Fairfield’s new capital campaign “Fairfield Rising” was formally launched on Sept. 30 at a celebratory dinner held at Bellarmine Mansion. At the dinner, Former Fairfield University Trustee William P. Egan ’67 and his wife Jacalyn announced a $10 million gift to Fairfield in support of the Fairfield Rising campaign effort.

Their donation will contribute to a new, integrated health studies and nursing initiative at Fairfield. As a result of the Egan family’s generous donation, the School of Nursing will be renamed the Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing, in honor of Egan’s mother.

The physical expansion of the health sciences facility is expected to begin in the spring of 2016.

At the dinner, President Jeffrey von Arx, S.J. announced that during the initial phases of the Fairfield Rising campaign, the University has already raised $115 million from major donors, saying that the University is well on its way to reaching its goal of $160 million for the campaign.

“Tonight we celebrate that accomplishment — we celebrate and thank you all for your leadership — and we look forward to the surge of energy and enthusiasm that will accompany us as we enter the public phase of the campaign,” Father von Arx said at the dinner. “Now is the time to intensify our efforts to continue supporting Fairfield Rising and to encourage others to join in this transformational effort for our University.”

Fairfield University trustee John Meditz ‘70, who Meditz Hall is named after, was also in attendance at the event. His contribution of $10 million last year to the Fairfield Rising campaign contributed to the $22 million renovation of the Leslie C. Quick Jr. Recreation Complex, which is slated to be completed by August 2016.

Egan has made significant donations to the University in the past. The University’s Egan Chapel of St. Ignatius of Loyola was named after Egan’s parents in recognition for a gift he donated to the University.

The Fairfield Rising campaign is targeted at the improvement of many of the University’s facilities, including the renovation and of the RecPlex, the expanded nursing and science facility and the construction of Rafferty Stadium during the 2014-2015 school year.

The main areas in which the University hopes the Fairfield Rising campaign can have a significant impact are in supporting faculty and their research, raising the endowment for student aid, fueling the University’s athletic programs, support for student programs that enhance student life and wellness and support for the University’s daily operations.

Junior Laura Salerni is happy with the improvements the Fairfield Rising campaign has brought about so far, and will continue to in the future.

“I don’t really know much about Fairfield Rising, but from what I’ve heard I think it’s great. I think Rafferty Stadium has been a great addition to the Fairfield community and I’m sure the new improvements within the nursing school will be very beneficial to the success of both nursing students and Fairfield in general,” Salerni said.

Nursing students like Julia Reno ‘17 are excited about the upcoming enhancements to the School of Nursing. “I think it’s awesome that the nursing school is going to benefit from the donation and I really look forward to seeing and experiencing what new changes it brings,” she said.

Other students, however, such as Rob Munoz ‘19, feel that as a part of the Fairfield Rising campaign, more money should be donated to improvements to other schools such as the School of Engineering, not just the School of Nursing.

Father von Arx concluded his speech by saying “All of you here this evening — alumni, parents, and friends — are leaders in this tradition. You share these values. The mantle that was once carried by St. Ignatius and a few of his friends is now shared by all of us, and it is up to us to step forward and open the doors for future generations to follow in our footsteps. That is really what Fairfield Rising is all about.”

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