Spring is (almost) here!
An update from Tom Pellegrino, Vice President for Student Affairs
Fairfield’s campus is experiencing that odd, only-in-New-England transition time between winter and spring. We relish the days when the temperature gets into the 50s, if for no other reason than to see some of the stubborn snow piles melt! Let me share with you some of the key events that bring warmth and a sense of renewal to our campus community:
Stag Pride Comes to Rafferty Stadium
Our first lacrosse game on February 14 at the new Rafferty Stadium presented conditions a New Englander could appreciate: The air was frigid, the northeast winds were whipping about, and snow had to be cleared from the new field. Nevertheless, a stadium full of enthusiastic Stags fans came out and generated a sense of spirit that made the day special. The new state-of-the-art lacrosse stadium wowed alumni, fans, our teams—not to mention our opponents. The official dedication of Rafferty Stadium on Saturday March 21 (pictured) drew over 3,500 fans and saw our team defeat nationally ranked Villanova.
Whether our students take to heart the Jesuit principle of caring for the “whole person—mind, body, and spirit,” most of them want to keep fit. It doesn’t matter what season it is at the Quick Recreation Complex (i.e., the “RecPlex”)—there’s always around-the-clock activity. During the academic year, upwards of 90% of our students use the cardio machines, swim in the pool or participate in intramurals or club sports. To ward off the winter blues, more students than ever made use of the facilities and classes such as pilates, yoga, and other fitness courses.
Built in 1979, the RecPlex is in need of upgrading, and is next up for renovation. Thanks to a generous gift from University Trustee John Meditz ’70, a significant anonymous gift, and the contributions of many others, construction is slated to start in June. Look for an article about it in the upcoming Fairfield University Magazine.
We Aim to Serve
While many students were doing a collective exhale of post-midterm relief before Spring Break, about 80 Fairfield students headed to 9 locations across the country and in Nicaragua to spend their week serving others—building houses (and hogans, a traditional Navajo dwelling—pictured at left), serving in soup kitchens in LA, and more. Students give up their break to get so much more.
These “Alternative” spring breaks through Campus Ministry, the Center for Faith & Public Life, and the Office of Service Learning are co-led by faculty/staff with at least one student leader. I want to commend the dedication of these staff who take time from busy work schedules to mentor students in this powerful way. Flying under the radar, their service to others during a time when every normal compulsion would be to take time off to relax is a testament to our mission as a Jesuit and Catholic University. View photos and read more about the trips.
Student Achievement Awards
This month, we’ll also take the opportunity to honor our students’ achievements. There will be formal ceremonies to honor recipients of our St. Ignatius Loyola Medal, Kramer Humanitarian Award, and Student Achievement Awards. In addition, graduate students from each of the Schools will be recognized for their service. Visit the webpage to see this year’s honorees.
Now that the snow’s almost gone, we’ll be getting ready for Commencement on May 17 on Bellarmine Lawn. The latest group of graduating seniors will set sail on their unique journeys, with our blessings and best wishes.
Our Baccalaureate Mass will be on May 16, and we look forward to welcoming the families of our students to campus to celebrate their amazing achievements. Please be sure to check out the website for more detailed information about Commencement 2015.
Obviously, a University is just buildings without the students, faculty and staff who bring it all to life. Our students—your children—reflect our most heartfelt aspirations and give us great hope for our future. These four years represent only a very small proportion of their lives, but in this time they have taken what it is they are passionate about, aligned it with their talents, and have made decisions about the highest contributions they can make for themselves and for our society. These are the earliest indicia of a lifetime of continuous change, decision-making and self-improvement.
As we head into the final weeks of the spring semester, I am so grateful that I have the chance to be a small part of that process, and equally grateful to you for entrusting your children to us.