Reunion Weekend 2023: Celebrating a Year of Significant Milestones
When alumni gathered at the Riverdale campus in June for Manhattan’s 2023 Reunion Weekend, they celebrated more than their enduring bonds as Jaspers — they commemorated several important College milestones while dedicating a tangible link to their alma mater’s long and distinguished history.
The unveiling of the College’s 19th-century Angelus Bell, in a place of honor beside the Chapel of De La Salle and His Brothers, was one of many highlights that brought alumni together during this year’s festivities. Held from Friday, June 2, through Sunday, June 4, the weekend celebrated graduating classes ending in eight and three, including the golden anniversary year of 1973 and the silver anniversary year of 1998.
“For Jaspers, every Reunion Weekend carries immense personal meaning — but this was especially significant,” noted Thomas Mauriello, vice president for college advancement. “Our alumni were able to celebrate their special anniversaries along with several very important milestones for their alma mater.” In addition to the College’s 170th anniversary, this year also marks 50 years of coeducation at Manhattan and the centennial of its Riverdale campus.
“We were proud as always to roll out the green carpet for Manhattan graduates of all class years,” said Louis Calvelli, director of alumni relations. “It was a pleasure to see their good cheer and to share their warm memories. Manhattan is, and always will be, a welcoming home for our Jaspers. We are thankful to schedule events that help them celebrate their anniversaries in style.”
On Campus and Beyond
More than 360 graduates and their guests began arriving for the weekend at 2 p.m. on Friday, June 2. After checking in for the full slate of activities — and residence hall accommodations for those staying on campus — alumni relaxed with former classmates at the Jaspers Tavern, held in Café 1853 in Thomas Hall. Eager to see familiar sites and new facilities, many also signed up for campus tours.
The weekend began in earnest that evening, when graduates of 1973 and prior years took shuttles to the West Side’s Pier 40 for the Golden Jaspers Cruise. The three-hour jaunt around Manhattan Island featured dinner, drinks and dancing. Back on campus, more partying took place in the Raymond W. Kelly ’63 Student Commons. The class of 1998 gathered for the Silver Jaspers Dinner, where they also received their 25th anniversary medals. Graduates of 2013 celebrated their 10th anniversary at the Young Alumni Spring Kickoff, which was also attended by graduates from 2014 to 2022. A special cocktail reception drew the milestone anniversary classes of 1978, ’83, ’88, ’93, ’03, ’08 and ’18.
Celebrating an Illustrious Past and a Promising Future
For alumni who stayed on campus overnight, Saturday’s festivities began with a full breakfast in Locke’s Loft, Thomas Hall, and a morning stretch on Walsh Plaza. The morning also included a seminar on estate planning and an outdoor Jaspers Family BBQ in McNeil Courtyard.
Alumni celebrating their 50th anniversary and beyond assembled in Kelly Commons that afternoon for the Golden Jaspers Luncheon. Brother Robert Berger, FSC, a 1973 graduate and associate professor of religious studies, delivered the invocation. After lunch, Mauriello presented each member of the 50th anniversary class with the Brother C. Thomas Medal.
Graduates of 1968, ’63, ’58 and ’53 each received a medal and plaque. A special round of applause greeted William Leonard ’48, the sole representative of his class year and a World War II veteran. Attendees also joined in a round of “Happy Birthday” for Leonard, who turned 99 in June. Later, golden anniversary committee representatives T.J. Elliott ’73, Charles Manning ’73 and Francis X. Ryan ’73 presented the College with an extremely generous class gift of $650,000.
“Remember that May day in 1973?” Brother Daniel Gardner, FSC, former president and Executive Director of Campus Ministry & Social Action, asked as he addressed the guests. “How many of you could have imagined that you’d be seated here, celebrating with us 50 years later? But you are, and we are grateful for your presence.”
Brother Daniel also noted the year’s other significant milestones — the centennial of the Bronx campus; the 50th year of the Manhattan College Cross-Country Invitational, the nation’s largest meet for high school athletes; the 140th anniversary of Brother Jasper’s introduction of the Seventh-Inning Stretch; and 50 years of co-education at the College.
Later, alumni gathered for the annual Reunion Vigil Mass in the Chapel of De La Salle and His Brothers, followed by a buffet dinner with musical entertainment on the Quadrangle. Before Mass, however, the College community assembled for the dedication and blessing of the 170-year-old Angelus Bell, which called students to prayer at the College’s original campus on the Upper West Side. “This is,” Brother Daniel said as he unveiled the bell, “an opportunity to think not only of past glories, but of new trajectories for future generations.”