Reunion Weekend 2012
Record-breaking Number of Alumni Return for Reunion
Rainy weather did not deter 1,100 alumni who returned to Providence College for Reunion Weekend 2012, far exceeding previous attendance numbers.
In all, the College entertained 1,555 guests, including alumni from class years ending in ’2 and ’7 and their families, at 25 general and class-specific reunion events from Friday, June 1, to Sunday, June 3. Several activities were moved indoors due to rain, including the popular barbecue on Saturday, but it remained one of the highlights of the weekend along with the WaterFire Providence basin lighting on Friday night. Alumni wearing blinking LED buttons gathered inside the Waterplace Restaurant as well as in a reserved amphitheater area to watch the lighting of the fires.
The higher attendance numbers were noted at events such as the Golden Friars Mass and Dinner on Friday night. All “Golden Friars” — alumni who have celebrated their 50th anniversary — were invited, regardless of their graduation year. More than 160 alumni attended the event, including Samuel J. Chester ’34, a former businessman, concert violinist, and medical researcher whose donations have earned him and his late wife, Esther, bronze member status in the 1917 Society.
During the Mass, 70 members of the Class of 1962 received golden lapel pins signifying their new Golden Friar status. One alumnus, Ronald P. Stride ’62, traveled from Singapore to collect his pin and join in the weekend celebration.
In addition to greetings from College President Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P. ’80 and Robert Ferreira ’83, PC’s assistant vice president for alumni relations, the dinner featured remarks by John “Jack” Kennedy ’62 and Lt. Col. James J. Tuite, professor of military science and department chair.
A retired U.S. Army colonel and a Vietnam War veteran, Kennedy served as professor of military science and department chair at PC from 1983-85. He gave a historical perspective of the College’s ROTC Program, focusing on its operations during his undergraduate years, and emphasized how it has remained a high-quality academic and military training operation.
Tuite provided an update on the current-day operations of the Patriot Battalion. With the commissioning of 14 undergraduates — including nine from the College — in May, a total of 1,861 men and women have graduated from the program since its inception in 1951.
The Class of 1962 also marked its 50th anniversary with a breakfast Saturday morning followed by a tour led by Dr. Richard Grace ’62, professor of history. The excursion was so popular that it continued 40 minutes longer than originally scheduled.
Some of the activities helped connect alumni with the current campus community. Graduates attended a presentation on the newly adopted five-year Strategic Plan as well as a discussion of the evolution of the Liberal Arts Honors Program.
The theme of Reunion Weekend was “Step into Your Story,” and alumni were invited to remember key moments of their time at PC. For example, the Class of 1987 celebrated its silver anniversary by reliving PC’s Final Four experience in New Orleans during a reception Saturday afternoon. The event, held in the Aquinas Hall Lounge, had a New Orleans theme, and organizers recreated some of the décor — including a fountain — from Pat O’Brien’s, a Bourbon Street bar where PC fans gathered 25 years ago to celebrate. John Cervione ’87 addressed his classmates, discussing his own involvement in College organizations such as the National Alumni Association and encouraging them to take part. They also had a moment of silence for the 13 deceased members of their class.
Members of the Class of 1992, who organized several class-specific events, paid tribute to deceased classmates by organizing a brick dedication on Saturday in memory of Carolyn (Brennan) Haines, Angela (Drainville) Dolan, Martin Graham, Shannon (O’Connor) Hayward, Laura Laflamme, Frederick Matteson, Christopher Rizzi, Ellen (Donovan) Samia, and Liisa (Brown) Tucker.
The bricks, which class members donated money to purchase, will be installed on Alumni Lane and will be a permanent part of the campus landscape, class members said.
The ceremony, attended by family and friends of the deceased and class members, opened with greetings by Christopher Breen ’92. Rev. James F. Quigley, O.P. ’60, associate chaplain of the National Alumni Association, offered prayers, a Gospel reading from St. John, and a message centered on hope and belief in Jesus. The ceremony concluded with a champagne toast by Michele Boussy Tracia ’92.
The Class of 1992 had the second highest Reunion Weekend turnout, with 214 alumni registered; the classes of 2007 had 237 alumni and 2002 had 163.
Six of the reunion classes exceeded their class giving goals. As of May 31, the Class of 1977 had raised more than $212,000, the Class of 1992 brought in nearly $189,000, and the Class of 1987 donated more than $176,000. The Class of 1962 had the highest percentage of donors, with 30 percent of the class contributing, closely followed by the Classes of 1957 and 1967, both tied at 26 percent.
— Liz F. Kay
To see more photos of reunion events, go to PC Alumni's Flickr page.