Dinner in Manila

By Caitlin Graveson ’11

Filipino Alumni Join Forces to Stay Connected

Perry and Joyce Aragon and Brother Dominic.

Saint Mary’s Alumni Association helps keep graduates in contact with each other and the College, but international students have had a harder time staying engaged. However, a new Philippines Alumni chapter based in the Manila area was formed late last year, becoming the first formally organized chapter outside the United States.

Brother Dominic Berardelli was instrumental in recognizing the need for the new chapter.

“Over the years, we have had at least 55 to 60 Filipinas and Filipinos who have graduated from Saint Mary’s and gone back to the Philippines to work and live,” he says.

Many don’t want to lose touch with the College and its faculty and staff.

“The alumni are very dedicated and have fond memories of their time at Saint Mary’s. Many stay in contact with the College and have friends here,” Brother Dominic says.

Brother Dominic’s experience living in the Philippines helped him set up the chapter; he spent 11 years in the country as a teacher and has returned with Jan Term classes. He suggested to Brother President Ronald Gallagher the need for the new chapter, and after much planning they traveled to the Philippines in November 2008 to officially welcome it.

Alumni involved with spearheading the project included Jean Henri Lhuillier ’92, Francis Macatulad ’89, David Chua ’89 and Bunny Campos ’87. Macatulad said that the chapter is important for multiple reasons.

“One, alumni get to keep in touch and learn the latest news from SMC. Two, SMC gets to know how the Filipino alumni are doing,” he says. “Three, alumni can help SMC recruit students, as well as provide information to interested families, convince accepted students to go to SMC and orient new students about SMC and life in the U.S.”

Macatulad also notes that the Filipino chapter’s goals for the future include helping with Jan Term classes and raising funds for scholarships.