Reunion Brings Together About a Thousand Gaels of Many Eras

Approaching its 150th anniversary, Saint Mary’s has experienced a great deal of change throughout its long history, but the spirit of the school has remained constant. As a testament to this fact, record numbers of alumni—from as far away as London and Japan—flooded the campus on July 20-22 to celebrate their years as Gaels at the alumni reunion.

“What is it that brings us back?” John Parzaile ’62 asked. “It is the values of the institution, the memories and the love.”

The weekend kicked off with a keg party in the lower townhouses on Friday evening. Saturday’s events were highlighted by a historical tour of the campus led by Brother Raphael Patton ’63, an academic open house and a huge barbecue. In the afternoon, there was a walk to the Legacy Garden, a wine tasting party in Brousseau Atrium and a history storytelling session with Brother Mel Anderson ’51, long-time coach Bob Hagler ’50 and recently retired professor Lawrence Cory ’39. Many Gaels then headed to the Redwood Grove for a party with live music from the band Amoebas of Doom, with lead singer Cora Manuel, SMC assistant director of financial aid. The day ended with a special reunion Mass.

In the evening, the cocktail hour hosted by Brother President Ronald Gallagher allowed alumni to mingle before the class dinners and Reunion Dance.

Alumni from the Class of 1962 turned out in force to celebrate their 50th reunion - more than half of the class returned to Saint Mary’s for the occasion.

But David Johnson ’84, president of the Alumni Association, noted that the reunion allows alumni of different decades to bond over similar experiences. “It is a way of not only reconnecting with each other, which is very important, but also with what Saint Mary’s was and what it has grown to,” he said.  

Alumni celebrating their 40th reunion reminisced with alumni from the ’80s about a math professor they all shared. “That kind of spark never would have happened on Facebook,” Johnson pointed out. “It’s not just about the people you know but about the people you meet as well.”

Gerald Morales ’97 explained the importance of seeing alumni from other classes. “Seeing the generations,” he said, “it makes you feel like you are part of a larger community.”

By Caitlin Graveson ’11

Photos by SMC Alumni Association

View more photos from the 2012 Alumni Reunion