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Educating Fairfield

Sacred Heart University’s Big Plans



The SHU Center for Healthcare Education is a three-story, 117,000-square-foot facility with 18 laboratories, eight classrooms, and a 140-seat lecture hall.

What’s with Sacred Heart University these days? The question is frequently repeated in gathering spots in Fairfield and for good reason. Even an occasional trip down Park Avenue, never mind a neck-snapping ride through the campus, will reveal a brand-spanking new building just put up yesterday. Oh yeah, and then there’s the acquisition of GE’s corporate headquarters for $31.5 million. Don’t forget the land from the Jewish Senior Services adjacent to the campus at $16.5 million. But wait, there’s more. The 150-acre Great River Golf Club came up for sale, and SHU bought that too, for $5.6 million.

The answer, in short: the university is on a mission to transform a local commuter college founded in 1963, which was bumping along as a lower-rung choice of any potential student’s list, into an attractive, must-see learning center that is every bit as much a cohesive community as it is a center of academic excellence. “In order to grow this institution,” says SHU president John Petillo, “we had to add first-class facilities and faculty and be all about student-focus, which would allow us to be much more selective in the students who come here. We’ve done much of that work and there are plans for more.”

While the student population, about 8,500, is made up of more undergrad students, there were more graduate students that graduated this year, a sign that specialty colleges within the university are on the rise. For example, the school of computing will make use of part of the 510,000-square-foot, new West Campus (the old GE HQ), focusing on innovative computer engineering. Some disciplines of the Jack Welch School of Business will also go there. Other specialties such as public administration are now being provided for, as are more new facilities for the business school and school of communications. Seventeen new graduate programs have been added in the last five years.

With such an emphasis on community life—“We have a mentoring program here that ensures no one is left out of the mix,” Petillo notes—it is natural that on-campus residential housing is an important part of the plan. The spectacular, not-anything-like-your-East German-dorm-of-old, Bergoglio Residential Hall features a gym and a video room that gives new meaning to Halo (a top-pick college student video game). There are plans to make use of the Jewish Seniors property for a 750-student residential village that will further encourage on-campus living.

Okay, so this is all well and good—but where’s the money coming from? According to Michael Kinney, senior VP of finance administration, the bulk of all this new investment in the university’s future comes alumni gifts, fund raising, and, of course, tuition—$38,000 a year for undergrads. 

Oh, and what about that golf course? Well, it’s an impressive track probably worthy of NCAA competitions and will support both the golf- and hospitality-management programs in the future. Besides, Yale has a golf course, doesn’t it?

The result of all this effort is that SHU now attracts students from all over the Northeast, although not as many men and minorities as they would like, but they see progress. And while you’re unlikely to see SHU athletics on TV anytime soon, they do boast about 1,300 students involved in some form of formal athletics.

For those who prefer to listen to classical music and sip martinis, you’ll be pleased to learn that WSHU is going to have a new studio built soon, one that replaces the glorified caddy-shack now in use.

When SHU bought the GE property, there was some consternation that the biggest taxpayer in town was leaving and being replaced by a tax-exempt organization. This, on top of other state woes, has brought on conversations about Florida among local residents. Says SHU finance SVP Kinney: Given the flight from the corporate-park model to cities, the GE property was nowhere near the valuation on the books when GE left. 

In fact, no matter who bought the property, they would have paid about two-thirds less than GE’s $1.8-million property-tax bill. The loss, he explains, is mostly offset by the payment in lieu of taxes (or PILOT) payment from the state to the town, which increases with the presence of educational facilities within a municipality’s borders. Fairfield, with two significant universities, reaps a goodly dose of PILOT money, and that increases as SHU adds property and buildings. In addition, they argue, few from GE went to shop or eat in downtown Fairfield, but students do all the time on shuttle after shuttle. 

There is no doubt that Fairfield, like any town with a university (or two), derives multiple benefits in addition to the mysterious positive effect of education on personal, family, career, and town life. SHU is helping to maintain Fairfield as distinctive, educated, arts and technology conversant, upwardly mobile, and therefore viable, place to live.

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December 2017

For the 32nd year, Santa will make a special stop at Fairfield’s historic Burr Homestead to mingle with visitors of all ages and spread holiday cheer with the help of some very...

Cost: Advance Tickets: $6 ages 2 and up. Tickets at the door: $8 ages 2 and up.

Where:
Burr Homestead
739 Old Post Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Sponsor: Junior Women’s Club of Fairfield
Contact Name: Pheroza Parashar
Website »

More information

Featuring hundreds of pieces of functional pottery and ceramic sculpture by local and nationally recognized artists. It is an opportunity to purchase one-of-a-kind clay art for holiday gift-giving...

Cost: Free

Where:
Clay Art Center
40 Beech Street
Port Chester, NY  10573
View map »


Website »

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The Department of Theatre Arts will present "Happy Holiday from Irving Berlin: A Musical Revue" in the MainStage Theatre of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the WCSU Westside...

Cost: $7-15

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »

More information

Saturday-Sunday, December 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 23-24, 2017 Tis the season to be jolly at LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Westchester during Bricktacular. Join in on the festive...

Cost: Starting at $15.95; children under 2 are FREE.

Where:
LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester
39 Fitzgerald Street
Yonkers, NY  10710
View map »


Sponsor: LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Westchester
Telephone: 866-243-0770
Website »

More information

December 2 – January 7, 2018 A Fairfield Museum holiday tradition. Model trains wind around an enchanting display full of holiday spirit and elaborate scenery! This year features even more...

Cost: Members: Free; $5 Adults; $3 Kids; Free 5 & Under.

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Sponsor: Fairfield Museum and History Center
Telephone: 203-259-1598
Contact Name: Visitor Services Manager
Website »

More information

Make happy holiday memories without the hassles! Moms and Dads know it's often a scary experience for young children to sit on Santa's lap. Come to a place that is safe,...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Stepping Stones Museum for Children
303 West Avenue
Norwalk, CT  06850
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Featuring hundreds of pieces of functional pottery and ceramic sculpture by local and nationally recognized artists. It is an opportunity to purchase one-of-a-kind clay art for holiday gift-giving...

Cost: Free

Where:
Clay Art Center
40 Beech Street
Port Chester, NY  10573
View map »


Website »

More information

Saturday-Sunday, December 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 23-24, 2017 Tis the season to be jolly at LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Westchester during Bricktacular. Join in on the festive...

Cost: Starting at $15.95; children under 2 are FREE.

Where:
LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester
39 Fitzgerald Street
Yonkers, NY  10710
View map »


Sponsor: LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Westchester
Telephone: 866-243-0770
Website »

More information

Favorite memories, reminders and images of home are on display at the City of Norwalk Parking Authority’s Maritime Garage Gallery. “Memories Of Our Town,” features art in a...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06897
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203- 831-9063
Contact Name: maritime garage gallery
Website »

More information

December 2 – January 7, 2018 A Fairfield Museum holiday tradition. Model trains wind around an enchanting display full of holiday spirit and elaborate scenery! This year features even more...

Cost: Members: Free; $5 Adults; $3 Kids; Free 5 & Under.

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Sponsor: Fairfield Museum and History Center
Telephone: 203-259-1598
Contact Name: Visitor Services Manager
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Featuring hundreds of pieces of functional pottery and ceramic sculpture by local and nationally recognized artists. It is an opportunity to purchase one-of-a-kind clay art for holiday gift-giving...

Cost: Free

Where:
Clay Art Center
40 Beech Street
Port Chester, NY  10573
View map »


Website »

More information

Saturday-Sunday, December 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 23-24, 2017 Tis the season to be jolly at LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Westchester during Bricktacular. Join in on the festive...

Cost: Starting at $15.95; children under 2 are FREE.

Where:
LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester
39 Fitzgerald Street
Yonkers, NY  10710
View map »


Sponsor: LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Westchester
Telephone: 866-243-0770
Website »

More information

Favorite memories, reminders and images of home are on display at the City of Norwalk Parking Authority’s Maritime Garage Gallery. “Memories Of Our Town,” features art in a...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06897
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203- 831-9063
Contact Name: maritime garage gallery
Website »

More information

December 2 – January 7, 2018 A Fairfield Museum holiday tradition. Model trains wind around an enchanting display full of holiday spirit and elaborate scenery! This year features even more...

Cost: Members: Free; $5 Adults; $3 Kids; Free 5 & Under.

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Sponsor: Fairfield Museum and History Center
Telephone: 203-259-1598
Contact Name: Visitor Services Manager
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Featuring hundreds of pieces of functional pottery and ceramic sculpture by local and nationally recognized artists. It is an opportunity to purchase one-of-a-kind clay art for holiday gift-giving...

Cost: Free

Where:
Clay Art Center
40 Beech Street
Port Chester, NY  10573
View map »


Website »

More information

Celebrate the holidays by connecting with inspiring and fabulous women over cocktails and light appetizers. Take a rest from all the stress and join us! The cost is just $25 for B.I.G. members and...

Cost: $25 for B.I.G. members and $45 for non-members

Where:
Geronimos Bar and Grill
2070 Post Road
Fairfield, CT  06825
View map »


Sponsor: B.I.G. Fairfield/Westport
Telephone: 203-529-5146
Contact Name: Diana Palmentiero
Website »

More information

Saturday-Sunday, December 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 23-24, 2017 Tis the season to be jolly at LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Westchester during Bricktacular. Join in on the festive...

Cost: Starting at $15.95; children under 2 are FREE.

Where:
LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester
39 Fitzgerald Street
Yonkers, NY  10710
View map »


Sponsor: LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Westchester
Telephone: 866-243-0770
Website »

More information

Favorite memories, reminders and images of home are on display at the City of Norwalk Parking Authority’s Maritime Garage Gallery. “Memories Of Our Town,” features art in a...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06897
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203- 831-9063
Contact Name: maritime garage gallery
Website »

More information

Wednesdays, December 6, 13, 20 & 27; 9:30am. Discover adventures on the tracks with books that spark the imagination. Sponsored by People’s United Bank. For more information and...

Cost: Members; Free: Non-Members; $5 Adults, $3 Children, free for children 5 and unde

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Sponsor: Fairfield Museum and History Center
Telephone: 203-259-1598
Contact Name: Visitor Services Manager
Website »

More information

December 2 – January 7, 2018 A Fairfield Museum holiday tradition. Model trains wind around an enchanting display full of holiday spirit and elaborate scenery! This year features even more...

Cost: Members: Free; $5 Adults; $3 Kids; Free 5 & Under.

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Sponsor: Fairfield Museum and History Center
Telephone: 203-259-1598
Contact Name: Visitor Services Manager
Website »

More information

Join us for a free tour of our permanent collection which includes European and American paintings, drawings, prints, and photographs, as well as a group of African, and Pre-Colombian objects. The...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Bellarmine Hall
Fairfield University
1073 North Benson Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
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In this exhibition of vintage postcards, holiday literature and caroling music, dating from 1848-1996, you can experience the magical and memorable role holidays play in the lives of all readers,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.115
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

Featuring hundreds of pieces of functional pottery and ceramic sculpture by local and nationally recognized artists. It is an opportunity to purchase one-of-a-kind clay art for holiday gift-giving...

Cost: Free

Where:
Clay Art Center
40 Beech Street
Port Chester, NY  10573
View map »


Website »

More information

Saturday-Sunday, December 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 23-24, 2017 Tis the season to be jolly at LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Westchester during Bricktacular. Join in on the festive...

Cost: Starting at $15.95; children under 2 are FREE.

Where:
LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester
39 Fitzgerald Street
Yonkers, NY  10710
View map »


Sponsor: LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Westchester
Telephone: 866-243-0770
Website »

More information

Favorite memories, reminders and images of home are on display at the City of Norwalk Parking Authority’s Maritime Garage Gallery. “Memories Of Our Town,” features art in a...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06897
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203- 831-9063
Contact Name: maritime garage gallery
Website »

More information

December 2 – January 7, 2018 A Fairfield Museum holiday tradition. Model trains wind around an enchanting display full of holiday spirit and elaborate scenery! This year features even more...

Cost: Members: Free; $5 Adults; $3 Kids; Free 5 & Under.

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Sponsor: Fairfield Museum and History Center
Telephone: 203-259-1598
Contact Name: Visitor Services Manager
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

In this exhibition of vintage postcards, holiday literature and caroling music, dating from 1848-1996, you can experience the magical and memorable role holidays play in the lives of all readers,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.115
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

Make this a holiday tradition for your family! Take a horse-drawn carriage ride through Southport Village. Sing carols around the bonfire. Enjoy live choral music while decorating cookies and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.115
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

Featuring hundreds of pieces of functional pottery and ceramic sculpture by local and nationally recognized artists. It is an opportunity to purchase one-of-a-kind clay art for holiday gift-giving...

Cost: Free

Where:
Clay Art Center
40 Beech Street
Port Chester, NY  10573
View map »


Website »

More information

Music on the Hill presents the Festival Chorus and Jubilate Ringers handbell choir in a traditional Christmas concert, with artistic directors Ellen Dickinson and David H. Connell. The concert...

Cost: $20 in advance, $25 at the door; students free

Where:
St. Matthew's Episcopal Church
36 New Canaan Road
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »


Sponsor: Music on the Hill
Telephone: 203-529-3133
Contact Name: Music on the Hill
Website »

More information

Saturday-Sunday, December 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 23-24, 2017 Tis the season to be jolly at LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Westchester during Bricktacular. Join in on the festive...

Cost: Starting at $15.95; children under 2 are FREE.

Where:
LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester
39 Fitzgerald Street
Yonkers, NY  10710
View map »


Sponsor: LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Westchester
Telephone: 866-243-0770
Website »

More information

Favorite memories, reminders and images of home are on display at the City of Norwalk Parking Authority’s Maritime Garage Gallery. “Memories Of Our Town,” features art in a...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06897
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203- 831-9063
Contact Name: maritime garage gallery
Website »

More information

December 2 – January 7, 2018 A Fairfield Museum holiday tradition. Model trains wind around an enchanting display full of holiday spirit and elaborate scenery! This year features even more...

Cost: Members: Free; $5 Adults; $3 Kids; Free 5 & Under.

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Sponsor: Fairfield Museum and History Center
Telephone: 203-259-1598
Contact Name: Visitor Services Manager
Website »

More information

Make happy holiday memories without the hassles! Moms and Dads know it's often a scary experience for young children to sit on Santa's lap. Come to a place that is safe,...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Stepping Stones Museum for Children
303 West Avenue
Norwalk, CT  06850
View map »


Website »

More information

Fridays, December 8, 15, 22 & 29, 4:30pm – 6pm. Free with admission. Join us on Friday evenings when the Train Show is open late! Make a snowman out of marshmallows, create an array of...

Cost: Members; Free: Non-Members; $5 Adults, $3 Children, free for children 5 and unde

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Sponsor: Fairfield Museum and History Center
Telephone: 203-259-1598
Contact Name: Visitor Services Manager
Website »

More information

Clay Art Center One-Time Cladies Night for Adults Interested in Learning to Use the Potter’s Wheel Looking to get your hands dirty and learn how to use the potter’s wheel? Try Clay...

Cost: $50

Where:
Clay Art Center
40 Beech Street
Port Chester, NY  10573
View map »


Website »

More information

Come join The Vagabonds for this completely out of character production as we celebrate our return to Bridgeport's Hidden Gem with the story of George Bailey's glimpse into the "What...

Cost: $20 & Up

Where:
The Bijou Theatre
275 Fairfield Ave
Bridgeport, CT  06604
View map »


Sponsor: The Vagabond Theatre Company of Greater Bridgeport
Telephone: 203-520-8332
Contact Name: John R Smith Jnr
Website »

More information

Get ready to rock the holidays with the one and only Rob Mathes, now in his third decade of holiday performances at The Performing Arts Center. This annual celebration featuring the multi-talented...

Cost: $45 to $72.50

Where:
The Performing Arts Center, Purchase College
735 Anderson Hill Rd
Purchase, NY  10577
View map »


Sponsor: The Performing Arts Center
Telephone: 914-251-6200
Contact Name: Jenifer Howard
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

In this exhibition of vintage postcards, holiday literature and caroling music, dating from 1848-1996, you can experience the magical and memorable role holidays play in the lives of all readers,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.115
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

Featuring hundreds of pieces of functional pottery and ceramic sculpture by local and nationally recognized artists. It is an opportunity to purchase one-of-a-kind clay art for holiday gift-giving...

Cost: Free

Where:
Clay Art Center
40 Beech Street
Port Chester, NY  10573
View map »


Website »

More information

Saturday-Sunday, December 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 23-24, 2017 Tis the season to be jolly at LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Westchester during Bricktacular. Join in on the festive...

Cost: Starting at $15.95; children under 2 are FREE.

Where:
LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester
39 Fitzgerald Street
Yonkers, NY  10710
View map »


Sponsor: LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Westchester
Telephone: 866-243-0770
Website »

More information

December 2 – January 7, 2018 A Fairfield Museum holiday tradition. Model trains wind around an enchanting display full of holiday spirit and elaborate scenery! This year features even more...

Cost: Members: Free; $5 Adults; $3 Kids; Free 5 & Under.

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Sponsor: Fairfield Museum and History Center
Telephone: 203-259-1598
Contact Name: Visitor Services Manager
Website »

More information

Make happy holiday memories without the hassles! Moms and Dads know it's often a scary experience for young children to sit on Santa's lap. Come to a place that is safe,...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Stepping Stones Museum for Children
303 West Avenue
Norwalk, CT  06850
View map »


Website »

More information

Come join The Vagabonds for this completely out of character production as we celebrate our return to Bridgeport's Hidden Gem with the story of George Bailey's glimpse into the "What...

Cost: $20 & Up

Where:
The Bijou Theatre
275 Fairfield Ave
Bridgeport, CT  06604
View map »


Sponsor: The Vagabond Theatre Company of Greater Bridgeport
Telephone: 203-520-8332
Contact Name: John R Smith Jnr
Website »

More information

Get ready to rock the holidays with the one and only Rob Mathes, now in his third decade of holiday performances at The Performing Arts Center. This annual celebration featuring the multi-talented...

Cost: $45 to $72.50

Where:
The Performing Arts Center, Purchase College
735 Anderson Hill Rd
Purchase, NY  10577
View map »


Sponsor: The Performing Arts Center
Telephone: 914-251-6200
Contact Name: Jenifer Howard
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
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