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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.

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