SHU Holds 48th Annual Founder’s Day Celebration
To view a photo gallery from Founder's Day, CLICK HERE.
Sacred Heart University’s 48th annual Founder’s Day celebration took place on the Fairfield campus on Wednesday, March 14. Founder’s Day represents the anniversary of the signing of the charter that established Sacred Heart University in 1963. Traditionally, faculty and staff are honored for milestone anniversaries of employment at the University.
The celebration began with a standing-room-only Mass at the Chapel of the Holy Spirit and continued with the awards ceremony before a packed house at the Edgerton Center for the Performing Arts. More than 50 faculty and staff members were honored for service anniversaries that ranged from 15 to 40 years.
In a year where we inaugurated a new president and have been celebrating the theme of “a time for new beginnings,” an event like this reminds us that we are at our best when we combine experience with innovation, established practice with new solutions and conventional customs with new traditions,” Vice President of Human Resources Rob Hardy told the crowd. “The members of our faculty and staff who we honor this afternoon symbolize the energy and enthusiasm of the entire University. They exemplify the value of experience and wisdom. We thank them for their years of service, and we look forward to continued collaboration in the years to come.”
Dr. John J. Petillo, SHU president, told the honorees that they exemplify his vision of a community “focused on servant leadership, stewardship and presence. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your dedication and commitment.”
Throughout the ceremony, the crowd was entertained by performances from the 4 Heart Harmony chamber choir.
The highlight of the awards ceremony was the presentation of a 35-year award to Barbara Benjamini, an adjunct associate professor of English, and a 40-year award to Alvin Clinkscales, special assistant to the executive director of University Financial Assistance.
Benjamini is currently teaching Literary Expression of the Human Journey – part of Sacred Heart’s Core Curriculum – both online and in the classroom. In addition, she teaches the class to sections of the Nursing program at area hospitals. During her 35 years at SHU, she has taught both traditional undergraduate courses and courses for the AHEAD (accelerated format) program. She has served as co-director of freshman English, been a member of the Admissions Committee and written materials for the University’s Jandrisevits Learning Center.
Clinkscales, who received his award during a standing ovation, is a popular employee who first joined the University as director of Financial Aid and assistant vice president for Community/Minority Affairs. In his current role, he reviews, highlights and maintains articles on higher education costs, enrollment and business services. His research, interpretation and discussion of topics and trends related to the critical areas of concern have helped mold the financial services offered to students. He assists with the Financial Assistance Office’s goal of providing friendly, prompt and accurate customer service, and with the ever-increasing requests by phone or from students stopping by the office, his ability to work across all populations has provided students with a more immediate response to their concerns. In addition, he provides much-needed support not only in financial areas for scholarship athletes, but also as a mentor for personal and athletic concerns as they balance their roles as student and athlete.
The festivities concluded with a reception at University Commons where faculty and staff had a chance to congratulate their colleagues on their commitment to Sacred Heart.