SHU Awards Dinner Raises Funds for Student Scholarships While Honoring Community

News Story: May 30, 2007

Susan Saint James, GE’s Bill Conaty & Fairfield’s Rev. Lawrence J. Carroll Honored

Sacred Heart University celebrated its 18th annual Discovery Awards & Scholarship Dinner on Wednesday evening, May 2nd, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Old Greenwich, Connecticut. More than $500,000 was raised for student scholarships.

The black-tie gala honored actress and community activist Susan Saint James and Fairfield resident Bill Conaty, the senior vice president of Corporate Human Resources at GE, both with Discovery Awards. Reverend Lawrence J. Carroll, the pastor of Fairfield’s St. Pius X Parish, was presented the Curtis Medal of Honor.

Two SHU scholarship recipients, Michelle Mortali, a junior from Hamden, and Meghan Wilcox, a graduating senior from Bedford, Massachusetts, addressed the audience, telling their benefactors how scholarship dollars have made a difference in their lives.

Saint James, known for her title roles on the hit television series McMillan and Wife and Kate & Allie, earned 10 Emmy nominations throughout her acting career. She has been active in the Special Olympics for 35 years and has served on the board of the Connecticut Special Olympics since 1983.

Conaty spent his entire career at General Electric. A Fairfield resident and a SHU Trustee since 1994, he sustained a key partnership between GE and SHU, introducing numerous GE best practices to the University. In 2004, he was named Human Resources Executive of the Year by Human Resource Executive magazine. And, a recent profile in Business Week praised him for taking “a department that’s often treated as a support function” and turning it “into a high-level business partner.”

Prior to his present assignment, Father Carroll served at parishes in Trumbull, Greenwich, Easton, Stratford and Brookfield. He also enjoyed a long ministry at his alma mater, Notre DameHigh School, as a teacher, spiritual director and assistant principal. 

Dave Price, weatherman and a feature reporter for CBS News' The Early Show, entertained the audience as the master of ceremonies for the evening. Event chairs are Sacred Heart University Trustees Mark E. Freitas, president & CEO of Frank Crystal & Company; Linda McMahon, CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment; and Bill Mitchell, vice chairman of Mitchells of Westport and Richards of Greenwich.

SHU’s Discovery Award invites the community to recognize and celebrate the gifts of caring and accomplished people—those who embody the tradition of the University in their lives. They represent a wide diversity of professions but hold in common a passion for excellence and a devotion to their fellow citizens. Each is truly an educator showing by example the inestimable value of learning, leadership and service.

The Bishop Walter W. Curtis Medal of Honor is named for the second Bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport, who founded Sacred Heart University in 1963. The University first presented this singular honor, to its founding father, in 1967. The Medal of Honor identifies exemplary members of the community who are living models of the Bishop’s own clarity of vision and generosity of spirit.

Over the past 18 years, the Discovery Dinner has raised millions of dollars for financial assistance to deserving scholars. All proceeds from the evening benefit the University’s Scholarship Fund.