Fairfield University
| June, July, & August 2015 | Fairfield University News Channel

Big Gifts for Fairfield Rowing

Fairfield’s club Rowing program began humbly in 1993 as a team with only five members. Often regarded as the ultimate team sport, the program to date has thrived on the enthusiasm of students, coaches, and faculty but now has alumni, parents, and friends on their side.

It has just received two of its first-ever endowed gifts, over $100,000 in donations, to support the program in perpetuity from Wendy Fuller MA’05, P’18 and Art Fuller, P’18, and Mary and John Sullivan, P’15.

Wendy Fuller, a school psychologist, received her masters and sixth-year degrees in school psychology from Fairfield. She began her studies when her son and current student Casey ’18 was only four years old.

“The University became a household word,” she said. “Casey decided that becoming a Stag would be like coming home and would continue the tradition that started with my matriculation.”

After Casey, a former High School All-American Lacrosse goalie, was accepted to Fairfield he was soon recruited for the rowing team by Coach David Patterson.

“We are pleased that our son, a studio art major, has chosen to accept the challenges and opportunities for growth and learning that Fairfield offers its student-athletes,” Fuller continued.

Mary Sullivan’s son and recent graduate Sam Sullivan’15 also chose to attend Fairfield for its welcoming atmosphere and culture. “Sam needed a small school, relatively close to home, with a great community feel,” Sullivan said.  “We live about 45 minutes away. Fairfield, and particularly the crew team and the English department, provided Sam that feeling of community.”

Mary described Fairfield’s rowing program as one where there’s no standout superstar on a boat, and where the crew functions as a true team.  In fact, the Sullivan’s donation is part of a broader “Class of 2015 gift” supported by many of the families of that class.

Sullivan Family Image (Rowing Gift)

“Education happens in many ways and in many places,” Mary said, explaining why she and her husband felt supporting the rowing program was something they wanted to do. “It happens in the classroom, in conversations between students and faculty in the halls and in offices, in the messages from coaches and administrators. Fairfield seemed to know how to turn all of those interactions into teaching moments. It doesn’t get much better than that.”

By establishing the endowment, the Fuller and Sullivan families have built the foundation for fundraising growth for generations because endowment funds are invested and earn annual income for the sport’s operating budget or scholarship in perpetuity.

“Without question, I am overwhelmed by the generosity of our donors who have made these two new endowed gifts possible,” said Coach Patterson. “Now everyone invested can see this team continue on the path to more competitive success."

Pictured: (top) Casey Fuller '18 and rowing teammates in competition.

(middle) The Sullivan family: (l-r), Mary, Maggie, Sam '15, Teresa, and Jay at Commencement ceremonies on campus this past May.

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Watch the video from this fall’s Blessing of the Boats.

Last modified:  Tue, 14 Jul 2015 10:18:00 EDT


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