One of the best Reunion Weekends
Big crowd enjoys one of the best Reunion Weekends ever
Hundreds of Saint Michael’s College alumni “came home” and visibly enjoyed a wide range of activities on and off campus between Thursday and Sunday, May 30 to June 2 for 2019 Reunion Weekend. “We have received a lot of nice feedback from a lot of people – more than any other year since I’ve been involved,” said, Angela Armour, director of alumni and parent relations.
She made particular mention of this year’s “Golden Knights” (50 years out) from The Class of ’69, whom she described as “a fun and energetic bunch.” About 50 from the class were present Thursday night for their Golden Knight induction that followed the traditional late-afternoon Mass in the chapel, Class Photo on the Chapel steps, and cocktail hour. The class also raised over $420,000 for their class gift with more gifts coming in. At their dinner, many of the Golden Knights stood in front of the room to talk about how much Saint Michael’s and their classmates meant to them. Armour also made special mention of Saturday’s “Trucks, Taps, and Tunes” event starting early Saturday afternoon in the 300s field, which she said “went really well with four local food trucks and Red Clover Events serving the alcohol. It was a fun atmosphere with more lawn games than in previous years and the weather was ideal.”
The Purple and Gold Celebration late Saturday morning in Alliot Hall’s Green Mountain Dining Room honored this year’s several Alumni of the Year — Tom Kelley ’69, Melanie Demarais ’79, Rick Coté ’89, Stephen Giulietti ’99, and Ed DiFiglia ’04 — for all of their service and support to their alma mater. “They all had wonderful things to say about their time at St. Mike’s and their connections to the institution and their classmates since,” Armour said The Fr. Mike Cronogue Award for Service went to Jim Wall ’74 H’07 for his outstanding community service in his community of East Otis, Massachusetts.
His words resonated meaningfully for several alumni who reflected on the spiritual importance of returning to Saint Michael’s for many alumni — including Joanne Nelson ’84, formerly of the College’s campus ministry and Institutional Advancement staff.
“During the weekend, several of my classmates told me they went to the Chapel to ‘spend time with [the late and beloved] Fr. Mike Cronogue,’” Nelson said. “They also really appreciated/enjoyed the yoga & meditation at the weekend – a quiet break from the busy-ness of life and a time to reflect on their personal undergraduate experience. And Jim Wall’s quote from Fr. Mike during the Purple and Gold event — the challenge he offered to students to participate in community service at Saint Michael’s, had quite a positive ripple effect across alumni classes! There was buzz about that at every event after the awards ceremony.” Dave Landers, psychology faculty emeritus, posted on Facebook about Wall’s remarks: “Fr. Mike started the MOVE (Mobilization of Volunteer Efforts) program at St. Mike’s many years ago … [and] Jim commented that Fr. Mike had shared with him that ‘volunteering is a way for individuals to help God in answering the prayers of strangers.’ So well said and so much who Fr. Mike was.” Scores of alumni also attended Sunday’s 11 a.m. Mass in the Chapel before heading home, many sitting with their classmates. Fr. Brian Cummings, S.S.E. ’86, was principal celebrant.
Armour said the College arranged to rent 15 townhouses in the 300s for the weekend to returning alumni in a variety of class years so they could relive their college experience in a truly authentic way. “It was the perfect location for taking in the events under the tent with lots of alumni mingling and hanging out where they partied in college,” she said.
Other events from the busy weekend included:
On Friday, campus tours, the Purple Knight Golf Classic at Country Country Club of Vermont in Waterbury, Class breakfasts for the Classes of ’54, ’59 and ’64 in Pomerleau Alumni Center, an Intro to Laser Cutting in the Dion Makerspace, a Lunch Cruise on Spirit of Ethan Allen in Lake Champlain from the Burlington Waterfront Boathouse, a Career Education and Alumni Engagement Center Ice Cream Social at Dion, a tour of the Campus Farm, the annual Leadership Reception, and the evening Welcome Back Dinner with live music & cash bar in the 300’s Field. Saturday’s highlights included a morning Purple Knight Fun Run by Ross, Yoga, a prayer service for deceased alumni, a “Share Your SMC Story” Podcast Recordings opportunity in Dion, a “Meet our Faculty!” Panel Presentation in Cheray 101 explaining exciting new academic programs; the Purple and Gold Celebration; more campus and Farm tours, a meditation session in Dion, and a Military Appreciation Reception in Pomerleau Alumni Center mid-afternoon. Evening class receptions were at various venues around greater Burlington including Windjammer, Waterworks, Hotel Vermont, The Garage, Three Needs, Burlington City Arts; the Golden Knights gathered at the home of Ernie Pomerleau ’69. A Late Knight Party with a DJ, grilling and BYOB in the 300s Field capped off Saturday. ON Sunday was the traditional Strawberry Brunch in Alliot and Mass.
The College’s emeritus longtime Vice President for Academic Affairs and political science faculty member Bill Wilson told Armour he enjoyed mixing with a number of emeritus faculty members who were at the Saturday afternoon event catching up with former students.
“I definitely would want to thank our sponsors from the weekend who helped make it a great event,” Armour said, mentioning Sue Bette ’02, from Bluebird Barbecue, Pete Angus ’79, from Tito’s Vodka, Paw Print, who did all of our new signs, Hotel Vermont, Switchback, Hilton, the Saint Michael’s College Campus Store, and the Courtyard Marriott. She said a feedback survey link will be posted on social media and in upcoming emails.
Commented Dave Landers of a conversation he had with five members of the Class of 2014 who were back for their 5th reunion, “As we talked, the common theme was their appreciation for all that their SMC experience gave them and their agreement with me that folks who have never actually experienced Saint Michael’s College truly cannot understand it – a very, very special place.”