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The Saints Come Marching Home: Celebrating Community at Homecoming and Reunion 2013

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Marymount celebrated Homecoming and Reunion 2013 throughout a cool, crisp weekend of sunshine and fun. Alumni reconnected at gatherings in the Main House, a DJ rocked the crowd at a block party, children squealed with delight at games on the Ireton Lawn, lacrosse players hustled for points in the back field, everyone cheered on the Saints playing soccer at Long Bridge Park, and much more.

At the Alumni Awards and Volunteer Appreciation Brunch on Saturday, Marymount President Matt Shank said, “We love your engagement – coming back to campus, interacting with our students, and giving back to your communities.”

That feeling of community -- being connected with Marymount and each other – resonated among all the Saints (current students and alumni), faculty, staff, and family members, who joined together for four days of festivities, basking in the warmth of unity and shared, lasting values.

Carol Cassella ʼ83 returned to her alma mater for her 30th reunion. “It’s so great to be back on campus,” she reported. “There are physical changes, but the feeling is the same.” Connecting with friends from her college days, Carol said, “We have fabulous memories and incredible, life-long friendships. We’re there for each other.” She added, “We pulled out yearbooks, and pictures led to stories. We had so many good laughs. There’s a lot to be said for the Marymount bond and the positive impact that Marymount has had on our lives.” A teacher since graduating, Carol felt well prepared for her career. Now, her daughter, Lauren Borkowski, is following in her footsteps. A Marymount freshman, Lauren, too, plans to teach, and she’s building her own Marymount friendships that will hopefully last a lifetime.

Jeb Butler ’03, now director of Admissions at Columbia Law School and recipient of the Outstanding Recent Graduate Award, remarked, “I grew up in a small, rural town in Maryland, where it seemed like cows outnumbered people. When I came to Marymount, the world really opened up for me, and it was remarkable to be on a campus with students from all over the globe while learning about and appreciating their cultures. That’s why I love Homecoming; it’s my way of saying thanks to an institution that fostered the continuous growth of my world view.”

Michael Smith ’01 said, “Marymount shaped, molded, incubated, and prepared me to launch on a career path centered around service. When I think of all the opportunities that I received at Marymount, it inspires me to give back.” The recipient of MU’s 2013 Alumni Achievement Award, Michael was recently named director of the Social Innovation Fund of the Corporation for National and Community Service. The Fund provides grants to nonprofits for projects that transform lives.
Bill Harris ’04, president of Marymount’s Lacrosse Alumni Network, received the Alumni Club Leadership Award. He pointed out, “A lot of what I’ve been able to do in my life is because of all I received at Marymount. Here, I learned about the world in general, about myself, and about the importance of giving back.”

Jocelyn Garay ’12, a communications major who works for the Girl Scouts of the Nation’s Capital, has seen how Homecoming at MU has developed over the years. She said, “It was initially an alum thing but then current students joined in. As a student, chatting with alums at Homecoming gave me a vision of what my life could be like after graduation. Now, as an alumna, I like to come back and help open those same windows for students. I love giving back to the institution that has given me so much.”

For Borjana Sako ’11, who earned her B.A. in Politics and currently works with a government contractor, it’s all about living the values she developed at her alma mater. She explained, “Marymount taught me about leadership and service to others. Those things became life values, and I live them every day. I like to come to Reunion, talk with older alums, and envision through their experiences what my life could look like 10 years from now.”

Senior Matt Shuman ’14, a criminal justice major, values all aspects of Homecoming. He noted, “It’s a big party, with everyone coming together to celebrate what makes Marymount great and what makes us all Saints: our values of leadership, service, and understanding the greater world around us.”