Prestigious d’Alzon Medal Awarded to Assumption College President
During evening prayer June 4, 2014, in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit, the Augustinians of the Assumptionists, the sponsoring order of Assumption College, conferred upon College President Francesco C. Cesareo, Ph.D. the Emmanuel d’Alzon Medal in recognition of his efforts to exemplify the vision and guiding principles of the Assumption founder and namesake of the honor.
“As College president, Dr. Cesareo has been guided by the principles of Assumption College’s mission that clearly reflects the educational priorities as established by Fr. d’Alzon,” said Fr. Peter R. Precourt, A.A., vice chair of the College’s Board of Trustees, in remarks delivered at the ceremony. “We are pleased to confer upon President Cesareo one of the Assumptionists’ highest honors for carrying on the intellectual vision of Fr. d’Alzon.”
In choosing a layperson, the Assumptionists have recognized Fr. d’Alzon’s preference to provide a strong role for the laity in the educational formation of the individual so that the very independence of these lay members will contribute in its way to advance the common cause, allowing them a freedom of action, control of their own time, and a freedom for studies, travels and research impossible to that extent for the religious.
“Under President Cesareo’s leadership, Assumption has thrived as an institution of higher learning with a foundation in the liberal arts that is guided by faith and reason,” Precourt said. “Regardless of a students’ faith, he has helped shape a community that is welcoming to all and helps students use their God-given talents in service to others.”
The Assumptionists of the North American Province award the d’Alzon Medal to an individual whose faith and energy give witness to the validity and priority of spiritual values in an increasingly secular world and who courageously beings to bear in their daily life the life-giving message of Christ. Individuals selected for this honor give generously of themselves where the needs are great and laborers are few.
“The vision and charism that Fr. d’Alzon has left us needs to be nurtured and cultivated at this particular moment in the history of higher education and in our culture,” said President Cesareo. “For d'Alzon, the penetration of the world with a Christian idea rests on acknowledging the centrality of Jesus in our work and daily lives as a means of bringing about the Kingdom of God.
“This has been a principle very much at the heart of my own vocation as a Catholic educator not only as an administrator, but previously as a faculty member,” he added.
Under President Cesareo’s leadership, Assumption has thrived as an institution of higher learning with a foundation in the liberal arts that is guided by faith and reason. Last year, the College opened a new campus in the heart of Rome, Italy. Assumption students volunteer more than 100,000 hours of community service each year, sharing their talents with those in the greatest of need. President Cesareo raised more than $4 million for the full funding of the Tinsley Campus Ministry Center, the spiritual and service epicenter of the campus. Implementing Assumption Assurance earlier this year, the guarantee of a quality education and true pricing, he positioned the College as a leader on the national challenge of college affordability.
The College’s U.S. News & World Report ranking advanced eight spots in the latest survey and The Princeton Review regularly identifies Assumption as one of the best colleges in the northeast. In recognition for this commitment to the mission of the College and success in raising its academic profile, the College’s Board of Trustees earlier this year unanimously extended President Cesareo’s contract for an additional five years.
President Cesareo also works in the community to advance the charitable principals of Fr. d’Alzon through his service on several boards, including the Sr. Thea Bowman Black Catholic Education Foundation, Adopt-a-Student Program in the Diocese of Worcester, and formerly on the St. Bernadette School Advisory Board. Last year, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, former president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, appointed President Cesareo to chair the National Review Board, which advises the bishops’ Secretariat for Child and Youth Protection.
The d’Alzon Medal, which was last awarded in 1995 to Francis Gurley, has honored prominent individuals such as Mother Helene Bories, R.A.; Richard Cardinal Cushing; Francis Dufault, M.D.; Mother Mary St. Elizabeth; Danny Thomas; Sr. Clare Teresa Tjader, R.A.; Johannes Cardinal Willebrands; and Bishop John J. Wright.