Reunion: memories, fun and paying it forward
Nearly a thousand Saint Michael’s College alumni and other guests returned to campus for Reunion 2018, which featured a wide assortment of events from Thursday, May 31 through Sunday, June 1.
The Class of 1968 broke records for attendance with 60 members of the class returning for their 50th, said Angela Armour, director of alumni and parent relations. During the Leadership Reception held in the Durick Library over the weekend, Board of Trustees Chair Mary-Kate McKenna ’80 P’15 announced that $1 million was raised for the Jack Neuhauser Fund for Innovation and Research.
Well-known author, activist and Cambodian genocide survivor Loung Ung ’93, celebrating her 25th Reunion, returned to campus for a Q&A conversation in the Farrell Room on Saturday morning (see full story at link above). In the audience was Marty Lucenti ’68 and his wife, Candy, who helped sponsor Loung’s family as refugees and bring them to Essex Junction, Vermont in 1980. To mark the occasion, The Col. Donald Cook, USMC ’56 Distinguished Citizen Award was given out for the first time in six years Loung Ung for her unselfish service to others as she has worked to ban landmines in her native Cambodia. Loung recently worked with well-known actress and director Angelina Jolie on a movie based on Ung’s book First They Killed My Father, a 2017 Netflix release that is about her early life and struggles.
Golden Knights from the Class of 1968 arrived Thursday for an afternoon Mass together in the Chapel before a cocktail reception and Golden Knights Dinner in Dion Family Student Center to get the long, event-packed weekend under way (photo at bottom).
Honored as Alumni of the Year at a Welcome Home Celebration lunch on Saturday in Alliot Dining Hall, as is traditional, were Alumni of the Year Frank Russo ’68, Phil Ciulla ’73, Rick Boyle ’78, Tim Ford ’83, Deb Gavron-Ravenelle ’88, and Jay London ‘03 — all honored for their longstanding volunteerism with their alma mater. Young Alumnus of the Year, Matt Connolly ’13, already has an impressive list of volunteer accomplishments for someone just out five years, said Armour, who served as master of ceremonies.
On Friday afternoon, a large gathering of Edmundites, trustees, administration members, students and some alumni gathered in the walkway between Dion Family Student Center and what had been simply called Quad Commons Residence Hall in the several years since its construction. The Hall was rededicated during the brief ceremony as Fr. Theophile Aubin Hall to honor a key Edmundite founder of the College from France who was responsible for buying the land that became the Saint Michael’s campus. (photo above right). Edmundite Superior General Very Rev. Stephen Hornat, SSE ’72 made remarks, telling some of that interesting history, in this 175th anniversary year of the Edmundites’ founding. He and several Edmundites present for the ceremony had returned only the week before from a trip to France led by Edmundite Fr. Marcel Rainville, SSE ’67. A plaque and the new building name are now affixed to the wall of Aubin Hall, and Fr. Hornat blessed the building with Holy Water.
Some of this year’s other Reunion program highlights, Armour said, included:
- The first ever Fr. Mike Cronogue Award for Service being awarded to Brian Donahue ’88 P’19, MOVE’s first director.
- The Makerspace put on two “Intro to Laser Cutting” classes for alumni.
- Over 50 alumni and guests attended “Lunch on the Lake” on board the Spirit of Ethan Allen.
- Kevin Jeter ’19 of Minnesota spoke on his student experience and thanked donors at the Leadership Reception.
- Alliot was packed on Friday for Surf and Turf with regional singer/songwriter Ryan Sweezey performing numerous covers and original music.
- A beautiful and moving tribute to Saint Michael’s College fallen alumni heroes at the Military Appreciation Reception in Pomerleau Alumni Center was hosted by retired Army Sargent John Brodeur ’68. (photo at right). More than 50 alumni veterans celebrating their reunion came to honor the College’s deceased military graduates.
- The sun came out just in time for the BBQ and numerous class events that were held outside in downtown Burlington on Saturday evening as many were able to enjoy the Discover Jazz Festival that also started over the weekend, with many free live acts to enjoy on Church Street stages, and different class parties going on at establishments up and down the street.
- Several alumni had a chance to “Share Your SMC Story” via Podcast Recordings. Several took part in campus tours. New Golden Knight Royal Hartigan ’68 offered an African music and dance workshop and, later Saturday, a jazz concert with friends in McCarthy Recital Hall. Kids of returning alumni enjoyed a Saturday scavenger hunt.
Many alumni stayed for a Strawberry Brunch and Sunday Mass at 11 a.m. in the Chapel of Saint Michael the Archangel before heading home.