Letter from the President

Letter from the President

Mark R. Nemec, PhD President

Mark R. Nemec, PhD President

Dear Friends,

On May 20, 1521, Ignatius of Loyola was wounded at the battle of Pamplona, and was transported
home for a recuperation.

How fortunate we are — as we transition from a period of crisis toward a new and undiscovered landscape — to be called to renew our mission as a University.

— Mark R. Nemec, PhD President

It was during this period — alone and in pain — that he experienced the conversion that inspired him for the rest of his life. Ignatius would write of this period that “all the others of the house knew from the change outwardly that there had been a great change in his soul inwardly.” He had become a different kind of man, a man on fire with purpose: “What new life is this, that is now beginning?” he asked himself in wonder.

The Society of Jesus and its works will be remembering this blessed moment in the life of Ignatius by celebrating this coming year as the Ignatian year, beginning on the anniversary of his wounding and concluding on July 31, 2022. Writing to us all, the Superior General of the Society, Arturo Sosa, S.J., stressed this as an opportunity to return to the source of our strength, and in particular to renew our dedication to youth, writing: “To young people I say: ‘We want to learn to accompany you. We want to learn from you. Each one of you is unique, born with a special purpose. Ignatius struggled to discover the meaning of his life. In him you can find inspiration as you struggle to make your life meaningful and as you ask how you can contribute to building a better world.’”

How fortunate we are — as we transition from a period of crisis toward a new and undiscovered landscape — to be called to renew our mission as a University: to be a transformational institution, liberating our students so that they can emerge from our University as young men and women of purpose, and go forth to build a better world. This has always been our mission, but certainly at this moment it is a great gift to be asked to focus on true, liberating formation for our students and the advancement of our community.

At the time of writing, we have managed to navigate the challenges the pandemic has presented thus far, creating a hybrid learning environment – working with virtual technologies and in-class experiences — to maintain our academic programs and our student life experiences. Now we look forward to the opportunities ahead, grateful for the new growth that we are witnessing.

Our reputation for excellence continues to grow. In fact we are told by college counselors we are a “hot” school right now, a destination for wellrounded, service-minded students of curiosity and character. Once again, we have enjoyed the highest application pool in our history with the highest academic ratings, as close to 13,000 young people seek a place from 45 states and 50 countries.

Owing to the pandemic, our plans to build a new Convocation Center were delayed but by no means deterred. This month, we will begin work on the arena, projected now to open in the fall of 2022. Home for our basketball programs and other sports, this versatile space will allow us to host events on a scale appropriate for a University of our stature. In regard to welcoming notable athletic events, I would be remiss if I did not mention that this year and next, Fairfield University will host the Division I, II and III NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championships on Memorial Day Weekend at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn.

Meanwhile, we continue to innovate on the academic front, meeting the needs of our world as it is today, introducing new programs such as a BS in behavioral neuroscience, a BA in sports media, and MS degrees in marketing analytics and strategy, and in healthcare administration, with many more new programs on the way.

So as we look beyond this spring to the coming academic year, we have much to be grateful for. In particular we are heartened by the knowledge that as we evolve as a University, we are doing so as companions in the work of the Society throughout the world, all called at this time — in this special year — to embrace our role within the larger pattern of transformative love and vitality which is at the heart of Jesuit education, and which so inspired St. Ignatius 500 years ago.

With very best wishes and utmost gratitude,

Mark R. Nemec,
PhD President

Other Articles in the Spring 2021 Issue

Alumni Profile: Frank Figliuzzi '84

Read the Article

Alumni Profile: Jodi Sommers '97

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The Love Bugs

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Stags For Hire

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A Real Keeper

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A Titanic Dream

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Life Changing

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