Pequot Library names new Board of Trustees, Volunteers of the Year

Pequot Library welcomed four new Board of Trustees members at its Annual Meeting on Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017. Fr. Gerry Blaszczak S.J., Thomas Lawlor, Nelson North, and Christopher Wright were voted onto the board. President of the Board of Trustees, Alison Barry says, “I am pleased to welcome our four new members to the Board of the Pequot Library Association. Each in their own way has a legacy of prior commitment to Fairfield and to Pequot Library. We are honored to include their experience and dedication to Pequot Library as we continue to grow in serving the community, the town, and the surrounding areas.”

Fr. Blaszczak is co-director of the Spiritual Direction Training Program sponsored by the Center for Ignatian Spirituality at Fairfield University. He holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University in New Testament with a secondary specialization in Islamic Studies, has been on the faculty of Le Moyne College, Fordham University, and Hekima College in Nairobi, Kenya. He was novice director for the Maryland and New York provinces of the Jesuits, superior of the Fordham Jesuit community, parochial vicar at St. Raphael Catholic Church in Raleigh, N.C., pastor of the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola in Manhattan, and secretary for the service of faith at the Jesuit general headquarters in Rome.

Lawlor moved to Fairfield in 1992 after he and his future wife were charmed by the annual Summer Book Sale. They began volunteering in 1993, starting as book sale volunteers, and then he started setting up audio visual equipment in the auditorium for events. Lawlor is the general manager of M Communications in Stamford. He attended Sacramento State University, majoring in journalism. His career has included playing numerous bad guys in karate B movies and writing for publications ranging from Backwoodsman Magazine to the Fairfield Citizen. Lawlor was director of the Fairfield YMCA Adventure Guides program from 2004-2010 and a former Little League coach. He and his wife Laura live in Southport and have two daughters, Caroline and Julia, both of whom share their love of reading, which began at Pequot Library.  

North was raised in Connecticut and graduated from Suffield Academy and the University of Maryland with a BS in Business and Public Administration. In 2007, after a career in both domestic and international sales management, he joined the Connecticut Audubon Society, from which he retired in 2017 as executive director. During his tenure, the deficit was reduced by 50% and grant-supported, science-based education programs were delivered to over 30,000 inner-city children. A committed volunteer, North has chaired fundraising campaigns for the Ruffed Grouse Society, Ducks Unlimited, and the Coastal Conservation Association. North and his wife, Peg (who is also active in the community), have lived in Southport since 1976.

Wright joined Goldman Sachs in 2001 after receiving his MBA from Columbia University. His team oversees $4.5 billion of client assets for individuals, families, and foundations. He previously worked for NBC’s Olympics and the National Hockey League. Wright earned a BA from Colgate University, majoring in history. He was a four-year letterman in lacrosse. He and his wife, Sandi, have three daughters and live in New York City and Southport.

Pequot Library also announced the recipients of its volunteer awards at the Annual Meeting. Doug Fried received the Hoyt O. Perry Jr. Lifetime Service Award, Madge Canning won the Volunteer of the Year Award, and Doug VanEsselstyn collected the Crane-Wood Book Sale Award. “Volunteers are the heart of Pequot Library’s success, and it is an honor to recognize the hard work and dedication of these amazing volunteers,” remarked Stephanie J. Coakley, Executive Director.

Nelson North, Thomas Lawlor, Fr. Gerry Blaszczak S.J. (not pictured Christopher Wright)

Nelson North, Thomas Lawlor, Fr. Gerry Blaszczak S.J. (not pictured Christopher Wright)

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