Fairfield University will kick off its 75th Anniversary celebration on its official birthday, March 17, 2017.
On St. Patrick’s Day, 1942, with the backdrop of World War II, Rev. John J. McEleney, S.J. and six of his Jesuit brothers created the articles of association and by-laws for a Jesuit high school and college, originally named The Fairfield College of St. Robert Bellarmine—the beginning of both Fairfield College Preparatory School and Fairfield University.
Fairfield University became the third Jesuit college in New England, joining The College of the Holy Cross founded in 1843 and Boston College, founded in 1858.
The University has grown from an initial class of 303 undergraduate male students admitted to the College of Arts and Sciences in 1947, into a coeducational university of more than 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students from 36 states and 47 foreign countries. Fairfield University has awarded more than 45,000 degrees since 1951, and has developed an international reputation for educational excellence.
Founded by the Jesuits and grounded in the 2,000-year-old intellectual Catholic tradition, Fairfield’s institutional mission is education in the liberal arts, sciences and professions that prepare students to lead their communities with insight, empathy, critical rigor and a determination to serve and promote justice.
To launch the University’s 75th Anniversary, Rev. Thomas J. Regan, S.J., recently presented the annual Bellarmine Lecture, which was entitled Fairfield University 1942-2017: 75 Years and Counting!
To commemorate the University’s official birthday on Friday, March 17, the 75th Anniversary flag will be raised at 11:30am near Bellarmine Hall, where the University community will also gather for a lunch reception. A special Mass will be celebrated in the Egan Chapel of St. Ignatius of Loyola at 12:10pm.
Additional anniversary events include:
Friday, March 17 —75th Anniversary Open House
3:00pm – 5:00pm, Fairfield University Downtown Bookstore
The public is welcome to stop by and celebrate with refreshments, snacks and activities! 75th Anniversary apparel will be discounted 20% with an additional $7.50 off. Town of Fairfield First Selectman Michael Tetreau will be reading an honorary proclamation at 3:30pm University mascot Lucas the Stag will make a special appearance.
Saturday, March 25 — Stags Anniversary Men’s Lacrosse Game vs. Villanova
1:00pm, Conway Field at Rafferty Stadium
The game will feature an exciting halftime show!
Saturday, April 8 — 70th Anniversary Gala Glee Club Concert
Rev. John P. Murray, S.J./Dr. Simon Harak Memorial Concert
8:00pm, Quick Center for the Arts
$10 General Admission, $6 Students / Box Office: (203) 254-4010 / quickcenter.fairfield.edu
Wednesday, April 19 — Student Achievement Awards including
70th Anniversary of the Loyola Medal
4:00pm, Kelley Center
The St. Ignatius Loyola Award is the highest honor presented annually by the Alumni Association and the Division of Student Affairs to one senior who has exemplified the spirit of Jesuit education through a commitment to high academic standards and involvement in community service and/or extracurricular activities. Alumni Loyola Medal winners are invited to attend.
Friday, April 21 — Essay Contest Deadline
At 75, Fairfield’s greatest legacy lies in the impact it has had on students, faculty, staff, alumni and Jesuits. Community members are invited to submit an essay, artwork or a short video on A Fairfield Vocation: How Did Fairfield Shape Who You Are. Winners will each receive $250.00 and be recognized at a reception on May 1 in Bellarmine’s Great Hall. Submit your essay or artwork to fairfield.edu/75essay
Wednesday, April 26 — A Work of the Society: Jesuits and Fairfield’s Past, Present and Future
4:00pm – 6:00pm, Kelly Center
A Conversation with Professor Kurt Schlichting and members of the Fairfield Jesuit Community who will reflect on their association with the University.
Thursday, May 11 – June 30 — Fairfield Museum and History Center
Fairfield University 75th Anniversary Exhibition.
Saturday, May 21 —67th Commencement
Members of Fairfield University’s first graduating class, many of them World War II veterans, will participate.
Friday, September 8 — Mass of the Holy Spirit
Celebrating Fairfield’s Jesuit history and legacy.
October 20 – 22 — Alumni & Family Weekend 2017
In addition to festivities, academics and service are being incorporated into the 75th commemoration. The Service for Justice Residential College is offering a 75th Anniversary seminar this semester, Tradition and the Spirit of Place: Memory, Identity and Community, which focuses on significant moments in Fairfield‘s history as well as the University’s growth and its Jesuit roots.
Each member of the University community has also been invited to participate in community service by committing to 75 hours of service during this celebration year to honor Fairfield’s mission and history of serving the local community. Opportunities include working with organizations to address poverty, social justice, food insecurity, the environment, education, access to healthcare and economic development. In honor of the 75th, a new service program has been initiated and students are working with St. Anthony’s Parish preparing meals for Fairfield’s local food pantry, Operation Hope.
For Fairfield University history and more information about anniversary related events go to: fairfield.edu/75