Aquarion CEO honored at Sacred Heart’s Discovery Gala


President John J. Petillo, honoree Charles V. Firlotte and event co-chair and Sacred Heart trustee Bill Mitchell are shown here with scholarship students at the Discovery Gale. To view and download additional photos from the event, visit (Tracey Deer-Mirek photo)

Sacred Heart University hosted its 24th annual Discovery Awards and Scholarship Gala on April 6. The event took place on campus at the Linda E. McMahon Commons for the second consecutive year. The event raised more than $530,000 for Sacred Heart’s scholarship programs.

More than 350 guests dined and mingled amongst an atmosphere reminiscent of The Phantom of the Opera. Then they headed off to the university’s Edgerton Center for the Performing Arts for a performance by The Three Phantoms in Concert, tenors who have played the role of the phantom on Broadway.

The gala traditionally honors distinguished members of the community, while raising scholarship money for the university’s most deserving students. This year’s honoree was Charles V. Firlotte of Stratford, president and chief executive officer of Aquarion Water Co. since 2003.

Firlotte is a graduate of St. Thomas University in eastern Canada and began his career in his native Canada. He is now committed to giving back to Bridgeport and its surrounding communities. For five consecutive years, Aquarion surpassed all other utilities in the state in customer service, and most recently Hearst Newspapers identified Aquarion in the Top 10 Places to work in Connecticut.

Senior Esteban Rosales of Norwalk thanked gala attendees at the Edgerton Center on behalf of the 20 student scholars who were present at the gala. Rosales is the recipient of the William H. Pitt Scholarship and Discovery Grant Award, which together amounted to a full-tuition scholarship to Sacred Heart University.

“Your gift to us is the ability to dream bigger dreams and to see those dreams come to fruition,” Rosales said. “Thank you for old dreams fulfilled, new dreams created and dream jobs acquired. I thank you for the best four years of my life.”

“We are extremely grateful to everyone who came out in support of the gala,” said Megan Rock, vice president for University Advancement. “Their generosity will allow students to enjoy the benefits of a Sacred Heart education when they otherwise might not be able to afford college at all.”

Over the past two decades, Sacred Heart’s Discovery Gala has raised millions of dollars for student financial aid. Co-chairs for this year’s event were Linda E. McMahon and Bill Mitchell.

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