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December 20, 2022

Fairfield Univ. to expand; open opportunities to Greater Bridgeport students

PHOTO | CONTRIBUTED Fairfield University recently hosted a groundbreaking for its "Fairfield Bellarmine" campus. (L-R) Director of the Center for Social Impact Melissa Quan; Dean of Student Success Pejay Lucky; Most Reverend Frank J. Caggiano, Bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport; Fairfield University President Mark R. Nemec; Vice Provost and Executive Director Rev. Kevin O'Brien; Director of Student Well-Being Wendy Mendes; Director of Admission Nakia Létang; USA East Provincial Assistant for Higher Education Rev. Michael Tunney.

Fairfield University is expanding not only its campus, but its educational opportunities for low-income and first-generation students from the Greater Bridgeport area.

Plans are currently being developed to transform the former parish of St. Ambrose Church at 1596 Boston Ave. in Bridgeport into Fairfield University’s new Bellarmine Campus

The new campus is named after St. Robert Bellarmine, S.J., the patron saint of Fairfield University.

While the project costs were not disclosed, Jennifer Anderson, vice president of marketing and communications at Fairfield University said the Bellarmine Campus “will be funded by Fairfield University and its philanthropic partners.”

The new academic division will welcome the first cohort of up to 100 students to Bellarmine Campus for the 2023-24 academic year.

Fairfield University recently began accepting applications for fall 2023 admission into the new program, which will offer a two-year associate’s degree program to low-income and first-generation students at little or no cost to students or their families. Most of their tuition and expenses will be covered by federal and state grants and philanthropy, according to Anderson.

University officials also just announced that the new program received a $1 million gift from alumnus and former University Trustee Kevin Conlisk, Class of ’66, and his wife Mary Beth.

Conlisk served on the University’s Board of Trustees from 2004-2016, and is the former principal and CFO of Alinabal Holdings, a global company with operations in Milford and Kensington. The gift will benefit the ongoing development of the initiative, which includes renovation plans at Bellarmine Campus.

Fairfield University and the Diocese of Bridgeport announced in September 2022 that a new campus, “Fairfield Bellarmine,” will open in late 2023 at the site of the shuttered St. Ambrose School in Bridgeport.

University President Mark Nemec said of the donation, “Their generous gift will benefit Fairfield Bellarmine in providing pathways to higher learning for under-represented students from diverse communities as we accompany these young men and women of purpose towards a hope filled future.”

Conlisk attended Bridgeport schools and Fairfield University.

“To share in this historic moment and be a part of advancing the University’s vision of and commitment to access and opportunity for the youth of Bridgeport to receive the same world-class education, is especially meaningful.”

Students accepted into the new program will be able to pursue a degree in business, computer science, liberal arts and nursing and healthcare. Applications are being accepted on a rolling basis, with a priority application deadline of March 1, 2023.

Fairfield Bellarmine graduates will be prepared to either continue their studies for two more years toward a bachelor’s degree or embark on a professional career.

During a groundbreaking ceremony in November, Fairfield University officials and representatives of the Diocese of Bridgeport gathered with community leaders, state officials and program supporters to celebrate the launch of the new Fairfield Bellarmine initiative.

For more information about the new program, visit

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