Latin Scholars Alumni Group
The Latin Scholars is a dedicated group of alumni that has supported Fairfield Prep for more than three decades. Throughout the years, the Latin Scholars group has raised more than $200,000 in donations through an annual luncheon, with all proceeds going to Prep-related charities and scholarships.
It all began when a group of Prep grads got together for lunch one day in December of 1976. They were The Late John Ford (’46), Emil Garofalo (’45), The Late Frank Kennelly (’45), The Late John Connelly (’45) and The Late Stanton Kennedy (’45). The guest of honor was Fr. Thomas Murphy, SJ.
Fr. Murphy had been everyone’s Latin teacher from 1942 to 1946. At his tallest, he stood about 5’6 – OK, maybe 5’6½”. Ergo, he maintained order the old fashioned way: lots of homework and plenty of JUG. It wasn’t long before the students nicknamed Fr. Murphy “Little Caesar,” a moniker he smilingly carried to his grave.
That 1976 lunch was a couple of hours of reminiscence and laughter about those first years of Fairfield Prep, and it was decided that it should be an annual event. The following year, Mickey McBride, Dick Shea, Bob Walsh and Ed Dailey (all ‘46) joined the fun. As time went by, the group began to refer to themselves as “Fr. Murphy’s Latin Scholars” (there has been a rumor afloat that one could only claim the title if he had flunked Latin at least once… this vicious gossip has been denied vociferously by the intelligentsia of the original gathering!!).
As the beloved priest advanced in age, the group wanted to honor his many years of service to the Prep and its students. A huge boulder was located on the Prep campus. It was cleaned, polished, inscribed and, with much fanfare, placed on a knoll overlooking the school. The inscription reads “In loving gratitude from all who derived comfort, joy and inspiration from his piety and his music.” It is dated August 28, 1984. The boulder was subsequently moved, and now sits at the entrance to the Prep, where it greets the young men as they arrive each morning.
The group’s next modest plan was to place a plaque on the door of the music room bearing the name “Rev. Thomas A. Murphy, SJ.” What a shock it was to learn that a $10,000. donation to the school would be required! Where to amass such a sum… why not open the December luncheon to all Prep grads, and charge a small fee? The official “Latin Scholars” was born. John Connelly assumed the presidency, and the first Latin Scholars luncheon took place in 1981.
Attendance and receipts that first year were modest, but in succeeding years the growth has been impressive. Emil Garofalo succeeded John Connelly as president, followed by John Ford. John was followed by Paul Connelly and, since Paul’s death; Emil Garofalo has again assumed leadership.
The occasion began as a simple get together of old friends, and the low key theme continues. There are no paid employees, no red tape, no perks, no graft, no fraud. A bank account exists to cover postage, etc… and the balance never exceeds $100. Just the way Fr. Murphy would like it!
If you are a Prep Grad, no matter what your age, you are invited to join the group. Call the Prep Alumni Office for information at 203-254-4237.