Hundreds of Stags gathered outside Fairfield University’s brand new, state-of-the-art Leo D. Mahoney Arena for the official grand opening event at 10:00 a.m. on November 18. The event included free merchandise, a complimentary breakfast, a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a golden ticket challenge.

Fairfield University Student Association President, Jordan Gale ‘23, and Vice President Aliyah Seenauth ‘24 helped kickstart the ribbon-cutting ceremony, signaling students to gather by the front entrance. 

Just prior to leading the countdown, Gale challenged each student to find one of the 31 golden tickets hidden throughout the arena. The tickets could be cashed in for a range of prizes including hats, cups, keychains and even a pair of courtside tickets to one of this year’s basketball games. As soon as the countdown finished, students burst through the front entrance and scrambled onto the court. 

Inside, university officials surprised the community, handing out Fairfield basketball stress balls and Red Sea Madness cups. 

Tasty Yolk served complimentary breakfast sandwiches and the university provided coffee and hot cider for guests until noon. 

Remarks were shared by different university personnel and students at the start of the event, including Rev. Keith Maczkiewicz, S.J., Town of Fairfield First Selectwoman Brenda Kupchick, Gale and Seenauth, Vice President for Athletics Paul Schlickmann and University President Mark R. Nemec, PhD.

“Tonight, our Fairfield community will come together to root for our fellow Stags and our athletes who will once again hear the roar of a jam packed Students section,” said Gale. 

In anticipation of the women’s opening game at 7:00 p.m. against Stonehill, he continued, “We cannot wait to pack the Red Sea tonight and I hope to see you all there.”

The Fairfield Women’s basketball team did not disappoint against the Stonehill Skyhawks later that night. After leading 29-25 at the half, the Stags pulled away in the final two quarters for a 77-53 victory.

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