Sacred Heart University hosted its annual Discovery Awards and Scholarship Dinner this week. This year’s dinner on Wednesday broke all records—raising over $570,000—making the amount realized for student scholarships the most in the Discovery Dinner’s 22-year history. A special University project will benefit from the dinner again this year: the Discovery Scholars program that allows for a tuition-free education for students from Fairfield County with family incomes below $50,000.
Great thanks to a couple of gifted speakers, junior Tony Jean-Louis and senior Stephanie Valentino, who shared personal stories about how the financial aid they received helped to make their education and life experiences at SHU possible. We also got to hear from Amanda Pape, a member of the Class of 2007, who was a star on the basketball court at SHU. She also told the audience the moving details of the challenges her family faced and how a basketball scholarship to SHU made all the difference in her life. And, a special thank you to Dr. John Michniewicz and to 4 Heart Harmony for sharing their gift of music with our guests.
Obviously, a special event of this kind calls for many hands on deck to plan and support it. I want to offer my personal gratitude to Michael Iannazzi, our interim vice president for Institutional Advancement, and his team for making the event hum. I spoke to a number of people who had been to the Discovery Dinner before, and they reported that this was the best ever. In addition to raising important scholarship dollars, of course, the dinner also allowed us to salute the accomplishments of two great friends and community leaders: Cindi Bigelow of R.C. Bigelow, the specialty tea company based in Fairfield, and Bob Dilenschneider, the great public relations expert from New York’s Dilenschneider Group. Thanks to everyone involved for a spectacular evening.
We said good-bye this week to an old and dear friend, Hubert “Hub” Schlafly, who died at the age of 91. The inventor of the Teleprompter and the benefactor, with his late wife, Leona, of our Chapel of the Nativity, Hub cherished our University and its students. He supported scholarships, and our media lab is named for him. We will miss his gentle presence and pray for his eternal rest.
This has been a busy week with final papers and exams occupying our attention. But a great SHU tradition also took place: the Campus Life Leadership Awards in the Edgerton Center on Thursday night. Let me offer special recognition to just a few of those recognized for their positive impact on the campus community. Dr. Shirley Pavone received the Marian Calabrese Outstanding Faculty honors. The Outstanding Administrator Award went to Dave Bike and Outstanding Staff recognition to Cynthia Conte. The Outstanding Graduate Assistant was Chris Lee. Andrew Owens won the Doug Bohn “Unsung Hero” Award, and Kelly Leather was chosen for the John Croffey Outstanding Leadership Award. Congratulations to all of you and the many others recognized in this wonderful event.
Among some of the other activities of the week were the College of Arts & Sciences’ poster session on Friday, the special events connected with the University’s celebration of Earth Day, and the Holocaust Remembrance service in the Chapel. So many good things going on. We wish all of you great success in these closing days of the semester, especially with your final exams and planning for the summer.