Welcomed Home: Reunion Brings More Than 500 Alumni and Guests to Campus
Alumni representing six decades and class years 1958–2013 enjoyed time reuniting, reconnecting and rediscovering the Merrimack campus.
Reunion got underway Friday evening with the annual Leadership Appreciation Reception to thank alumni and friends — including all reunion class committee members — for their time and philanthropy on behalf of Merrimack. More than 125 donors from Merrimack’s giving societies were in attendance at this event which recognizes donors who make gifts of a thousand dollars or more and celebrates their commitment to Merrimack through leadership giving.
The evening’s main event was the Warrior Welcome Back Celebration, which was held for the first time in Merrimack Stadium, home of the College’s new multipurpose field and elite track. More than 300 guests, including recent graduates from the Class of 2018, gathered under a tent on the viewing platform of Merrimack Stadium and enjoyed mixing and mingling while dining on a New England-themed buffet that included clam chowder, lobster rolls and assorted desserts. At mid-point during the evening, a spectacular fireworks display lit both the night sky and the stadium, adding to an already festive atmosphere.
On Saturday, alumni had an opportunity to experience life as a college student, from morning yoga on the lawn near Mendel Pond to interactive health sciences and technology demonstrations to an afternoon keynote in O’Reilly Hall. Alumni enjoyed exploring new worlds with Virtual Reality headsets, diagnosing mock patients in a clinical simulation suite, and examining the human body with Anatomage, a 3D dissection table. Featured presenters from the School of Health Sciences included Birgid Hopkins, Director of Sports Medicine; Andrew Cannon, Lecturer; and Dennis Fontaine, Clinical Education Coordinator. For alumni with an interest in fantasy football, Michael Bradley ’78, professor and co-chair of the Mathematics Department gave a lesson in the statistics behind a winning season. An afternoon keynote entitled “Chasing Light and Life Through Photography” was presented by Director of Media Instruction Services, Kevin Salemme ’95, who gifted each attendee at his presentation a signed triptych.
Alumni explored Merrimack on foot and many took campus trolley tours led by Victoria Robbins ’18 and Michael Santoro ’18 with more than 15 points of interest, including the statue of Christ the Teacher, St. Ambrose Friary, the Academic Quad, Sakowich Campus Center, Cascia Hall, the Innovation Center and the Merrimack Athletics Complex. Robbins and Santoro noted that more than 940,000 square footage had been added to the campus as a result of Together for Good, the College’s $50 million capital campaign.
Mid-day events included the Warrior Family Barbeque on the Sakowich patio and lawn. This family friendly event saw attendees enjoy summer barbeque fare including hamburgers, hot dogs and ice cream as well as lawn games. Over at the Rogers Center for the Arts, some 125 attendees joined together for the annual Golden Graduate Society Luncheon. This beloved tradition honors alumni who have graduated 50 years ago or more, this year returning alumni represented the classes of 1951 – 57 and this year’s Golden Graduate inductees from the Class of 1968. Later in the afternoon, members of the Class of ’68 and others celebrated Reunion Mass in the Collegiate Church of Christ the Teacher. Mass was led by Fr. Joseph Calderone ’78, Eucharistic Minister Michael Bradley ’78, and lectors Marie Doyle ’78, Karen Souney ’78 and Robert F. McCusker ’68. Mass included the awarding of the commemorative Golden Graduate Pins by President Christopher E. Hopey.
On Saturday evening, all classes came together for a cocktail reception on the Crowe Hall patio followed by class dinners in the McQuade Library for more than 275 alumni and guests. The evening ended back at Crowe Hall where all class years gathered under a tent to enjoy desserts and sip on night caps while dancing to live music performed by the band Massive Grove.
- Caitlin Cunningham Photography