FAIRFIELD—Fairfield University celebrates its 67th Commencement on Sunday, May 21, 2017. Graduate and Undergraduate ceremonies will be held on the Bellarmine Lawn on the University campus, 1073 North Benson Road, Fairfield,
Undergraduate ceremony will start at 9:30 am. The graduate ceremony is scheduled, 3:00 pm.
The total number of expected degrees to be awarded at the 66th annual ceremonies are: 934 Bachelor’s, 393 Master’s, 28 6th Year Certificates, and 36 Doctorates.
Rev. Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J., former president of Fairfield University and current Superior of LaFarge House in Cambridge, MA, will serve as the undergraduate speaker.
Juanita James, President and CEO of Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, will be the afternoon’s graduate ceremony speaker. James will also be receiving an honorary Doctor of Laws degree during graduate ceremony.
Additionally, honorary degrees will be bestowed upon Stephen Braga, ’77, named one of the “Top Ten Criminal Defense Attorneys in the United States,” and current faculty member at the University of Virginia Law School; Diane Dwyer Modestini, internationally renowned conservator of Old Master and 19th Century paintings and currently a research professor in the Kress Program in Paintings Conservation at NYU; and Sr. Patricia Eck, C.B.S, the 2011 recipient of the Cross Pro Ecclesia, the highest honor given to a member of a religious community by the Vatican.
Fairfield University is a Jesuit University, rooted in one of the world’s oldest intellectual and spiritual traditions. More than 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students from 36 states, 47 foreign countries, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico are enrolled in the University’s five schools. In the spirit of rigorous and sympathetic inquiry into all dimensions of human experience, Fairfield welcomes students from diverse backgrounds to share ideas and engage in open conversations. The University is located in the heart of a region where the future takes shape, on a stunning campus on the Connecticut coast just an hour from New York City.
Fr. von Arx served for 12 years as the eighth president of Fairfield University, assuming the position in 2004. While at Fairfield, Fr. von Arx placed an emphasis on diversity and service. He established the Center for Faith and Public Life, which prepares students to be global citizens; generates research-based solutions; and creates a public forum for dialogue on issues where faith and public life intersect. Additionally, he created the President’s Institutional Diversity Counsel, charged with evaluating, reviewing and assessing the University’s progress as it strengthens its multicultural education and environment. Prior to his appointment as President, Fr. von Arx served as Dean of Fordham College at Rose Hill, from 1998 to 2004, and prior to that served as Chairman of the Department of History at Georgetown University and in other posts. Fr. von Arx graduated from Princeton University in 1969 and entered the Society of Jesus that summer. He subsequently earned an MA and M.Phil. in history at Yale University and completed his PhD there in 1980. A year later, Fr. von Arx received an M.Div. from the Weston School of Theology and was ordained a priest. Fr. von Arx is currently the Superior Of LaFarge House in Cambridge, Mass., a residence for Jesuits at Harvard University.
Juanita James, President and CEO of Fairfield County’s Community Foundation. As the president and CEO of Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, Ms. James exemplifies the character that is valued and encouraged at Fairfield University. Fairfield County’s Community Foundation is a collection of charitable funds established by individuals, families, public charities and businesses aimed to generate an ongoing and steady resource for community giving. James has received numerous awards as a result of her leadership and volunteer service, including the NAACP “100 Most Influential Blacks in Connecticut;” the 2012 Stamford Public Education Foundation’s “Excellence in Education,” award, which recognizes people who have made an impact on public education; the 2010 “Light a Fire Award” from Moffley Media, which salutes individuals who have gone above and beyond in giving back to their community; and Stamford’s “Citizen of the Year” in 2010. James is currently the director of the Asbury Automotive Group and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors; a corporator for First County Bank; a trustee of the University of Connecticut and Lesley University in Cambridge; and a trustee emerita of Princeton University. Mrs. James will also be receiving an honorary Doctor of Laws degree during the graduate commencement ceremony.