Fairfield Now - Fall 2008
Meet the new Alumni Association Board President:
Carla Supersano Sullivan '88
By Virginia Weir
Carla Supersano Sullivan '88 and Dr. George Lacovara '56, P'87
A Fairfield education is a family affair for the new president of the Alumni Association Board of Directors, Carla Sullivan '88. She credits her grandparents for encouraging her to follow in the footsteps of her father, Alan Supersano '64, to attend "The U," as they called Fairfield.
During her four years at Fairfield, students would find Sullivan in the basement of Loyola Chapel every Sunday, singing and playing her guitar. "My connection with music and my relationship with Carole Ann Maxwell (director of the University Glee Club) was by far the most influential of my Fairfield experiences," Sullivan said. She was the last president of the Women's Chorale and a member of the first governing board of the combined Glee Club.
Sullivan graduated with a bachelor's degree in communication, and went on to earn her master's in elementary education at the University of Bridgeport. In 1991, she and her husband Sean were the first couple to be married in the Egan Chapel of St. Ignatius Loyola, where they have served as liturgical ministers for the past 17 years. Sullivan balances part-time employment with extensive volunteer work. She is a consultant for two local non-profit organizations, an active community leader, and a busy mother of three. "My Fairfield education and life experience since college have prepared me well to lead the Alumni Association at this time."
When a position for the Class of 1988 became available five years ago, Sullivan joined the Alumni Association Board of Directors. The Board structure has been reorganized, and last year, Sullivan was approached by the nominating committee to consider the position of president-elect and accepted the challenge. "Carla is the right person to lead us right now," said Dr. George Lacovara '56, P'87, Board president for the past two years. "She's talented and energetic, and she has the drive and determination to make the new structure work."
"I guess I'm not afraid of change," Sullivan said. "I've been taking things apart and putting them back together in new ways for a long time."
Carla Sullivan '88 talks about the new direction of the Alumni Association
What is the primary function of the Alumni Association? And how does the new structure of the Board relate to the University's strategic plan?
The purpose of Fairfield's Alumni Association hasn't changed. As our bylaws state, we are here to "promote, strengthen, and perpetuate relationships" among alumni and the entire University community, to encourage volunteering and participation, and to support the University's goals and objectives. I'd say that our purpose relates most closely to Fairfield's focus on living and learning, which continues past the college years. The new Board structure - getting away from Class representation to a new diversity in membership including geography, demo-graphics, age, and gender - is in line with the University's focus on diversity.
What is the role of alumni in the new structure?
First, every alumnus of Fairfield University is a member of the Alumni Association. We need the involvement of all alumni to make the Association a dynamic organization that will engage alumni and create opportunities for active participation, both on and off campus. In order to do that, we will build an organizational structure to accommodate expanded chapters and committees, and create as many volunteer opportunities as there are areas of interest among our alumni.
Why are you taking a leadership role at this time?
George Lacovara '56, P'87 (former Alumni Association Board president) has a strong commitment to his alma mater. He recognized the need for changes in our bylaws and he worked hard to build consensus. The time was right for the organization to change to truly reflect our growing and changing alumni population. I am excited about the chance to play a major role in this transformation and to work on behalf of Fairfield University.
What do you hope to accomplish in your two years as president?
I plan on working with the Alumni Relations team at the University to build strong regional programming for Fairfield alumni. Together we want to engage more alumni in University-sponsored activities. In addition, we want to provide opportunities for alumni to connect with the institution and become involved in areas that are meaningful to them - such as admission interviewing, career networking, community service, and life-long learning.
What does your "presidential" schedule look like over the next several months?
Over the summer I made contact with Alumni Association presidents at peer institutions to talk about their best practices. This fall, we'll host a retreat for members of the Board's Executive Committee. Our first official board meeting will take place on campus in conjunction with Homecoming and Parents' Weekend on October 25-26. Throughout the year, I'll be on the road attending as many alumni events as possible, and working hard to recruit regional volunteers.
How can Fairfield alumni help you fulfill these goals?
We need the involvement of all alumni to make our Alumni Association vibrant and relevant. If you haven't already, please join the Online Community by going to www.fairfield.edu/alumnicommunity. This is the primary way that we will all be able to stay in touch, share news, and keep you up-to-date with what is going on at the University and in your community.
E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts about the types of programming you would like to see from your Alumni Association. Let us know if you would be interested in volunteering in your local community. We need your talents, expertise, and wisdom in order for the Association to be truly representative of all the graduates of Fairfield University.
The 2008 Alumni Association Board of Directors
Carla (Supersano) Sullivan '88, Shelton, CT President