching at Fairfield for the past 38 years and has served as chair of the Religious Studies department and director of the University’s Honors Program. He is also the author of 10 books and the editor or co-editor of two more, as well as a member of the American Academy of Religion, The American Theological Society, the College Theology Society, and the Catholic Theological Society of America (of which he was president in 2018-2019). Dr. Lakeland has amassed a number of distinctions for his work, including three book awards from the Catholic Press Association, and the 2018 award for best theology book of the year from the College Theology Society.

Among his awards at Fairfield, Dr. Lakeland was named the 1990 AHANA minority students association’s Teacher of the Year, and received the Alpha Sigma Nu award for Fairfield’s 2005 Teacher of the Year. In reflecting on his tenure at Fairfield, Dr. Lakeland said. “As a scholar, I have taught in my writing and public speaking that the Church exists not for its own sake, but for the sake of the world that it tries to serve. As a classroom teacher, it has made me try to reach students as persons, not just as seats in a classroom. And it has energized me to encourage them to recognize that with privilege comes responsibility.”

ALUMNI SERVICE AWARD

Bart Franey ’67 - Retired Co-Founder & Principal at Wellness Environments, Inc., President of Friends of Fairfield Rugby

Photo of Bart Franey

"“I learned from rugby that you probably can’t do as much as you think you can by yourself, but you can accomplish a lot more than you believe possible if you team up with good people.”"

For Bart Franey ’67, the takeaways from the rugby pitch as a student at Fairfield have woven their way into every aspect of his life. Coming from a Jesuit high school in Kansas City, Missouri, Franey was immediately drawn to the newly formed Fairfield University Rugby Football Club (FURFC) when he came to Fairfield in 1963. He joined the team in spring 1964, was mentored by teammates Dan Gatti ’66, Doug Ciacci ’65, and Al Sullivan ’65, and worked his way up to club president by his senior year. After graduating with a BA in psychology and a minor in business, Franey entered the medical products field where he worked for the next 50 years, rising to senior management positions with American Hospital Supply, McKesson, and Herman Miller. He retired as the co-founder and CEO of Wellness Environments, Inc., a manufacturer of modular clinical spaces for health care facilities.

But that’s not the only way Franey has dedicated his life to service. Finding his way back to Fairfield Rugby after serving as the director of communications and logistics for the 50th anniversary celebration of the FURFC in 2013, he has remained the Friends of Fairfield Rugby president ever since. Franey has raised the profile of the FURFC and spread the joy and life lessons of rugby to budding athletes beyond the University community. “[Rugby] taught me that no matter the circumstances, never give up,” said Franey. “Beyond that, I learned from rugby that you probably can’t do as much as you think you can by yourself, but you can accomplish a lot more than you believe possible if you team up with good people. And one other very important lesson: a Rugger is never alone — you’ll have new friends and old friends wherever life takes you.”

PARENT LEADERSHIP AWARD

Claire and Woody Knopf, P’16 - Chair of the Monmouth Medical Center Foundation Board, Former Chairman and current consultant of Knopf Automotive (respectively)

Local children play with 2017 alumna Bridget Mulkerin’s dog, Saï Saï

“We wanted to create a community and a sense of belonging for parents, and really give them a vehicle to communicate, connect, and learn about opportunities to get involved at Fairfield.”

Residents of Rumson, New Jersey, the Knopfs have dedicated their lives to serving their community, an inclination they brought to Fairfield University when their son James ’16 began his undergraduate career. Claire and Woody served as the inaugural chairs of Fairfield University’s Parents Leadership Council in 2015 through 2016. Of launching the Council, Claire said: “We wanted to create a community and a sense of belonging for parents, and really give them a vehicle to communicate, connect, and learn about opportunities to get involved at Fairfield.”

Through the Parents Leadership Council, the Knopfs have served as hosts for student send-off and parent engagement events. Claire and Woody have helped convene a network of parents to celebrate all that Fairfield is — and offers — to its students. “Students step off the podium and they start running at Fairfield,” said Woody. “They learn how to think, feel good about themselves and others, and they learn how to make things happen.” 

Claire currently serves as chair of the Monmouth Medical CenterFoundation Board and co-chair of the Women’s Council for the Leon Hess Cancer Center Council at Monmouth Medical Center. She has been a member of Fairfield University’s Board of Trustees since 2016, having served on the Infrastructure and Student Life committees. Woody is the former chairman and a current consultant of Knopf Automotive in Red Bank, New Jersey.

Supporting Students

Fairfield is committed to helping students in need and we recognize that scholarship assistance often provides a singular opportunity for a life-changing education. Students are deeply grateful for the support of benefactors who believe in them with their generous support of scholarships.  “Every day, through my education and experiences at Fairfield University, I am getting closer to fulfilling my dreams and reaching my full potential,” says Eryiel Joyce Mascardo ’21, a psychology major and public health minor. “Thanks to this scholarship, I am able to attend Fairfield. I promise to continue doing my best and pay my blessings forward in the future.”

Other Articles in the Summer 2020 Issue

Donor Profile: Baureen Bujno '90

Read the Article

Alumni Profile: Michael Cummings ’84

Read the Article

Alumni Profile: Carly Ragosta ’08

Read the Article

On The Front Lines

Read the Article

From A Distance

Read the Article

Career Goals

Read the Article

Lifetime Value

Read the Article

Letter From The President

Read the Article

Search Results