FITCHBURG — Rotary Club of Fitchburg President Mary Heafy announced this week that Dr. Robert V. Antonucci, president of Fitchburg State University, will be honored by the Rotary Club on March 17 when he will be presented with Rotary International’s “Service Above Self” award.
Also known as a Paul Harris Fellow recognition award, it is named after the founder of Rotary Clubs.
Dr. Robert V. Antonucci has been president of Fitchburg State University since June of 2003. A 35-year veteran of education, President Antonucci served as the Commonwealth’s commissioner of education from 1992 to 1998. He played a key role in the passage and enactment of the state’s historic Education Reform Act of 1993, a landmark law now seen as a national model.
His record of success at Fitchburg State includes the drafting of a new strategic plan, structural reorganization, launching of the most successful capital campaign in the institution’s history, and completion of a host of capital projects.
He also embarked on an ambitious series of technology initiatives, including establishment of a “wireless” campus, a total upgrade of the computer laboratories, and the creation of dozens of new classrooms that allow faculty access to the latest technologies.
From the earliest days of his presidency, he placed new science facilities at the top of the university’s needs list, and worked with agencies and individuals throughout the state to advance that goal. Success was realized when a state bond bill included construction of a new science center on the university’s main quadrangle and complete renovation of the aging former facilities. Construction was completed in the summer of 2013.
Rotary Clubs are authorized to recognize non-Rotarians who are significant contributors to their communities and society. Each year the Rotary Club of Fitchburg honors an individual who has made significant contributions to the local community. Dr. Antonucci, through his extensive and creative efforts to improve education statewide and his involvement with the local community, exemplifies the motto of Rotary, “Service above Self.”
The March 17 event will take place at Great Wolf Lodge, Fitchburg, at the club’s annual “Paul Harris Night” dinner. Several Paul Harris Fellow awards will be presented to members of the Rotary Club, recognizing their contributions of $1,000 each to the Rotary Foundation. Four or five members are recognized annually.
Also participating in the event will be The Rotary Club of the Montachusett Area, represented by John Sbrogna, president of the Leominster-based club, whose officers and members will join Fitchburg Rotarians in honoring one member from each club as Major Donors to the Rotary Foundation.
The Rotary Foundation is the international educational and charitable arm of Rotary International, headquartered in Evanston, Illinois. Millions of dollars are spent annually to sponsor international studies in conflict resolution, scholarships, group study exchanges, relieving hunger, providing equipment and technology to secure fresh water in undeveloped countries, and currently, a major effort to eliminate the scourge of polio from all countries at a total cost exceeding $900,000,000.