Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

Thursday, June 21, 2018

BLOOMFIELD – Anthony J. Cernera, president of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, will speak at the annual Columbus Day Breakfast, to begin at 7:30 a.m. Oct. 8 at Anthony’s Ocean View, 450 Lighthouse Road, New Haven.

The event is hosted by Archbishop Henry J. Mansell in conjunction with the archdiocesan Foundation for the Advancement of Catholic Schools (FACS).

Christopher M. O’Connor, president and CEO of the St. Raphael Healthcare System and Hospital of St. Raphael in New Haven, will be the master of ceremonies.

The breakfast is a fund-raiser to support the ongoing efforts of the Foundation for the Advancement of Catholic Schools. Proceeds will provide scholarship assistance for students attending Catholic elementary schools in Greater New Haven.

Information about tickets, sponsorship opportunities and other subjects is available from Shirley Ziolkowski, FACS coordinator, at (860) 761-7499 or

Dr. Cernera earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from Fordham University. He was elected president of Sacred Heart University in 1988 at age 38, making him one of the youngest college presidents in America. In 2006, he was elected as the second lay president ever of the International Federation of Catholic Universities, an organization made up of some 200 Catholic universities throughout the world. He also was just the second-ever American.

Dr. Cernera co-founded the university’s Center for Christian-Jewish Understanding. Under his leadership, the university’s Master of Business Administration program in Luxembourg, with graduates from 30 countries, and its satellite in County Kerry, Ireland, were established.

During his tenure as president, undergraduate enrollment has more than doubled and the university maintains a 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio.

Mr. O’Connor, the emcee, received his bachelor’s degree in economics and master’s degree in health service administration from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Mr. O’Connor took his position at St. Raphael’s on Oct. 1, 2009. He previously was president of Caritas St. Elizabeth Medical Center, the 340-bed flagship of the six-hospital system affiliated with the Archdiocese of Boston and Tufts School of Medicine.

Prior to his work in Massachusetts, Mr. O’Connor served as vice president of clinical operations for the Ochsner Health System in New Orleans. He was the senior leader responsible for Ochsner’s response and operations during and after Hurricane Katrina; it was one of just three hospitals that remained functional.

FACS is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Donations are tax-deductible.

Information about FACS is available from Cynthia Basil Howard, director of development, at (860) 761-7498 or or online at