Fairfield University awards 861 diplomas at 63rd annual undergraduate commencement exercises

Fairfield University awards 861 diplomas at 63rd annual undergraduate commencement exercises

Image: Commencement 2013 Fairfield University awarded diplomas to 861 undergraduate students at the 63rd commencement exercises today, as 5,000 family members and friends watched with pride on Bellarmine Lawn. The graduates earned degrees from the College of Arts & Sciences, Charles F. Dolan School of Business, School of Engineering and School of Nursing.

In keeping with tradition, the Jesuit institution celebrated students and honorary degree recipients who have led inspired lives.

The Reverend Michael J. Garanzini, S.J., president of Loyola University Chicago and a national figure in Jesuit higher education, gave the commencement address, asking graduates, "Who will help heal the world, if not for you? Some people can't help themselves ... Who will help create a just and right society, if not for you?"

His impressive life of service and a firm commitment to education served as an example of what one can do when fueled by passion and determination. The General Secretary for Higher Education for the Society of Jesus, Fr. Garanzini is known for his work concerning child and family therapy, moral development, and Catholic education.

Image: Commencement 2013

Fr. Garanzini encouraged graduates to find inner peace. For him, that has involved staying in touch with God. He laced his address with humor, noting that the honorary Doctor of Laws degree he received came in part for living in a freshman dorm for the past 25 years.

The valedictory speaker was Kevin Reda, of Pleasantville N.Y., a politics and International Studies double major with a minor in economics, with plans to pursue an M.B.A. A lacrosse coach at Fairfield Prep, he shared treasured advice from the late North Carolina State University coach Jim Valvano concerning the benefits of laughing, thinking and crying daily. "Think about it, if you laugh, you think, and you cry, that's a full day, that's a heck of a day," said Reda.

Reda also spoke of events that have moved him, including September 11, 2001, when his father survived the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. He also spoke about the outpouring of support from the Fairfield community when he ran a 5K race in support of M.S. awareness. A family member has fought the disease for a decade. "I have learned that being a man or woman for others is not as much about the impact it has on us individually, but the ability of our selfless actions to move and inspire those that we are serving."

Image: Commencement 2013

Fairfield University President Rev. Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J., presented Daniel Jones, of South Portland, Maine, with the prestigious St. Ignatius Loyola Medal, bestowed annually by the Fairfield University Alumni Association to the senior who best exemplifies the true spirit of a Jesuit education. A politics major, he plans to become an educator, and hopes to attend graduate school to study anthropology or comparative politics.

The Bellarmine Medal - awarded to the student with the highest four-year academic average - was presented to two individuals: Courtney Anne Onofrio, of Hopkinton, Massachusetts, a School of Nursing graduate who plans to be a registered nurse; and Caitlin Hill Stote, of Stamford, Conn., an English major who minored in educational studies and religious studies. She plans on pursuing a master's of arts in elementary education at Fairfield. Both were also given the John and Veronica Gleason Award for the graduating senior with the highest academic average.

The ebullient group of graduates also included many other high achieving individuals. The William J. Kramer '60 Humanitarian Award recipient was S‌arah Joseph, of Cambridge, Mass., an English, Communications, and Intercultural Studies major who has truly epitomized the Jesuit notion of the Magis.

The Class of 2013 Student Achievement Awards were given to an exemplary group of students for their commitment to the University, most notably through service work, mentoring, and student club involvement. Recipients included: Film/Television major Michael O'Keeffe, of Christchurch, New Zealand, who played for the Stags' soccer team and his native country's Olympic men's soccer team. He plans on pursuing a career in professional soccer in Europe; Environmental Studies and Communication major Alexandra Tarabour
, of Red Bank, N.J., recognized for her dedication to student advancement programs; nursing major Morgan Zachary, of Somers, Connecticut, who will soon begin the Vanderbilt University Nurse Residency Program, pediatric track, in Nashville, Tenn.; and Courtney Onofrio, acknowledged for her global service work, including the School of Nursing's public health work in Nicaragua.

Image: Commencement 2013

An honorary Doctor of Laws degree was bestowed on Sister Maureen Clark, CSJ, a Sister of St. Joseph from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who worked in the correction system in Pittsburgh and then the Massachusetts correctional system. Fairfield graduate William P. McDonald '75, of New York, N.Y., who has been with The New York Times since 1988, received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. He was part of a team that won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for National News, for the series "How Race Is Lived in America." His family includes Fairfield graduates: brother, James E. McDonald '66, his wife Irene Leopold McDonald '84, and a cousin, Ann McDonald Langan '74.

At 3 p.m. today, a commencement ceremony will be held in Alumni Hall for 418 graduate students. Fairfield graduate Dr. Patrick W. Kelley '76, P'12, of Silver Spring, Maryland, a director with the U.S. National Academies' Institute of Medicine, will speak at the graduate ceremony and will receive an honorary degree. Dr. Kelley and his wife, Michele (Fairfield '76), are the parents of John (Boston College '07) and Maureen (Fairfield '12). The graduate student valedictory speaker is Erin Radocchia, from Westbrook Conn., who, like both of her parents, graduated from the School of Nursing. Loretta Egan Murphy, of Monroe, Conn., who earned an M.S. in nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner track, received the St. Ignatius Loyola Medal for outstanding University service. She works in the Intensive Care Unit at St. Vincent's Medical Center, and plans to continue her work in the service of people in the greater Bridgeport community after graduation.

Image: Commencement 2013 An honorary Doctor of Laws degree will be bestowed on Sister Patricia Farrell, OSF, LCSW, LMHP, a Sister of St. Francis of the Holy Family, from Dubuque, Iowa. She committed her life to pastoral work, working in Texas and Latin America. She is the immediate past president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.

Fairfield University awarded a total of 1,279 degrees May 19, including 858 bachelor's degrees, 396 master's degrees, 19 certificates of advanced study from the Graduate School of Education & Allied Professions, three Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degrees, and three associate's degrees.

Photos: 1) Fairfield University awarded diplomas to 861 undergraduate students at the 63nd commencement exercises, May 19, 2013; 2) A joyful graduate at Fairfield University's commencement; 3) A happy graduate with diploma in hand on Bellarmine Lawn; 4) The Reverend Michael J. Garanzini, S.J., center, president of Loyola University Chicago and a national figure in Jesuit higher education, gave the commencement address and received an honorary degree; 5) A graduate embraces family members.

For updated information: http://www.fairfield.edu/commencement

Posted On: 05-19-2013 11:05 AM

Volume: 45 Number: 292