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Coming Home in Style: On Campus Again, Alumni Celebrate Reunion Weekend

husband and wife on boat

Karen A. and Thomas A. McCall 72

For the first time in three years, Jaspers gathered on campus once again to celebrate with classmates and express their support for alma mater at the long-awaited return of Manhattan’s popular Reunion Weekend, from Friday, June 3, to Sunday, June 5, 2022.

“Welcome home,” said Thomas Mauriello, vice president for college advancement, as he addressed alumni marking milestone anniversaries at the Golden and Silver Jaspers Reunion Brunch. “Can you believe it’s been so long since we were able to enjoy each other’s company this way? It’s well worth the wait!” 

The last on-campus Reunion Weekend took place in June 2019. When COVID-19 struck in early 2020, safety concerns required the College to postpone large gatherings. Loyal alumni used technology to reconnect, but “nothing beats coming together like this,” noted Louis Calvelli, director of alumni relations. “I was heartened to see so many graduates being able to spend time together in person.” 

A full slate of scheduled activities engaged more than 300 alumni, family members and friends — on and off campus. The festivities began on Friday afternoon with the popular “Jaspers Tavern” and Fraternity Reception, held until 10 p.m. in Thomas Hall’s Café 1853. The evening also featured the Golden Jaspers Cruise around Manhattan Island, as jubilarians enjoyed dinner and dancing against the backdrop of New York City’s iconic skyline.

Supporting the Next Generation’s Success

On Saturday, after a special breakfast for participants who stayed overnight in campus residence halls, Jaspers began the day with exercise at a Morning Stretch on Walsh Plaza. The afternoon included campus tours, class photographs and a Wine-Tasting Happy Hour made possible by sommelier Sheila Donohue ’87, founder of VeroVino. 

Held in the Raymond W. Kelly ’63 Student Commons, the Golden and Silver Anniversary Brunch was a highlight of the day. Members of the 50th anniversary class of 1972 each received a Brother C. Thomas Medal. Graduates of 1955, ’60, ’65, ’70 and ’71 received a medal and plaque. The College presented special plaques to Michael McEneney ’53, who was celebrating his 90th birthday, and Mario A. Scolaro ’50, the most senior Jasper at the brunch.

In an extraordinary display of support for the College, the class of 1972 made an initial anniversary gift of $820,000, far exceeding its original goal. Then came the announcement: class member Thomas McCormick made an additional personal gift to bring the amount to more than $1 million — the second-largest in 15 years. In addition, McCormick and Peter Musumeci had made their own generous gift challenges to classmates.

“Our classmates recognize the educational, financial and social impact the pandemic had on the College community,” said Denis O’Meara, 1972 class chair. “So our 50th Anniversary Committee, along with the development and alumni affairs offices, worked hard to boost reunion attendance. We also focused on the importance of our class gift, which will strengthen Manhattan’s mission: to prepare future Jaspers for success.” O’Meara and his wife, Joanne, fund the Hack/O’Meara Scholarship for students majoring in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

 “My 50th anniversary was a spur to reflect on all the things I’m thankful for — including my Manhattan education and the financial aid that helped make it happen,” McCormick said. His gifts, he observed, are an expression of gratitude. “I’m fortunate to be able to give back, to help the next generation of Jaspers to similarly succeed.” McCormick also has established a scholarship for underrepresented students in the School of Engineering.

The classes of 1970 and 1971 made anniversary gifts and pledges of $400,000 each. The 25th Anniversary Class presented a $50,000 gift to alma mater. “I’m thrilled that our class of 1997 is able to support Manhattan’s Lasallian mission of providing access to an outstanding higher education,” said Thomas Yurcisin, the 1997 class chair. He attended Reunion Weekend with his wife, Maureen, class of 1996.

A Glow that Will Last

After brunch, alumni assembled in the Chapel of De La Salle and His Brothers for a Reunion Vigil Mass. Rev. Joseph Franco ’97 concelebrated with Rev. Thomas Franks ’22, OFM Cap., the College chaplain. Later, as sundown approached, Jaspers from all class years gathered on the Quad with family and friends for the Reunion Weekend Celebration Dinner Dance. They gathered under a tent, as well as in Smith Auditorium, until nearly midnight. 

“The Manhattan College community was looking forward to these festivities for quite some time,” Mauriello observed. “The glow of this weekend, and the sheer pleasure of getting together with fellow Jaspers, will last long after we leave the Riverdale campus — until next year, of course.”