All Things SMC

In what has become a winter ritual, hundreds of alumni will migrate back to Moraga for Gaelfest on Jan. 17, 2009 for the men’s basketball against Pepperdine. For the first time, the event will also showcase the Annual Alumni Awards winners.

In 2006, the College re-launched its homecoming celebration around men’s basketball and christened it “Gaelfest.” The event is scheduled during January or February so alumni can join thousands of fans in McKeon Pavilion for a game between the Gaels and a WCC rival.

This year, the fans will also be able to cheer alumni award winners, who will be introduced at halftime.

“We are honoring our award winners during Gaelfest so that as many of our students, alumni and friends as possible can celebrate the important accomplishments of our successful alumni,” says Alumni Director Lloyd Schine ’98. “It’s a great place to see what an important family we are all part of.”

In years past, Saint Mary’s homecoming took place during football season. With the cancellation of football and the emergence of men’s basketball as a perennial WCC contender, the homecoming game is now played on the hardwood instead of the gridiron.

“With Gaelfest, we have been able to capture a little bit of that old fall tradition,” says Warren Parker ’87, one of the organizers. “With the continued success of our basketball team under head coach Randy Bennett, we will have continued opportunities to make Gaelfest the new tradition.”

Standing in the way of a triumphant homecoming are the Pepperdine Waves, who spoiled 2007 Gaelfest with a 68–66 upset win over Saint Mary’s. This year’s Gaels’ squad, led by Olympian Patrick Mills, WCC first team forward Diamon Simpson and WCC honorable mention center Omar Samhan, look to avenge the College’s only Gaelfest loss.

The all-day Saturday event will include a Mass and a pre-game rally with the Saint Mary’s band and cheerleaders. After the final buzzer in McKeon, alumni can catch up at the post-game party and — knock on wood — toast a Gaels’ victory.

“It’s not only an opportunity for all of us to come together in support of our basketball team, it’s an even greater moment to reconnect with classmates,” Parker says.

If you are interested in attending Gaelfest, contact the Alumni Office at (800) 800-2586.

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