Tradition, good times converge at Reunion 2016
Well more than 800 attendees enjoyed perfect weather for the annual Reunion Weekend at Saint Michael’s College June 2-5, 2016.
Honored as Alumni of the Year at a Welcome Home Celebration lunch on Saturday in Alliot Dining Hall were Howie O’Hara ’71 P’00, ’04; Mark Nelson ’91; Drew Millikin ’01; and Amanda Dargie ’06. Winner of the Young Alumnus of the Year Award was Chris Hurley ’11. His Class of’11 broke the attendance record for a five-year class with more than 150 members of the class at reunion. Jerry Flanagan received a standing ovation for his 44 years of service to St. Mike’s at that event.
This year’s Reunion program included the first-ever Summer Research Open House, which allowed students to showcase their summer projects with visiting alumni and trustees (many of whom help to fund this work). One newly-minted Golden Knight, Dr. Ray Anton ’66, had an unexpected pleasure during a tour of lab work in Cheray Science Hall, when he had a chance meeting right in the lab with Jennifer Toner’17 of Long Valley N.J. — the recipient of a scholarship established by Dr. Anton. Both student and benefactor seemed deeply satisfied to make the connection.
Julia Wagner ’18 was well-received for her special presentation on Mrs. Peggy Citarella, widow of the late faculty legend Armand “Doc” Citarella — about how she was the first female welder at the Charlestown Navy Yard during World War II. Angela Armour, director of alumni and parent relations, called the presentation “phenomenal,” adding, “Mrs. C is still a hot ticket at 94!”
Attracting widespread attention, good-humored appreciation and great photo ops all weekend was a “party bus” featuring what seemed to be a ‘70s Jimmy Buffett theme, complete with boat and deck on top, driven up from Connecticut by John Parks ’76 and parked on the 300’s field. As in recent past years, the 300’s townhouses were rented by a diverse age group that partied into the wee hours, Armour said.
New book author Brenda Kelley Kim ’86, a newspaper columnist from Marblehead, MA, gave a Saturday-morning talk in Cheray Science Hall 101 that was well received by attendees. Her presentation about her new book Tales from the Deep End of Everywhere, a collection of her columns, was an interesting insight into the process of becoming a writer first, then a regular columnist and finally a self-published author. Beyond that, hers was a touching tale, told with authentic humility, about persevering through life challenges that have included cancer — in no small part with the special support of her Saint Michael’s community network and friends, to whom she expressed great gratitude.
Another new event for Reunion Weekend, initiated and organized by career military men Ed Moitoza ’66 and Ron Tenaglia ‘66, was a gathering in the Pomerleau Alumni Center on Saturday afternoon to honor alumni military veterans. All branches of the service were represented among the scores of attendees, including Marine veteran Edmundite Fr. Ray Doherty ’51, who gave an opening prayer. Ken O’Connell, the College’s new coordinator of veteran services spoke about recent initiatives and plans. Several references were heard during the event to the late Marine Col. Donald Cook ’56, posthumous Medal of Honor winner, and the nation’s current chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford ’77 (not present). Recent physics graduate and Marine veteran Matt Donohue’16, talked about how he ended up attending Saint Michael’s and his time working for the Student Veterans Association campus chapter.
Traditional favorite events through the weekend included a Friday Surf and Turf Dinner and Leadership Reception; a Sunday Strawberry Brunch followed by Mass in the Chapel; and numerous class-specific events on and off campus.