The campus was a buzz last weekend as alumni and parents returned to campus for Alumni & Family Weekend.
This year’s Alumni & Family Weekend schedule of events had a balance of academic sessions mixed with those focusing on Fairfield's Jesuit mission, while allowing guests the opportunity to experience the athletic, artistic, and fun sides of Fairfield. These events included Coffee and Conversations with the Deans, Java with the Jesuits, StagFest, Rugby Fest, Stags Pep Rally, Varsity Sports games, Glee Club Concert, White Coat Ceremony, Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing & Health Studies building ribbon cutting, and more. This year’s Alumni & Family Weekend also celebrated the inauguration of Fairfield University’s ninth president, Mark R. Nemec, PhD.
“Alumni & Family Weekend is an extremely unique weekend, as it is one of the only times that we have current students, families and alumni together on campus for the sole purpose of being together as a community,” said Colleen Wilson, assistant director of Student Programs in the Office of Student Engagement, who planned and executed the weekend’s activities with support from student groups and other University offices. “Families love to attend to reunite with their students and share in the place that they now call home, while Alumni find it exciting to gather with members of their graduating class while also having the chance to witness all the campus improvements for themselves.”
At this year’s StagFest at Rafferty Stadium, alumni, students, and families were treated to a variety of events that included live music from alumni band The Adults, Lil’ Stags Zone, a petting zoo, wine and beer garden, and 16 food truck vendors from the Town of Fairfield with a few alumni businesses featured in the line-up. The Caseus Cheese Truck (owned by alumnus Tom Sobocinski ’14), The Local Meatball (owned by Michael and alumna Anne Elizabeth DiStassio ’01), and Milford Soft Serve (owned by alumnus Patrick Cole ’95).
AFW is a distinctive way for the Fairfield community to celebrate proud traditions, show Stag pride, and enjoy the positive transformations at the University. A new addition to the weekend was the Stags Pep Rally where the University community joined members of varsity athletic teams, coaches, and administrators as the University officially kicked of the 2017-18 athletic season. There were special performances by our cheer and dance teams as well as remarks by President Nemec.
Enjoyed the weekend? Give us your feedback by taking our survey.
View our fall semester video showcasing all of the fun events that have occured on campus since the start of the academic year.
Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing & Health Studies Ribbon Cutting, Dedication, and Blessing
By Nicole Funaro ‘17
A grand opening ceremony celebrating the completion of the Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies and the Kanarek Center for Palliative Care Nursing Education was held at the new 70,000 square-foot, four-level, modern facility during Alumni & Family Weekend.
The Egan School prepares students to go out into the world as health care professionals, giving back to the world the knowledge, love, and care they learned in the same space. And with the ribbon-cutting of the school and its Kanarek Center for Palliative Care Nursing Education, students will be all the more prepared to provide holistic, patient-centered care in their future healthcare careers.
On hand to commemorate the Egan school’s official opening were Dr. Meredith Kazer, dean of the school, as well as William P. Egan ’67 and former Fairfield trustee Robin Kanarek, BSN ’96, and Fairfield trustees and alumna.
Named in honor of his mother, Marion Peckham, Egan shared that his mom would have been “humbled” to have the school named in her honor. But more than anything, Egan said that helping to make the new nursing and health studies facility a reality was much more about its purpose for students than it was about building an edifice with his family name on it.
“I am thrilled to provide a building,” he said, “but buildings don’t create greatness. People create greatness.”
Thus, Egan requested that all in attendance make the Egan school “better, greater and more excellent” to not only honor his mother, but “keep Fairfield rising.”
While the new school symbolizes the elevation and evolution of Fairfield, for Kanarek, the opening of the palliative care center will also be the culmination of a 15-year mission she adopted following the loss of her son, David, to cancer.
As David battled cancer, he often struggled to get the kind of care he needed and desired, a function of only being able to discuss his treatment with a psychiatrist. But, after David’s death, Kanarek met a nurse who specialized in listening to the needs of dying children and opened her eyes to how training nurses and healthcare professionals in the art of communication can improve the patient experience and their quality of life.
Now, with the goal of the Kanarek Center for Palliative Care aimed at doing just that, Kanarek said she hopes the center will give students the tools to make a difference in the lives of patients, giving them the care she can only wish her son had.
“At Fairfield, because it is a Jesuit institution, there is a big emphasis on the emotional and spiritual element of care, and I am just thrilled with that,” she said. “I do this to honor my son’s memory and hopefully other people will benefit from what we’ve done and that will bring me a lot of joy.”