FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Members of Fairfield University's first graduating class, the class of 1951, returned to campus in honor of the school's 75th anniversary to help this year's class celebrate commencement on Sunday.
The nine men representing the class of '51 donned their robes and sashes to watch as the class of 2017 received their degrees.
Among those members of the first class present were Raymond Longden, JD, a member of the class of 1951, recognized by the Guinness World Book of Records as having “Refereed more football games than any other referee in America,” for officiating well over 2,000 games spanning all levels of the sport, including professional, college, prep school, high school and Pop Warner.
“Now you have the tools to achieve your goals, it’s up to you to use those tools and develop vital drive," Longden said. "You have to have vital drive to succeed in today’s world, so whatever your mission is, whatever you’re called for, develop the drive to do it. Persevere, persevere, persevere.”
Fairfield’s Interim President, Lynn Babington, PhD, RN, presided over the day’s events.
“Seventy-five years ago it was intended as a University for men...now, most of our students are women, and indeed, you have before you the first woman — and the first lay-person — to have ever served in the office of the President," Babington said in her address. "It’s an exciting world, an evolving society that is creating whole new vistas of opportunity,” she continued, “and Fairfield graduates — now as ever — will find their place in it.”