Posts Tagged ‘Fairfield University’

Fairfield University’s Jesuit Community Building receives Architect Honor

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) included the Jesuit community’s building at Fairfield University as among its 2012 Ten Best Houses as one of 10 recepients of its 2012 Housing Awards. The AIA’s Housing Awards Program, now in its 12th year, was established to recognize the best in housing design and promote the importance of good housing as a necessity of life, a sanctuary for the human spirit and a valuable national resource.

From The Huffington Post:

Jesuit Community Center/Gray Organschi Architecture : Aware of their special role as teachers and spiritual guides, the Jesuits sought a building that would not only provide for their own immediate needs, but might serve as an exemplar of ecological architecture. The apostolic center houses resident Jesuit priests and their guests, administrative offices, a chapel, community dining room, great room, and library. Throughout the project, design decisions aimed to optimize the building’s environmental performance. Ultimately, both traditional site and building design “best practices” and innovative environmental technologies serve to reduce both short and long term impact on the environment, helping the Jesuits to achieve their goal of acting as “good stewards of the Earth.”

Jesuit Father Richard Ryscavage on India’s Growing Gender Imbalance

A new study conducted by Fairfield University’s Center for Faith and Public Life has dug deeper into India’s gender ratio imbalance crisis to find that it is being fueled by complex family pressures, including the belief that boys will be better wage earners, and that men will more likely take better care of their aging parents. The study also indicates that elders in the family and often husbands prefer a male child, while many wives pointed out that their voices were not being heard and had little choice in the matter.

Fairfield University’s innovative survey examined how gender dynamics and family pressures in India lead to the birth of a significantly greater number of boys than girls. The study suggests that male child preference is quite prevalent and the gender ratio imbalance – which is on the increase and was evident in the 2011 Indian National Census – is likely to be a major impediment to the future development of India.

Jesuit Father Richard Ryscavage, professor of sociology and director of The Center for Faith and Public Life, conducted the study and recently sat down for an interview with National Jesuit News.

According to the 2011 National Census of India, there were 914 girls born for every 1,000 boys; in some regions reaching as low as 824 girls. These figures are alarming in comparison to the United Nation’s 2010 Population Sex Ratio norm of 101.7 males to 100 females. The Indian census numbers therefore show a severe gender ratio imbalance in the nation. The Indian government, numerous global agencies, NGOs and researchers contend that as women become a minority in the population, there is bound to be a detrimental effect on both India’s economic development and social stability.

Undertaken in partnership with two Jesuit schools in India – St. Xavier College in Mumbai and Loyola College in Chennai – the research also found that girls are being systematically devalued in society. Yet, the findings also revealed many wives responding that daughters would be better caregivers than sons.

Fairfield’s researchers surveyed the upper layer of the lower class and the lower layer of the middle class. The assumption was that those families could be the part of the population that can make changes in their attitudes towards the son preference practice, a change that could be discernible by the next census, in 2021.

For more information on the “Impact India” study, visit

Jesuit Historian to Speak at Fairfield University about Composer Olivier Messiaen

Jesuit Father Stephen Schloesser will discuss the early years of Olivier Messiaen, one of the most influential composers of the 20th century, when he delivers Fairfield University’s Bellarmine Lecture on Wednesday, February 1. This “concert lecture,” free and open to the public, will feature a gripping story of love and love lost, interspersed with songs for soprano and piano. Works to be performed include Messiaen’s “The Smile,” and “La Fiancee perdue,” from his “Three Melodies,” “Action de Grace,” and “Priere exaucee,” as well as two songs by his wife at the time, Claire Delbos.

The event, presented by the University’s Center for Catholic Studies, will take place in the Egan Chapel of St. Ignatius Loyola at 8 p.m.

In a talk entitled, “Olivier Messiaen: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man,” Fr. Schloesser, associate professor of history at Loyola University Chicago, will chronicle the young life of this artist who was greatly inspired by his Catholic beliefs. He will start by exploring Messiaen’s parents, especially his mother Cecile Sauvage and her poetry, punctuating the talk with Messiaen’s compositions while emphasizing the evolution in his writing. The lecture will provide attendees with an intricate look at Messiaen, his mother, and his wife Claire, and how their relationships so deeply affected the composer’s early works.

Educated at Stanford, Fr. Schloesser has explored such intriguing subjects as Jazz Age Catholicism and Mystic Surrealism as Contemplative Voluptuousness. He was a faculty member of Boston College, a Bannan Fellow at Santa Clara University, and an adjunct professor in the Department of Church History at the Weston Jesuit School of Theology.

The Bellarmine Lecture series was set up to bring distinguished Jesuit Scholars in a variety of disciplines to Fairfield. For information on other Center for Catholic Studies events, visit

[Fairfield University]

New England Province Honors Three Jesuits for Educational Leadership

photo1374 At the 11th annual Jesuit GALA of the New England Province of Jesuits, more than 1300 Jesuits, lay partners, family and friends gathered to honor Jesuit Fathers John Brooks, Aloysius Kelley and J. Donald Monan, whom were presented the Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam Award. The three Jesuits had served as presidents to three Jesuit colleges located in the New England Province: College of the Holy Cross, Fairfield University and Boston College.

The award, which was presented at the 11th annual Jesuit Gala on April 12th, honors those who selflessly give of themselves for the great glory of God.

Fr. Brooks served as president of Holy Cross from 1970-1994, Fr. Kelley served as president of Fairfield University from 1979-2004 and Fr. Monan served as Boston College’s president from 1972-1996.

Jesuit Provincial Myles Sheehan presented the award to the Jesuits for their combined 75 years of outstanding educational leadership.

“We are grateful to Frs. Brooks, Kelley and Monan for their vision in buiding on what had gone before and taking Jesuit education to new levels of quality, scholarship, influence and impct on not only New England, but the nation,” said Fr. Sheehan.

To read more about the events of the GALA, please visit the New England Province website.

Jesuit Ryscavage to Lead Study of Education for Undocumented Students at Jesuit Universities


Fairfield University’s Center for Faith and Public Life has been awarded a two-year, $200,000 grant from the Ford Foundation to study the education of undocumented students at Jesuit universities. Fairfield University will lead the project, collaborating with Santa Clara University and Loyola University Chicago.

Jesuit Father Rick Ryscavage,  professor of sociology and director of the Center for Faith and Public Life at Fairfield and a former national director of Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, who will serve as director of the project, said, “there is very little hard data about the situation of undocumented students in American universities. This grant will allow us to make a major contribution to the national understanding of the problem.”

Under the grant, a research study will seek to survey and understand the social context and current practices and attitudes in American Jesuit schools of higher education regarding undocumented students.

The study will consider:

  • Structures that support or challenge the higher education of undocumented students
  • Best practices and strategies for ensuring their eventual success
  • A potential collaborative model for helping students as they move through their university years
  • Issues facing students after graduation

Leading the research team, consisting of law and social science faculty from all three institutions, will be Dr. Kurt Schlichting, a professor of sociology and anthropology at Fairfield.

The project is designed to stimulate a sustained dialogue with the 28 Jesuit schools of higher education in the United States by asking two questions:

  1. What are the current practices among our schools?
  2. What challenges do we face in trying to serve these students?

A final policy paper, highlighting the results of the study, will include a moral argument, anchored in Catholic social teaching, for better meeting the needs of undocumented students.