Alumni News

McLeod Innovation Center formally dedicated, blessed in ceremony

Fairfield Prep held a formal dedication and blessing ceremony of the McLeod Innovation Center on Feb. 26, 2021. 

Benefactors Mr. Chris '73 and Elaine McLeod were honored as the esteemed guests of the day. President Christian J. Cashman gave a tour to Chris and Elaine, and the McLeods also took part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the grand staircase of the innovation center. 

Prep also unveiled an honorary plaque of Chris McLeod. Rev. Michael Tunney, S.J., Rector of the Fairfield University Jesuit Community conducted a blessing of all of the spaces.

During the program, President Cashman, Principal Dr. Tommy de Quesada, McLeod’s fellow Prep classmate and Director of the Entrepreneurship Institute Tom Shea ’73, and Student Government President Ryan Carroll '21 all thanked the McLeod family and spoke about the future opportunities offered by the state-of-the-art innovation facility 

Chris McLeod gave an inspiring speech about his experience in leading biomedical tech companies, and expressed his vision that the center be a place where Prep students can explore interests outside the traditional classroom, engage in active learning, and reinforce Jesuit values.

Passing a Gift Along

Excerpts from Mr. McLeod's speech

It gives me great joy to support Fairfield Prep and the MIC. Prep has had a profound impacton my personal development and career. Prep instilled in me a commitment to excellence, challenging me in the classroom and athletics, and teaching me the importance of hard work, of being prepared. I learned concern for others which translated into empathy and listening skills. Jesuit values have provided direction, especially when making difficult decisions.

When it comes to values, Prep built on the solid foundation established by my parents. This gift is in honor of them and my whole McLeod family. Five brothers and now three generations of McLeods have attended Prep. We’ve benefited greatly from Jesuit education and are fortunate to be able to pass that gift along.

My definition of innovation is finding a better way for products and processes. On a personal level, Innovation has been integral to my career success. I’ve made it a point to work in sectors undergoing technological change, as when the established order is disrupted there is a greater opportunity to create value.

Some of the companies where I worked had innovative business models or innovative marketing. Others were built on innovative technologies. An innovator’s DNA includes associational thinking – linking together ideas not obviously associated, plus questioning, observing, networking, and experimenting. This journey has been both financially rewarding and intellectually stimulating for me.

My aspiration for the McLeod Innovation Center is that it is a place where Prep students can explore interests outside the traditional classroom, engage in active learning, and be a place where Jesuit values can be reinforced. My hope is that fifty years from now, Fairfield Prep is still here, true to its Jesuit mission, and that you too have the privilege and joy of passing that gift along. AMDG.

View a gallery of the day by clicking the image below.

On a Trajectory Toward Greatness

Ryan Carroll ’21, Student Government President, spoke at the McLeod Inaugural event.

This creative space is going to allow Prep students to learn in a whole new way as it embodies the ideal of “cura personalis” contributing to the education of mind, body, and spirit.

The McLeod Center will break down the walls between academic disciplines and build connections between those disciplines, reimagining learning at Prep, all while building community. The possibilities are endless.

I am so excited for the future generations of Prep students with the possibilities of the McLeod Center at their fingertips. I cannot express how proud I am to be a student and future alumnus of Fairfield Prep as Prep continues to take that trajectory toward greatness, and the McLeod innovation Center represents a massive step in that direction.

On behalf of Prep students, thank you again to Mr. and Mrs. McLeod for their tremendous gift.

View excerpts from the speeches below.

Fairfield Prep welcomes two Jesuits for the 2021-22 Academic Year

Fairfield Prep is pleased to announce two Jesuit assignments for the 2021-22 academic year. In a tremendous sign of support for the school, Rev. Joseph O'Keefe, S.J., Provincial of Jesuits USA East, has missioned Rev. Brian Konzman, S.J., and Rev. Ronald Perry, S.J., to serve Fairfield Prep beginning this summer.

President Christian Cashman expressed his gratitude: "I offer my profound appreciation to our Provincial Rev. Joe O'Keefe and Provincial Assistant Rev. Joe Parkes, S.J., for their investment of these gifted Jesuits for the spiritual and institutional life of Fairfield Prep." 

Reverend Brian Konzman, S.J.

Fr. Brian Konzman will serve as the Special Assistant to the President for Institutional Planning. Succeeding Mr. Gregory Marshall '73 who is retiring after 42 years of dedicated service this June, Fr. Konzman will join the Prep leadership team in a decisive moment in the school's history. Working directly with President Christian Cashman, he will support Prep's strategic initiatives in support of the 80th anniversary of Prep and beyond. His strong background and degree work in Jesuit ministry, educational and institutional leadership, and training in science, mathematics and technology position him as an ideal candidate to step into this important role. Cashman noted: "Fr. Konzman brings an incredible combination of leadership gifts and will be a key player in the strategic planning and development of our institutional narrative around innovation, collaboration and transformation in the Jesuit tradition. He will also be a tremendous role model for our boys, showing how Jesuits have always been men of faith who serve God through the complexities of the world around us."

Fr. Konzman attended Scranton Preparatory School and the University of Scranton, where he earned a dual degree in chemistry and philosophy. Counseling his peers as a resident assistant inspired him to discern a vocation to the Society of Jesus. He entered the Jesuit novitiate in 2008, and was sent to Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C., to teach theology and direct their Campus Kitchen, redistributing food to the needy. In 2010, he enrolled at Fordham University in the Bronx, earning a master's in philosophy. He returned to Gonzaga in 2013 for two years to teach computer science and serve as director of worship, coach cross country and minister as chaplain for the swimming and diving team and baseball team. From 2012 to 2015, Fr. Konzman was a managing editor and writer at The Jesuit Post, a website dedicated to faith-based commentary targeting young adults. Following, he completed a Master of Divinity degree at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University in California.

Ordained a deacon in 2017, Fr. Konzman served at Newman Hall-Holy Spirit Parish, the Newman Center at the University of California, Berkeley, and as chaplain for Cal's rugby team. His Jesuit formation included summers in China studying Mandarin; in Nicaragua studying Spanish; and in Pennsylvania working as a spiritual director. Fr. Konzman was ordained a priest in 2018, after which he served as a priest at the Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola in New York City. He has spent the past two years completing an MBA at Columbia Business School and an MA in Private School Leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Reverend Ron Perry, S.J.

Fr. Ron Perry will serve as a full-time member of Fairfield Prep's Campus Ministry Team and as Chaplain to Prep Alumni. Father Perry returns to Prep where he served 25 rewarding years as a beloved teacher and Jesuit from 1977-84, and again from 1987-2006. Many alumni will remember his gifts as an educator, retreat leader, photographer and ski buff. Some of his many roles at Prep included theology teacher, German teacher, guidance counselor, and chaplain. Fr. Perry also served as Prep moderator of sophomore and junior classes, tennis team, cycling club and ski club. He was appointed as a member of the Fairfield Prep Board of Governors from 2007-2012. Most recently, Fr. Perry was missioned at Boston College High School, serving in many positions including Rector of the Jesuit Community, Kairos retreat leader, Christian service immersion trip leader, media club moderator, photography teacher, and member of the Board of Trustees.

Fr. Perry holds a bachelor's in philosophy and theology from Boston College; a master's in German from Middlebury College; a Doctorate of Ministry from La Salle Academy, Rhode Island; and a Master of Divinity in theology from Weston Jesuit Community in Massachusetts. In addition to his Jesuit assignments serving and studying in New England, Fr. Perry spent time missioned at Creighton Prep in Omaha, Nebraska. Internationally, he enjoyed opportunities in Munich, Israel, England and Belize.

President Cashman commended Fr. Perry's experience: "It is a joy to welcome Father Ron Perry back home to Fairfield Prep! He is remembered by many alumni and current faculty who enjoyed working with him during his previous tenure with us. He will be a welcome addition to our gifted Mission & Ministry team which works creatively to provide a rich experience of Ignatian, spiritual formation for our boys. Fr. Perry's passion for social justice and faith in action will be a great model. His gifts will also strengthen our already thriving commitment to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius and the sacramental life of our school. And of course, our Prep alumni will be thrilled to reconnect with Fr. Perry!" 

Fairfield Prep will bid a sad farewell to Mr. Brendan Coffey, S.J., who will depart Prep after his two-year Regency. Mr. Coffey has been a beloved colleague, friend and mentor to faculty, staff and students alike. His passion for Jesuit life and the Ignatian way are inspiring. The Prep Community prays for him and wishes him blessings as he proceeds into final studies at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University in California prior to ordination. The door is always open at Prep for Brendan Coffey, S.J.! Please join us in praying for our Jesuit collaborators as we give thanks for the dedication to the vital mission of Jesuit education. AMDG! 

Personal Journeys: Conversation between Former Prep President Rev. Tom Simisky S.J. and Rev. Gerald Blaszczak, S.J.
Former Fairfield Prep President Rev. Tom Simisky, S.J. will participate in a conversation about his path to the priesthood with Rev. Gerry Blaszczak, Vice President for Mission & Ministry at Fairfield University.
 
Father Tom is the next guest in the Spirituality Series, sponsored by the Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality at Fairfield U. The conversation will take place on Zoom on March 24, 2021 at 7 p.m. (Register by clicking the link below).

Father Tom, who served as Fairfield Prep president from 2015 to 2020, will talk about his rather uncommon path to the priesthood, his time at Fairfield Prep, and his continuing Jesuit journey post-Fairfield as he serves his tertianship year in Portland, Oregon.
 
Personal Journeys: A Conversation with Fr. James Bowler, S.J. and Fr. Gerry Blaszczak, S.J.

Rev. Jim Bowler, S.J., who served at Fairfield Prep and Fairfield University for many decades will be interviewed about his journey as a Jesuit by Fr. Gerry Blaszczak, S.J., Fairfield Univ. VP for Mission & Identity. 

The conversation will happen via Zoom on Tuesday, Feb. 23, at 7 p.m. EST. 

Rev. Bowler will talk about his time as head of Fairfield Prep, his later work as the University's facilitator for mission and identity, and the establishment of the Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality.

After registering below, you'll receive a confirmation email to join the Zoom presentation.

Register for the Conversation

For further information, visit Today@Fairfield.

Students given a preview of McLeod Innovation Center

Fairfield Prep students were given their first glimpse of the brand new McLeod Innovation Center during guided tours on Friday, Jan. 8 and Monday, Jan. 11. This is the first time the students were able to see the new space, which was completed several months ahead of schedule.

The tours were led by President Christian Cashman, Principal Dr. Tommy de Quesada, Admissions Director Kevin Altieri '00, Dean of Operations Colleen Keltos and Director of the Fairfield Prep Entrepreneurship Institute Tom Shea '73. 


View additional videos on the Fairfield Prep YouTube page.


Located on the lower level of Xavier Hall, the McLeod Innovation Center is Fairfield Prep's home of innovation, collaboration and transformation in the Jesuit tradition. The Innovation Center spans 11,000 square feet and include new classrooms, a robotics lab, a maker space, a video production studio, project rooms and a new common area. It is also the new home of the Entrepreneurship Institute, where students can build business plans with professional mentoring.

The Innovation Center was made possible thanks to a generous gift from Chris ’73 and Elaine McLeod.

Members of the Class of 2021 have already been spending some time in the McLeod Innovation Center during recent community days, and very soon the space will open up to the entire student body for use during the final semester of the 2020-21 school year. 

Classes will officially begin in the Innovation Center in the Fall of 2021. 


View a gallery of the day by clicking the below image.


For more information on the McLeod Innovation Center, visit the www.fairfieldprep.org/mcleod.