Did you really think that Charles F. Dolan and Thomas J. Walsh were Fairfield’s only claim to fame?
Just because the university doesn’t have a building named after every graduate who has “made it big” doesn’t mean the success stops there. Many graduates who don’t have their names on Fairfield buildings yet are successful because of the hard work they put into their educations.
Take a look at Chris McCormick ’78 who is the President and CEO of L.L. Bean, Inc.
He graduated from Fairfield with five of his brothers.
“My parents valued education, and my father admired the Jesuit approach to it, so I guess you’d say he pushed us toward Fairfield,” he said in a 2002 interview with Fairfield Now.
During his time at Fairfield he studied hard, but also played club football, intramural basketball, ran track, and played racquetball with the dean of freshmen. He developed a strong bond with Rev. Thomas McGrath, S.J. who greatly affected his life.
“He taught me how to look at problems from many perspectives and to appreciate diverse points of view. He also said to have fun in life, no matter what you do.”
Robert H. Laska, publisher of the Connecticut Post and president of its newspaper group, graduated from Fairfield in 1969. He is ultimately responsible for all aspects of the Post’s operations. He remembers the work put into his education, but also what he got out of it.
“Does anyone really enjoy writing term papers and taking exams? That being said, I feel that attending Fairfield was a great experience for me. Fairfield gave me a great liberal arts background, especially for a career in journalism where your interests and activities cover the whole gamut of life,” said Laska.
Many more graduates have gotten their “fair share” out of Fairfield. Dr. Len Pietrafesa ’65 is the Director of External affairs for the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences at North Carolina State University. He was the The University Corporation of Atmospheric Research’s 2002 National Champion of Science, and won a customized spot on the Wheaties box for promoting science on Capitol Hill.
Entertainment has utilized Fairfield graduates’ talents as well.
Just look at Michael Quinlan ’75, a television actor. He has appeared as “Prosky” in a 1996 Law and Order episode about a slain jogger in Central Park.
He also appeared as “William Sanders” in a 2003 episode about the search for a terrorizing sniper, based on the Oct. 2002 sniper shootings in suburban Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
He was in “Hack” as “Captain” in 2002, and “Ed” as “Marty Senn” in 2003.
Jim Wilbur, John King and Denis Saulnier ’86 are members of the band Superchunk, and have released 12 albums. They even mention Fairfield University in their description of their first album at Superchunk.com.
You can tune into New York City’s television channels and watch comedian Alexandra McHale, who has appeared on “New Joke City” and “Gotham.”
If you’ve watched any of the yearly Super Bowls, chances are you’ve caught a glimpse of Tommy Okon ’91, the little boy in the famous commercial with “Mean Joe Greene” of Temple Dunbar and the Pittsburgh Steelers. The commercial was voted by USA Today readers as the “Best Super Bowl Spot Ever.” Everyone remembers the line, “Here, kid. Catch,” when Tommy is thrown a Coke.
In the world of sports, Christopher Arena ’93 and Brian Keegan ’94 are employed at the National Basketball Association helping build the global NBA brand and the sport of basketball worldwide.
Thomas F. Bisignano ’82 is the Director of Special Events for The Walt Disney Co. Foundation. He is responsible for finding sports events that fit the eight state-of-the-art venues at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex. He has also served Disney as the manager of Walt Disney Attractions Sport Sales, manager of entertainment planning with Disney Entertainment, and account manager of Disney Resort Sales and food-and-beverage manager at Magic Kingdom and Epcot.
You can read Fairfield graduates’ books at your local bookstore. Mary Beth Tackman Miller ’87 is the author of the award winning novel, “Aimee.” Her book, which battles issues regarding teenage suicide, won the American Library Association’s Best Book for Young Adults Award in 2002. “Aimee” was on Barnes and Noble’s selection as one of the “Best of 2002” in their teen category, was the Colorado Blue Spruce Book for 2003, and the International Reading Association’s Honor Book in the Children’s Book Awards for Young Adults. New York Public Library also named it the “Best Book for the Teenaged” last year.
Along with Miller, Fairfield also graduated M.K. Kauffman, the author of the novel “The Right Moves.” Bob Murphy ’71, the Senior VP of Hard News at ABC News, and Chris Sachs ’79, who is a publisher of “National Geographic Adventure” are also proud Fairfield graduates.
With just a little look into the lives of some of Fairfield’s successful alumni, any current student can see how much your education here offers you once you leave with a diploma in hand.
Writer Ayn Rand once said, “Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it’s yours.” When you’re reading, writing papers, and studying for exams this year, ask yourself: what do I want out of my Fairfield education?