Last night the College honored five individuals and one team at the annual Athletic Hall of Fame dinner held at The Double Tree Hotel in So. Burlington. This is always held in conjunction with the fall Alumni Reunion which brings a large number of our alums back to campus. This is also combined with First Year Family Weekend which provides families the chance to visit their "kids" and see how they have survived their first three weeks of classes. :)
After an introduction by Athletic Director Geri Knortz and a welcome from President Jack Neuhauser, the Master of Ceremonies for the evening, VP for Institution Advancement Pat Gallivan invited Fr. Brian Cummings up for a blessing and then we all enjoyed a great meal. I was sitting with the President, Marilyn Cormier (Director of Corporate and Community Affairs), Fr. Mike, Fr. Brian, Fr. Ray and Fr. Marcel along with VP for Enrollment Management Jerry Flanagan and AD Geri Knortz. It was great to see so many familiar faces as we came together to celebrate and honor a team and individuals who had given to much to SMC through their athletic participation while students and who give so much to their communities now as members of our greater society. It was a very poignant moment when the first recipient was announced - his classmates from the Class of '64 had nominated him and provided many letters of support for his inclusion in the Hall of Fame. Donald J. "Bucky" Egan was in the class of '64 and was an outstanding baseball player and leader both in and out of the classroom. Upon his graduation from SMC he entered the United States Marines and was killed in action in 1967 in Vietnam. His daughter was there to accept the honor on behalf of her family. As she shared stories and memories and then former AD Ed Markey, who had been "Bucky's" baseball coach shared his memories, it was truly the right thing to do to honor this man who gave so much to SMC and who made the ultimate sacrifice for others by giving his life. I was struck with so many similarities to what is occurring across this country today as so many families are profoundly changed by losing a loved one to war. His daughter's appreciation to SMC for including her father in this HOF class was palpable.
Magan Gately Trotta, Class of '93, Jennifer Kay Berger, Class of '94, Kyle Lanfear, Class of '98 and Sara Pope, Class of '04 were all introduced and they each spoke of how their education here and their time here had impacted who they have become today. With spouses and children by their sides, these folks thanked the College, not only for their time here, but also for their inclusion into the Hall of Fame. After the individual former athletes were honored, for only the second time in the history of the Hall of Fame, a sports team was honored. The 1988 Field Hockey team which ended up being the ECAC Division II/III Champions were honored. It is a true testament to this event that all but two of the members of that winning team were present last night. Some came from as far away as Oregon and others from North and South Carolina. It was so nice to see so many familiar faces and to watch then get re-acquainted after so many years. They have kept in contact through Facebook and emails, but it was great for them to actually be together again - this time, along with spouses and children. Their coach Ann Noone Adams beamed with pride as each member of the team was presented with a commemorative medal by Ann and AD Geri Knortz. All in all, a great evening. Pat said it best when he lamented that it is unfortunate that more of our current students are not able to attend this event so that they can hear from those who have gone before them, about the amazingly strong sense of community that this place we call HOME cultivates in everyone. Well said Patrick.
This IS reunion weekend and while my intent was to come in and grade papers this morning I have been talking with a number of recent alums who are "back home" in Colchester, Vermont and I am heading out to have lunch with several of them down in Winooski.
Take care, be well, and as always, please keep all of the members of our military and all of our veterans and their families in your thoughts and prayers.