When the Class of 1950 established a scholarship fund shortly before their 50th reunion in 2000, they may have been atoning for their behavior as undergraduates. So says Joseph Casalnuovo '50 (right). His class was an unusual mixture of high school graduates and World War II veterans.
"We were a little bit older, more mature, less willing to be disciplined like little kids. We were outspoken in our views," he remembers. A strike that they staged over poor cafeteria food captured headlines in the Oakland Tribune."We made up for it with our scholarship fund," Casalnuovo adds.
Even the class fund came about in an unorthodox way: They made a deal with the Saint Mary's administration.
Anticipating their 50th reunion in 2000, class members prepared to produce a book of memories for the event. "The College gave us $5,000 to put together the book, which was courageous of them,"says Casalnuovo. "We promised to work our butts off to get the fund started, and we did."
The Class of 1950's Millennium Scholarship Fund now totals more than $400,000. It provides tuition to students with financial need. Despite their youthful shenanigans, Casalnuovo says, "We thought it would be a good idea to return something for what we believed were beautiful years at the College. We are devoted to the College, and to one another."
Casalnuovo's devotion to the College was so strong that he was greatly disappointed after graduation, he recalls with a laugh."My wife and I had eight children," he explains. "We got the oldest one to go to Saint Mary's, but the next one was a science student and went to Santa Clara. And six of them followed him there. It killed me! I love them, but it killed me!"
The Class of '50 will gather again at the College's Golden Anniversary reunion in October. In addition to the usual events, they have asked to attend classes on Friday, October 6. To reserve a place, contact the Saint Mary's College alumni office at (925) 631-4200 or firstname.lastname@example.org.