The Dominican University Athletic Hall of Fame welcomed five new members during an Induction Ceremony on Saturday, October 1, 2016. The five new members are; Sr. Kathleen Sullivan, O.P.; Chad Jeffries, ’99; John Fitzsimmons, ’01; Cara Piasecki, ’10; and Melissa Lazaro Bastone, ’02. The new inductees enjoyed a champagne toast in the Badami Room before heading to the Granito Center for the official ceremony where they received medals and plaques. Photos of the inductees will be hung alongside past honorees on the first floor of the Hennessy Center.
Sr. Kathleen Sullivan, O.P., Service – In her acceptance speech, Sr. Kathleen joked, “My father would never believe that I would be elected to a Hall of Fame in Athletics. Never.” Sr. Kathleen, who is a familiar face at basketball, baseball, and softball games, was honored for her service. Athletic Director Joseph Clinton said, “She is our guiding light for our athletic programs.“ He called her the “Energizer Bunny” and pointed out that although she is currently Chancellor of External Affairs, her past positions at Dominican College have included Assistant Professor Of French, Director of Admissions, Academic Dean, and President. Sr. Kathleen has also served on the Board of Trustees for Malloy College and the Board of Directors for the Rockland Business Association, Good Samaritan Hospital, and United Way. “I don’t know where she gets the stamina and energy, but it is amazing,” said Clinton.
Chad Jeffries, ’99, Baseball – Baseball Coach Rick Giannetti remembers Jeffries as a phenomenal, complete baseball player, who during his junior year had 191 at-bats, 87 hits, 78 runs scored, 84 RBIs, 18 doubles, 8 triples, 8 home runs, and 25 stolen bases. “I can honestly say that was probably the best individual season anyone has ever had,” said Giannetti. “I’ve never had a player with that power, speed, and baseball knowledge.” Jeffries led the team to the College World Series.
Jefferies stressed that everything in life happens for a reason. He said he originally planned to attend college in Texas, but when his scholarship fell through, he ended up attending Dominican University. ”I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world,” he said. “Dominican is my second home.”
John Fitzsimmons, ’01, Basketball – When he was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame, Fitzsimmons recalled his years as a student. “I had an amazing time at Dominican. It was four of the best years of my life. I love coming back here.” Coach Clinton described Fitzsimmons as a “true gentleman” and said he will go down in Dominican University history, “as one of the best – if not the best – shooters of all time.” Fitzsimmons accumulated many honors during his Dominican University career including 2001 CACC Player of the Year and Honorable Mention All-American. He accumulated 1299 career points and was 1st in all-time games played at 125.
Cara Piasecki, ’10, Softball – At the induction ceremony, Piasecki said she could take credit only for about 50 percent of her success as an athlete. “The other 50 percent was my family, my friends, my teammates, and my coaches who have supported me when I didn’t believe in myself.”
Piasecki is the all-time career leader in home runs (31) and base on balls (86). She is 3rd all-time in runs scored (149) and RBIs (137). She was the captain of the 2009 and 2010 softball teams. Those teams made the first NCAA regional appearances in school history for softball. The 2009 team was the CACC regular season champions, and the 2010 team captured the regular season and the Postseason CACC championships. Piasecki has been a part-time assistant coach at Dominican University since her playing days ended. Coach Joe Burbridge credited her with helping to create the winning culture that is still present today.
Melissa Lazaro Bastone, ’02, Volleyball – Bastone is the first volleyball player ever to be inducted into the Dominican University Athletic Hall of Fame. While the statistics are incomplete, she had more than 600 kills and 975 digs in just her last two years on the team. Vice President for Student Development and Dean of Students John Burke described Bastone as passionate, tremendously skilled, a great teammate, and a hard worker. He also pointed out that although she stands at only 5’3”, she is an amazing jumper who competed against much taller athletes. “She is the best overall complete volleyball player that Dominican has ever had,” said Burke.
Bastone said she has great memories of playing volleyball at Dominican University. “I just love competing and the comradery of the team, “she said.