Sacred Heart University alumni have demonstrated a commitment to excellence in their daily lives. They use their knowledge, professional skills, creative talents and humanistic strengths to make a difference in their communities and they make a positive impact on many individual lives, as well as their alma mater. Many are deserving of these awards. Awards are distributed at the annual Alumni Awards Ceremony during Homecoming each year.
Alumni Achievement Award
Mr. Kevin Nealon '75
Kevin Nealon sets himself apart from other comedic performers with his unique sense of humor, dry wit and likeable demeanor. Nealon is best known for his nine-year stint as a cast member of NBC’s Saturday Night Live, and has received critical acclaim for his role in the Showtime series, Weeds.
As one of the longest running cast members on NBC’s Saturday Night Live (1986-1995), Nealon created some of the show’s most memorable characters, including ‘The Subliminal Man’ and ‘Hans and Franz.’ Nealon’s reoccurring role as an anchor on ‘Weekend Update’ made the sketch a show staple. In 1988 Kevin earned an Emmy Award nomination as part of the SNL writing team.
Nealon has found great comedic success in his extensive film career. In Anger Management, he played opposite Jack Nicholson and fellow Saturday Night Live comedian, Adam Sandler. He and Sandler also teamed up in Eight Crazy Nights, The Wedding Singer, Happy Gilmore and You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, the latter of which grossed over $200 million worldwide. In Joe Dirt, Nealon joined another Saturday Night Live alumnus David Spade. Kevin’s other film credits include Daddy Day Care with Eddie Murphy, Good Boy with Molly Shannon, Roxanne with Steve Martin and the cult hit Grandma’s Boy with Jonah Hill and Nick Swardson.
A sought-after guest star on television, Kevin has made a number of appearances on Hot In Cleveland. Franklin & Bash, Monk, Fat Actress, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Still Standing. In 2008, Nealon released his first book, Yes, You’re Pregnant, But What About Me? - a comical look at the male perspective of pregnancy. Currently, Kevin resides in Los Angeles with his wife and son.
Mr. John R. Quinn '70
John R. Quinn, president and CEO of VNA Health Systems Inc., graduated from Sacred Heart University in 1970 with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Mr. Quinn oversees the Visiting Nurse Association of South Central Connecticut, Inc. and CareSource, Inc. with a combined workforce of 200 professional and support staff. Prior to his work with VNA Heath Systems Inc., Mr. Quinn was the president and CEO of Easter Seals Connecticut and Easter Seals Rhode Island for twenty-six years.
Mr. Quinn has thirty-six years of chief executive officer experience in non-profit organizations and eight years of various leadership roles as an elected member of the Connecticut House of Representatives. Mr. Quinn was the first full-time executive director of Fairfield Community Services and he represented Fairfield for four terms in the CT House of Representatives, serving as the Assistant Majority Leader.
Mr. Quinn works in support of the best care practices for patients. He is an advocate for home health care supportive legislation and funding in the Connecticut General Assembly and at the federal level in Congress.
Alumni Association Faculty/Staff Award
Dr. Susan DeNisco DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, CNE, CNL
Susan DeNisco, DNP, AFRN, FNP-BC, CNE, CNL, is the chair of the Sacred Heart University School of Nursing. In addition, Dr. DeNisco is an associate professor and the executive director of the College of Health Professions Center for Community Health and Wellness.
Dr. DeNisco received a bachelor’s degree in nursing at Western Connecticut State University, a master’s degree in Family Primary Care Nursing at Pace University, and a doctorate in Clinical Leadership at Case Western Reserve University. Her research interests include emotional intelligence, depression and anxiety disorders, and medication adherence in the elderly.
Dr. DeNisco has received numerous awards, honors, and grants for her research in the nursing field. In 2010, she received the Diamond Jubilee Award for Excellence in Nursing Education from the Connecticut Nurses Foundation. In 2012, Dr. DeNisco was nominated for the Excellence in Teaching Award from the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Facilities and currently, she sits on the Board of Directors for the Mercy Learning Center. Dr. DeNisco has been published in medical journals, given presentations at numerous conferences, and most recently, she has published Advanced Practice Nursing: Evolving Roles for the Transformation of the Profession.
Dr. DeNisco is clinically affiliated with St. Vincent’s Medical Center and the Southwest Community Health Center. She has taught at Sacred Heart University for fifteen years. Throughout her career, Dr. DeNisco's dedication to the School of Nursing has inspired and motivated alumni to excel in their field.
Academic College Alumni Leadership Award Honorees
Isabelle Farrington College of Education
Mr. Craig Baker '98, '05 MAT
Craig Baker is the chief educational officer of Domus. He oversees the organization’s educational programs, which include two middle schools and a high school for struggling students, as well as overseeing the summer enrichment program operated inside a juvenile detention center. Craig has played a large role in Domus' work with informing and training school districts on trauma in the classroom. Prior to that, he was the director of Trailblazers Academy for three years. Craig came to the school the year of its founding in 1999 as a social studies teacher, becoming the school’s co-director in 2002 and its director in 2004.
Prior to joining Domus, he was a teaching intern at The Bridge Academy, a Bridgeport charter school. Craig received both his Masters of Arts in Teaching and BA in history from Sacred Heart University
College of Arts and Sciences
The Honorable Michael A. Pavia '70
Michael Pavia was elected as the City of Stamford’s 30th Mayor on November 4, 2009, and was sworn into office on December 1, 2009.
Mayor Pavia’s career in public service began as an Environmental Health Sanitarian with the Stamford Health Department, followed by his appointment as Executive Director of the City’s Environmental Protection Board in 1976.
Thereafter, Mayor Pavia founded his business, Pavia Development LLC, a Stamford-based residential and commercial real estate management and construction business. He returned to the City of Stamford as Police Commissioner for eight years, and then went on to serve as Public Works Commissioner.
As Mayor of Stamford, Pavia faced difficult budget and spending decisions when he assumed office. He instituted strong fiscal controls and policies that have brought categorical results, including the lowest four-year average aggregate tax increase (2.66 percent) in the history of the City and the first-ever defined pension plan.
Despite the harsh economic conditions, Mayor Pavia led unparalleled economic growth on the East Coast of the United States. This growth was manifested in commercial, residential and not-for-profit development throughout all of Stamford. While most parts of the United States saw near-collapse of their residential markets, Stamford saw uninterrupted residential construction, eventually resulting in over 3,000 new housing units. The Mayor also fostered a business-friendly environment that led to the creation and facilitation of more than 7,000 jobs during his tenure.
The FBI reports that the City of Stamford is now the safest city in New England, and has improved from 14th to 11th in the National ranking in just three years. Specialty programs instituted by Mayor Pavia such as the Neighborhood Impact Unit (NIU), the Code Red high-speed emergency notification system, a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), and the and Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector Ordinance have all contributed to the City’s recent public safety achievements.
Taking advantage of the lowest borrowing rate in the City’s history, Mayor Pavia has made significant contributions to the City’s education infrastructure. From elementary schools to colleges, the Mayor improved Stamford’s educational facilities, while the Springdale and Hart elementary schools have been named among the state’s Schools of Distinction.
In addition to his business and governmental achievements, Mayor Pavia, dedicated to improving the overall quality of life for Stamford residents, initiated a number of programs during his tenure that have had a tremendous impact on the community.
The Civility in America Speaker Series, created to promote cooperation, understanding and civility in our society, has welcomed distinguished speakers such as Sen. Olympia Snowe on Civility in Politics, Governor Rick Perry on Civility in Political Campaigns, William Bratton on Civility in Law Enforcement, Joel Klein on Civility in Education, and Tom Donohue from the US Chamber of Commerce on Civility in Business.
In 2010, a challenging economic climate affected businesses, households, and especially the younger population who seek summer jobs to save for a future education, or gain experience in a particular field of expertise. Consequently, Mayor Pavia partnered with local businesses to create the Mayor’s Youth Summer Employment Program to generate opportunities for high school students by providing employment, job skills development, mentoring, and assistance in career planning. The MYEP has benefited nearly 160 students since its inception, and has seen a three-fold growth in business participation from the corporate, private, and non-profit sectors placing the program on track to be a national best-practice model.
Mayor Pavia holds a Masters Degree in Urban Planning from the New York University School of Public Administration. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Sacred Heart University.
A father of two daughters, Mayor Pavia also enjoys two young grandchildren, the fifth generation of his family to live in Stamford.
College of Health Professions
Mr. Keith A. Hovan '84, '93 MSN
Keith A. Hovan is President and Chief Executive Officer of Southcoast Health System, Inc. and Southcoast Hospitals Group, Inc., a subsidiary of Southcoast Health System. The hospitals group is comprised of Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River, MA, St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford, MA and Tobey Hospital in Wareham, MA.
Keith was appointed President and CEO of Southcoast Hospitals Group, Inc. in July 2008 and in July 2011 as President and CEO of Southcoast Health System, Inc. Previously, Keith served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Danbury Health Systems since December 2001. Prior to Danbury Health Systems, Keith was employed at Montefiore Medical Center of New York, where he served as Vice President of Clinical Services for Henry and Lucy Moses and Einstein-Weiler Hospitals. Other assignments at Montefiore included serving as Associate Hospital Director and Administrator for Surgical and Emergency Services. Previously, he served as Director of Nursing for Surgical and Emergency Services, Nurse Manager of Emergency Services, Outpatient Orthopedics Manager, and staff nurse at Bridgeport Hospital. He holds a Master of Science degree in Nursing from Sacred Heart University (graduating with an Award for Academic Excellence), and is a member of several professional associations.
Keith has been awarded numerous honors over his career, including the Margaret Cinchack Award for Excellence in Clinical Nursing, Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honor Society, and the 1990 Emergency Nurses Association Nurse Manager of the Year Award.
John F. Welch College of Business
Ms. Rosanne Badowski '79
Rosanne Badowski is a graduate of Sacred Heart University. She received an associates degree in Secretarial Science and a bachelors degree in Business Administration.
Ms. Badowski has spent most of her business career with the General Electric Company, serving in a variety of positions in Human Resources and Executive Management. For 15 years, she was the Executive Assistant to Jack Welch, the Chairman and CEO of the company. After his retirement from GE in 2001, she continued to assist him as the administrative manager of his various activities in private equity consulting, public speaking, television commentary, book publishing, managing the Welch charitable Foundation, and the development of the Jack Welch Management Institute.
Rosanne has been a member of the Sacred Heart University Board of Trustees since 2004. In 2005, her book, Managing Up: How to Forge an Effective Relationship with Those Above You, was published and she also speaks on the topic of effective business administration.
Ms. Sylvia M. Barchue RN, MS '05
Sylvia Barchue is a Patient Care Center Director at the James J. Peters Veteran Administration Medical Center in Bronx, NY. She joined the department in 1982 as a staff nurse, and in 1985 was promoted to the role of Clinical Nurse Manager before becoming the Patient Care Center Director in 2005.
In her current position she supervises a staff of 250, which includes doctors, nurses, social workers, and other administrative staff. She oversees the day-to-day management of the Emergency Department, a 20 bed combined Intensive Care Unit, Pulmonary Function Test Laboratory, and three in-patients medical- surgical units. Ms. Barchue received her nursing degree in London, a bachelor’s degree in Leadership from Sacred Heart University, and a master’s degree in Organization and Management with a Specialization in Leadership from Capella University in Minneapolis. She holds a certificate in Nursing Management from Fairfield University and is a graduate of the Northeast Healthcare Leadership Institute. Ms. Barchue holds the distinction of a Veterans Health Administration Fellow Mentor.
Ms. Barchue’s published book, My Sister, My Friend, My Miracle, was written about her sister’s battle after a brain hemorrhage and paralysis. In addition to this publication, her recent article “Should Children Visit Patients in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU)?” was published in The American Journal of Maternal/ Child Nursing in the January/February 2012 edition. Ms. Barchue has co-authored on two publications, has been a contributing author on many nurse journals, and is currently editing another book. She is known and respected for her leadership and consistent pursuit of quality care for veterans.
Ms. Barchue was born in St. Vincent, West Indies and immigrated to London, England where she completed her nursing training. She is the eldest of seven children and is the proud mother of one son, Josyl.