Alumni Return for Gael "Family" Reunion

By Caitlin Graveson '11

Summer quiets Saint Mary's as many students leave for vacation, but in mid-July Saint Mary's welcomed many graduates home to the Moraga Hills. The campus teemed with nearly 350 alumni eager to rejoin their Saint Mary's family during Reunion Weekend.

"The sense of community is very strong. Some alumni groups call themselves, ‘The Family,' " said Brother President Ronald Gallagher.

Saturday was packed with on-campus events, beginning with a breakfast at Oliver Hall, department open houses and a historical tour of Saint Mary's led by Brother Raphael Patton. Alumni also had the chance to return to class, including Seminar. Midday saw a family barbecue on the Chapel Lawn and entertainment in the Redwood Grove, then Mass followed by class dinners. Sunday morning featured a pancake breakfast in Oliver Hall.

Bob Hagler '50, who celebrated his 60th reunion, has remained close with Saint Mary's, teaching and coaching at Saint Mary's High School and then at SMC. He coached basketball great Tom Meschery '61 when he was a freshman.

"As a student, I developed a feeling of family with the school, and it has carried me through my life," Hagler said. "As a coach and teacher, I have seen young men grow into family men and great men."

Chris Carter '97 MA '02, director of Alumni and Volunteer Engagement, often hears the family metaphor. "It's very indicative of the Saint Mary's culture that we would view each other in that light. The influence of the Christian Brothers, in my opinion, has a lot to do with that."

Al Getson '70 agrees, saying the  Brothers "gave me a strong background in academics — top-notch — and fond memories, good connections with friends and family."

Getson and his roommate, Mike Hanika '70, remember going with a Brother to the Brothers' winery in Napa and buying expensive wine at a great discount: each bottle was only a dollar. 

They also remember Saint Mary's  before it became coedu-cational. Hanika commented, "Too little, too late. It was the best thing that could have happened."

Melissa Downing '05 and Kate LaMons '05 celebrated their five-year reunion and offered a unique perspective. "Most people are on Facebook; but it's nice to see people face-to-face."