A record-breaking number of alumni and their guests boarded the Miss Buffalo II Friday evening, August 9, to kick off the 2013 Alumni Reunion Weekend. For the over 100 alumni and guests enjoying a cruise on the Niagara River, the third annual Boat Cruise offered spectacular views of the Buffalo waterfront, a variety of food, beer, wine, soda, and an evening of music and dancing. With attendance ranging from ages 21 to 82, it was truly an all-ages evening.
Reunion Weekend continued Saturday afternoon with a picnic, campus tours, and class reunions in the evening. This year’s event also featured the first Theatre Arts reunion.
Theatre Arts alumni were welcomed by President Gary Olson, Visual & Performing Arts Director Dr. Laura Watts Sommer, Assistant Professor of Theatre, Dr. Robert Waterhouse, and reunion coordinator Jacki Rizzo ’70. Reconnections between Theatre Arts alumni and faculty filled the evening.
The Theatre Arts reunion also marked the return of one very special graduate, James McNeill, a member of the reuniting class of 1968 and the Theatre Arts program. Jim holds the distinction of being the former Rosary Hill College’s first male student.
Together with Kathy, his wife of 45 years, Jim remembered first encountering what he calls “stereotyped thinking in the bachelor-in paradise vein.” But that changed, he pointed out, as people realized that while he was the only full-time male student, his mind was on education, and the school was a major platform to develop his skills.
“The breadth of knowledge I received I couldn’t believe,” he said. “It was not only the knowledge of philosophy and theology, but the skills gained from courses as diverse as speech and writing.
“Another thing I gained from Rosary Hill was a deep respect for nontraditional roles some women had to fill. It was particularly helpful in teaching in elementary schools, where most of the other teachers were women.”
Also present for the Theatre Arts reunion in the Haberman Gacioch Center for the Visual & Performing Arts were long time faculty members Rosalind (Roz) Cramer and Christopher Wilson, as well as Distinguished Alumni Award recipients Darleen A. Pickering Hummert ’67 and Paula Y. Kregg ’70.