Fairfield University Celebrates Class of 2022 at 72nd Commencement Exercises

Fairfield University Celebrates Class of 2022 at 72nd Commencement Exercises

Fairfield students receiving diploma dressed in cap and gown.

MLB Commissioner Robert Manfred delivered the 2022 undergraduate Commencement address.

You will all have busy and successful lives. Please find room and time in those busy lives to positively affect the lives of others...Be generous with your wealth and try to help those who are less fortunate. At the end of the day, what you do for others is what really matters.”

— Robert D. Manfred Jr.

Last weekend, Fairfield University awarded diplomas to 1,082 undergraduates and 499 graduate students, 23 sixth-year certificate recipients, and 39 doctorate recipients. Graduate students from the Class of 2022 celebrated their Commencement on Saturday, May 21. Undergraduate students from the Class of 2022 were honored on Sunday, May 22. Both ceremonies took place on Fairfield’s historic Bellarmine Lawn.

Graduate Commencement

On Saturday, 561 graduates from the Class of 2022 were honored with degrees from Fairfield’s Egan School of Nursing & Health Studies, College of Arts and Sciences, Charles F. Dolan School of Business, School of Engineering, and School of Education & Human Development.

The graduate ceremony speaker and recipient of an honorary Doctor of Laws degree was Allison Rivera, president of Saint Martin de Porres Academy in New Haven. The Academy is a tuition-free independent Catholic middle school based on the Jesuit Nativity School model, working toward social justice by breaking the cycle of poverty through education and opportunity.

Rivera inspired the graduates “to find not only a job, but a real vocation — a place where your unique gifts meet the world’s needs,” and encouraged them to not “accept the status quo. Fairfield University has challenged you to be men and women for others.”

During her tenure at the Academy, Rivera has served as teacher, director of special programs, and vice president. In 2010, she was appointed president and currently oversees the general operations and management of the school and its $2 million operating budget, which is fundraised annually. Prior to the Academy, Rivera served as the executive director of the Connecticut chapter of Best Buddies International, a non-profit organization dedicated to ending the social isolation of individuals with intellectual disabilities. She is a graduate of the University of Vermont and Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.

An honorary degree was also bestowed upon Carl F. Bailey Jr. ’75, president and founder of Bailey & Beatty Financial Services and founder of Danbury Grassroots Academy, a free, year-round program focusing on education, character, tennis, and health.

In a final blessing, Superior of the Fairfield Jesuit Community, Reverend John Mulreany, S.J., prayed over the graduates, “Moved with gratitude for their own blessings, may they make a fitting return for all they have been given. Having been afforded the opportunity to flourish, may they ensure the same opportunity exists for others. Inspire in them a spirit of wisdom and a burning desire for justice.”

Undergraduate Commencement   

On Sunday, the Most Reverend Frank J. Caggiano, Bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport opened the undergraduate ceremony with the invocation, followed by student Commencement speaker Enkh-Amgalan Batburen ’22.

Nicole Hockley, co-founder of Sandy Hook Promise, received an honorary degree. Sandy Hook Promise aims to help students, teachers, and parents recognize the signs of social isolation and anger in students, to head off violence before it starts. The nonprofit was created following the death of Hockley’s son Dylan, along with 19 other first-graders in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

This year's undergraduate commencement speaker and recipient of an honorary Doctor of Laws degree was Robert D. Manfred Jr., attorney, business executive, and current commissioner of Major League Baseball (MLB).

Manfred spoke to graduates about baseball legend Jackie Robinson’s legacy. “Jackie Robinson once uttered words that I believe teach an important life lesson. Jackie said: ‘A life is not important except in the impact that it has on others’ lives.’”

Manfred continued, “Jackie Robinson was right. You will all have busy and successful lives. Please find room and time in those busy lives to positively affect the lives of others...Be generous with your wealth and try to help those who are less fortunate. At the end of the day, what you do for others is what really matters.”

Manfred became the commissioner of baseball in January 2015. Throughout the years, Commissioner Manfred has been a steady, guiding force in labor relations. As the leader of the national pastime, Manfred has set goals for the game that focus on international growth, the infusion of technology, and the expansion of youth participation through Major League Baseball’s Play Ball program. Manfred has led the MLB in staging special events internationally and domestically, including a historic trip to Cuba in 2016, the sport’s inaugural 2019 European games in London, and the 2021 trip to Iowa’s famed Field of Dreams. With two labor agreements during his tenure as commissioner, baseball’s unprecedented streak of uninterrupted play on the field since 1995 has continued. MLB has formed core partnerships with Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the Jackie Robinson Foundation, and Stand Up To Cancer. In 2021, Manfred established MLB’s new annual Lou Gehrig Day to continue the game’s support in the fight against ALS. Manfred is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, as well as Harvard Law School.

Following Manfred’s speech, undergraduates received degrees from the College of Arts and Sciences, Egan School of Nursing, Dolan School of Business, and the School of Engineering.

President Mark R. Nemec, PhD congratulated the Class of 2022 and offered concluding remarks. “Our Ignatian tradition calls us to... 'be in the moment,' to find God in all things, and to celebrate your leadership.” He shared words of wisdom by a 2019 Fairfield University honorary degree recipient Chris Lowney: “The measure of a leader’s personal greatness is less what they found at journey's end and more the depth of human character that carried them along the way, their imagination, will, perseverance, courage, resourcefulness, and willingness to bear the risk of failure.’”

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Last modified: 05-27-22 9:27 AM

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