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Sacred Heart University Announces the Jack Chaves Scholarship

Portuguese Emigrant Remembered for his Pursuit of the American Dream and Love of Service

Alumna Alice Ferreira ’91 and her father, Jack Chaves, in 1993.

The Chaves-Ferreira family is honoring its patriarch, Jack Chaves, with a new scholarship at Sacred Heart University.

Chaves’ only daughter, Alice Ferreira ’91, of Trumbull, said she wanted  to continue her father’s legacy of “paying it forward” by recognizing young adults who understand the value of work, taking responsibility, giving back and helping others.

After Chaves passed away in 2006, his family looked for the right place to host the scholarship. “When my oldest son became interested in attending Sacred Heart, I knew immediately that we had come full circle and the choice was made,” Ferreira said.

“My father was the epitome of the American dream realized,” said Ferreira. “He came to America on a big ship with his sister Alice and $300 in his pocket to begin a life and start a family. A formal education was out of the question for one of eight children living in a rural village in Portugal, so hard work, a strong moral compass and a passion to support his fellow man constituted the foundation of his success. To keep his story alive and to inspire others to act selflessly, we are thrilled to offer this financial scholarship to Sacred Heart University students.”

Scholarship eligibility requires applicants to submit a one-page essay reflecting on how community service engagement and/or internships demonstrate a personal commitment to social and cultural innovative approaches aimed at helping the underprivileged lead more productive and successful lives. In addition, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Must be a full-time undergraduate student
  • Must exemplify the University’s core values and mission through a commitment to helping others through volunteer service and/or active participation in campus activities (preference will be given to students participating in community service and extra-curricular activities with non-profit organizations whose missions focus on serving the underprivileged)
  • Must demonstrate a commitment to continued academic excellence by maintaining an overall cumulative GPA of at least 2.5
  • Must demonstrate financial need

Candidates with a verifiable home in Bridgeport shall receive first consideration. Secondary consideration will be given to students with a Fairfield County home. Connecticut residential status is acceptable should no other students meet these geographic preferences.

“My dad ensured family and friends immigrated to America to have a better life—not an easy life, but a shot to work hard and reap the benefits of everything this great country stands for,” said Ferreira. “With this scholarship, my family will do our part to ensure a young adult attending Sacred Heart University has the same opportunity to fulfill his or her dreams.”

Anyone interested in making a tax-deductible gift to the Jack Chaves Scholarship can visit or contact Todd Gibbs in the Office for University Advancement at 203-365-4526 or The University’s goal is to double the current fund before fall.

Eligible students interested in applying for the scholarship can call the Office of Student Financial Assistance at 203-371-7980 for more information.