Vision Awards to honor contributions to goals of Martin Luther King Jr.

Vision Awards to honor contributions to goals of Martin Luther King Jr.

Fairfield University will award the Martin Luther King Jr. Vision Award to five people whose lives reflect Dr. King's vision, at the annual dinner commemorating the civil rights leader on Thursday, Jan. 26 at 6 p.m., in the John A. Barone Campus Center. They are: Paula Donovan, Senior Advisor in the office of the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for AIDS in Africa; Dr. John A. and Rose Marie Barone who have been leaders in supporting educational opportunity for multicultural students; Dr. Winston Tellis, the Camille and Stephen Schramm Professor of Information Systems and Operations Management in the Charles F. Dolan School of Business, who has supported efforts in Haiti and Nicaragua, as well as locally, to address issues of poverty; and Chrystie Cruz, a junior at Fairfield University, who serves as cultural director of the Fairfield University Student Association.

Paula Donovan has worked in international relations for 19 years, with a particular focus on HIV/AIDS since the mid-1990s. An alumna of Fairfield University, Ms. Donovan was posted to Nairobi, Kenya in 2000 as UNICEF's Regional Advisor on HIV/AIDS for the 23 countries of Eastern and Southern Africa. She was subsequently recruited by UNIFEM, the UN women's agency, as its Africa-wide Gender and AIDS Advisor.

Image: Paula Donovan In 2003, Ms. Donovan left the UN but remained in Kenya to independently organize an "International Women's AIDS Run," Africa's first all-women's long-distance road race, designed to raise awareness of and to acknowledge the millions of women across the continent who care for those left sick or orphaned by AIDS. The race, which was the curtain-raiser for the international AIDS conference held in Nairobi in 2003, registered 11,000 female runners from over a dozen countries, and is now an annual event.

In 2001, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed a former Canadian UN ambassador and humanitarian, Stephen Lewis, his first "Special Envoy on AIDS" to advocate with African and western leaders, the international community and the world public for a stronger and more urgent global response to the pandemic. Ms. Donovan became a part-time advisor to Mr. Lewis, traveling with him to AIDS-affected African countries. Upon her return to the United States in 2004, Ms. Donovan took up her current full-time role as senior advisor to Mr. Lewis, whose recent book, "Race Against Time," reached #1 in Canada shortly after its November 2005 publication and has remained on the country's best-seller list since. In that capacity, Ms. Donovan this year will assume the added role of policy consultant on children and AIDS with the Harvard School of Public Health's Francois X. Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights.

Early in her career, Ms. Donovan worked in the domestic non-profit field that included managing public relations for the anti-poverty program "Action for Bridgeport Community Development." She went on to become director of communications at the American affiliate of the UN Children's Fund, UNICEF USA, and, in 1991, joined UNICEF's international headquarters.

Born and raised in the Boston area, Ms. Donovan graduated from Fairfield University in 1977 with a B.A. in English and returned to earn a Master of Arts degree in communication in 1988. She now lives in Boston, travels extensively in Africa, and focuses much of her AIDS work on the rights of children and women.

Image: John Barone Dr. John and Rose Marie Barone's devotion to Fairfield University and diversity has helped broaden access to higher education for hundreds of students. Throughout a 42-year career with Fairfield University, Dr. Barone contributed substantially to the university's growth, first as a professor who was the recipient of Fairfield's first competitive research grant for his work in cancer anti-metabolites, and later as the school's first provost, overseeing the university's dynamic growth both in academic reputation and its physical plant.

Ever aware of the need to make higher education accessible to talented students who might not have the financial means, Dr. Barone worked to bring Upward Bound to campus, where it has stayed forĀ 40 years. Upward Bound works with students ages 13-19 in the local public high schools in Bridgeport, helping them to strengthen their academic, intellectual, and social skills needed for entrance to, and graduation from, college. The program operates throughout the school year as well as over the summer.

Today, Fairfield University hosts three different TRIO programs, sponsored by the United States Department of Education to serve low-income and/or first generation college students. In addition to Upward Bound, these include Project Excel and Academic Talent Search. All of them help students to identify and reach for goals that once were thought impossible.

Image: Rose Marie Barone Mrs. Barone, also a life-long educator, spent her 25-year teaching career at Harding and Bassick high schools in Bridgeport. Her love and concern for her students, prompted her, upon her retirement, to donate nearly $300,000 to Fairfield for a scholarship for multicultural students. Her personal interest in the needs of each scholarship recipient forged many friendships that continue to this day.

Mrs. Barone has been called the "Grande Dame" of volunteerism because of her lengthy and significant contributions to so many community projects, including poetry, school visits, the Girl Scouts, United Nations programs and programs to assist pets and their owners.

Dr. Winston Tellisco-founded the Center for Microfinance Advice and Consulting in 2001 that helps to develop self-sustaining business operations in developing countries. He and some colleagues have helped develop self-sustaining businesses in poor rural areas of Haiti and Nicaragua.

Image: William Tellis Dr. Tellis was also instrumental in helping to form Fairfield University's partnership with Universidad CentroAmericana (UCA) in Nicaragua, to which he took a group of students in the Latin American and Caribbean Studies program during spring break last year. Each of those students conducted a research study on a topic of interest, such as the phenomenon of Americans purchasing coastal real-estate in Nicaragua, the impact of microfinance on the poor, and the status of women during the Sandinista movement and today.

Engaging his students in service learning projects is a hallmark of Dr. Tellis' teaching. Last year he co-taught a Technology and Society course that required students to use their technological prowess to help prepare sophomores at Bassick High School in Bridgeport to take the standardized CAPT Test by enabling better distribution of preparation material. His students also installed computers at Prospect House in Bridgeport and taught residents how to use them for word processing and other functions. Subsequent students taking a networking course with Dr. Tellis practiced by networking the Prospect House computers. A project for future classes is to help residents in online job searches, something they are very interested in learning.

Chrystie A. Cruz is being honored for her commitment to promoting multicultural relations and her generous outreach to other students. The first daughter in her family to leave her home in Brooklyn to go to college, she entered Fairfield University in 2003, intent on participating in community activities. A member of UMOJA (African American Student Association), S.A.L.S.A. (Spanish and Latino Student Association), T.E.A.M. (Together Effectively Achieving Multiculturalism), and AHANA (African-American, Hispanic, Asian and Native American) Student Council, she has served as president of S.A.L.S.A. for the last two years.

Image: Chrystie Cruz Chrystie also joined the Residence Life Office as a resident assistant her sophomore year and is a senior resident assistant this year. She has also been an Orientation leader and the cultural director of Fairfield's Student Association. This year she was invited to be a part of the Who's Who Among College Students.

An alumna of Cathedral High School in New York City, where she graduated with honors, Chrystie was offered a Community Scholarship from Fairfield University, where she is majoring in history and international studies and minoring in education and Latin American Caribbean Studies.

Posted On: 01-20-2006 10:01 AM

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