FAIRFIELD, Conn. -- Fairfield University will kick off its 75th anniversary celebration on its official birthday, Friday, March 17.
On St. Patrick’s Day in 1942, with the backdrop of World War II, the 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.
That was 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.
Fairfield 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 countries. Fairfield University has awarded more than 45,000 degrees since 1951.
Founded by the Jesuits, 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 commemorate the University’s official birthday on Friday, March 17, the 75th Anniversary flag will be raised at 11:30 a.m. 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 12:10 pm.
Also from 3 to 5 p.m. Friday, the Fairfield University Downtown Bookstore will host an open house.
The public is welcome to stop by and celebrate with refreshments, snacks and activities. The 75th Anniversary apparel will be discounted 20 percent with an additional $7.50 off.
Fairfield First Selectman Michael Tetreau will be reading an honorary proclamation at 3:30 p.m. University mascot Lucas the Stag will make a special appearance.
Each member of the Fairfield University community has also been invited to participate in community service by committing to 75 hours of service during this celebration year. 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, click here .