The 2014 Honorees


Alumni Professional Achievement Award

Joyce M. Phillips '74

Being part of Fairfield’s first class of women was a big reason Joyce Phillips ’74 chose to come to the University. “We were truly pioneers for many new initiatives and making a statement for women at Fairfield for the long-term,” she says. “For me, Fairfield was a place that I could step out of the box and, yet, fit in. It allowed me to grow and learn beyond the educational curriculum.”

Joyce earned her degree in English, and started on a long and successful career in human resources, with increasing responsibilities at Fortune 500 firms such as Canadian Imperial Bank, Marsh & McLennan, Citibank, GE, and others. She is now executive vice president and global head of human resources at Cushman & Wakefield, the largest private real estate services company in the world, with more than 16,000 employees in 60 countries.

“What I love about my work is the diversity, breadth, and scope of HR,” Joyce says. “Especially in people-driven businesses, HR is a critical success factor. It touches all employees.”

Joyce covers everything from employees’ day-to-day activities, to supporting global businesses, establishing global HR practices, and working with the Board of Directors. She is often on the road domestically and internationally to stay in tune with the company’s employees and their needs.

A trained tap and ballet dancer, Joyce co-founded Fairfield’s first cheerleading squad with classmates Sue Tomasulo Walker ’74 and the late Lisa Schwabe ’74. “We had the experience of our life when we went to Madison Square Garden with Fairfield’s basketball team for the NIT Championship against Virginia Tech, where we lost by one point!” she recalls.

Joyce met her husband Glenn at Fairfield, when he tutored her in economics. Glenn graduated from Fairfield in 1973 with a degree in finance, and a master’s in financial management in 1983—the first and only graduate of Fairfield’s newly-created graduate program. “You always wonder what would have happened had Fairfield not been in our lives to bring us together,” says Joyce. “We’ve been together now for almost 40 years.”

Glenn is very proud of Joyce’s accomplishments. “We’ve watched each other grow and develop… Joyce is not only an outstanding professional—she’s a great mom, wife, and my best friend. The whole of being together has certainly been much greater than the sum of us apart. She is the light of my life!”

Joyce earned her master’s degree in industrial relations from the University of New Haven. She and Glenn live in Greenwich, Conn. They have a daughter, Brittany, who has already started her career in human resources.


Alumni Service Award

Nancy A. Altobello '80

As vice chair of talent at Ernst & Young (EY), Nancy A. Altobello ’80 believes that the success she has achieved in her career is largely due to the quality of the people with whom she works.

At a company like EY, which currently hires 50,000 people worldwide and more than 12,000 in the U.S.—36 percent of whom are diverse—the careful development of talent and leadership planning is critical.

Nancy loves her work, and serves on the company’s Inclusiveness Advisory Committee. “I am especially inspired by our young professionals who bring fresh perspectives to the firm and often challenge the status quo,” she says. “I like to listen to what they’re learning and how they’re growing…what their dreams are, and how we can help them get there.” EY has been on Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list for 16 years straight.

Nancy is committed to mentoring young people both before and after they enter the workforce. Outside of EY, she serves as a board member and treasurer for the Business Council for International Understanding, and for MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership, an organization that supports youth mentoring through advocacy and resource development.

Fairfield continues to be a big part of Nancy’s life. She was a University trustee from 2002 to 2007, and is now serving a second term. She is a member of the Executive Committee, chairs the Finance Committee, and offers valued support on the Technology Committee. Along with other alumni, Nancy continues to host Fairfield’s successful Boston Briefcase Breakfast networking series, which she was instrumental in launching.

Over her years of involvement with Fairfield, Nancy has been impressed with how the University has grown and changed, while still retaining a beautiful campus and the “same caring feeling” she experienced as an undergraduate. “The University has been very smart about building up programs oriented toward career while still maintaining a strong liberal arts program,” she says. “There’s more focus on community, and more intentionality about all aspects of a Fairfield education.”

Nancy finds she appreciates her Jesuit education now more than ever. “I knew I wanted to be in accounting, and all I wanted to do was take business courses. All the foundational programs, such as philosophy and social sciences, were painful to me, but I find I go back and draw on what I learned in those programs all the time. My Fairfield education has been very important to help me be a better thinker.”

Nancy and her husband Joel live in Greenwich, Conn.


Distinguished Faculty / Administrator Award

Shelley A. Phelan, PhD
Professor of Biology

Biology is one of Dr. Shelley Phelan’s passions. Teaching is the other. “I did my first teaching as a graduate student at Harvard, and fell in love with it,” she says. “I knew I wanted to pursue a career that combined research and teaching.”

Shelley found the opportunity to do what she loved when she came to Fairfield in 1999. She is well known on campus for giving students an active partnership in her research, and many have become co-authors on national research presentations and published manuscripts.

“Our students are bright, motivated, curious, and amazingly capable of high caliber research projects,” she says.  “Engaging them in my lab continues to be one of the most rewarding aspects of my work.”  Shelley’s current research is focused on antioxidant genes, which protect normal cells from damage and death, and how they are manipulated in breast cancer to allow cancer cells to grow and even resist chemotherapy treatment.

During her time at Fairfield, she has published 15 peer-reviewed research articles and given numerous presentations at conferences. She has been awarded over a million dollars in grants from organizations such as the National Cancer Institute, the National Institutes of Health, Research Corporation, Merck, Pfizer, and others.

Shelley was promoted to full professor in 2010, and held the prestigious Elizabeth DeCamp McInerny Chair in Health Sciences at Fairfield from 2007 to 2013.  Shelley was also a key player in the development and launch of Fairfield’s WiSTEM (Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) first-year student learning community, and she founded the successful summer BASE (Broadening Access for Science Education) Camp, a faculty-mentored research immersion program for inner city high school girls.

“I’m so proud of both of these programs,” she says. “We hope to inspire young women with a love of science and confidence to pursue it in and after college.”

“Shelley Phelan is a model of colleagueship, a wise, wonderful, kind and engaged teaching scholar,” notes Rev. Paul Fitzgerald, S.J., senior vice president for academic affairs. “She has accomplished so much at Fairfield. We are all so fortunate to count her among our fine faculty.”

Shelley received her undergraduate degree in biology, magna cum laude, from Wellesley College, her doctorate in cell and developmental biology from Harvard University, and conducted post-doctoral work at the prestigious Jackson Laboratories in Bar Harbor, Maine. She lives in Sandy Hook, Conn., and has two children. “Both of them love math and science,” she says. “I’m thrilled!”


Keynote Speaker

ar_awards_changJuju Chang
Correspondent, ABC News

Juju Chang is an Emmy Award-winning special correspondent and fill-in anchor for ABC News’ Nightline. She also reports regularly for Good Morning America and 20/20.

Over the span of her career, Juju has covered breaking news, such as the devastating effects of Superstorm Sandy and the mass shootings in Newtown, Conn. She has also done investigative reporting on global events and issues such as the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and maternal and infant mortality in Mozambique. Her Nightline segments have covered a wide range of topics—from parenting and lifestyle issues, anti-gay bullying, and juvenile justice—to celebrity profiles, including Rod Stewart, Celine Dion, and Carrie Underwood.

Juju received one of her two Emmys for team coverage of California wildfires, and a Gracie award (one of two) for a 20/20 story on gender equality in the sciences. Other of her hour-long 20/20 reports include an in-depth look at the impact on foreign adoptions gone wrong; the struggles of people with Albinism globally, including the plight of Tanzanian albinos; and an intimate portrait of one family dealing with gender transition.

A former news anchor for Good Morning America, Juju had previously anchored the early morning newscasts World News Now and World News This Morning in 2000. She began her career at ABC News as a desk assistant and eventually became a producer at World News Tonight. She rose to become a correspondent, covering such stories as the U.S. Embassy bombings in Kenya, Hurricane Georges, and the anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear accident.

From 1996-97, Juju was based in Washington, D.C., where she covered the White House, Capitol Hill, and the 1996 Presidential election for NewsOne, ABC’s affiliate service. Prior to her assignment in Washington, she was a reporter for KGO-TV in San Francisco, from 1995-96.

Born in Seoul, South Korea, and raised in California, Juju graduated with honors from Stanford University with a B.A. in political science and communication. At Stanford, she was awarded the Edwin Cotrell Political Science Prize.

Juju is married to Neal Shapiro and has three sons. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a founding board member of the Korean American Community Foundation.

Past Keynote Speakers

2013 Cynthia R. Bigelow
2012 George Tenet
2011 Ed Cooley
2010 Carmen Ulrich Wong '93
2009 Earl "Butch" Graves, Jr.
2008 Geoffrey Canada
2007 Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe
2006 Jesse L. Martin
2005 Benjamin S. Carson, M.D.
2004 Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León
2003 E. Stanley O'Neal
2002 Andrea Jung
2001 Ann Curry
2000 Danny Glover
1999 Bill Cosby
1998 Richard D. Parsons
1997 Isiah L. Thomas
1996 Ann M. Fudge
1995 Al Roker
1994 Harry Belafonte
1993 Jessye Norman
1992 Tom Seaver
1991 Francis T. "Fay" Vincent, Jr.
1990 President Gerald R. Ford
1989 Peter Jennings