The Alvernia Class of ’07. 

Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? It should. This is a special group.

Early congratulations to our seniors and to all students who are finishing those final classes, practica, and capstone exams and who will receive undergraduate or graduate degrees or certifications on May 20.

This has been a special graduating class who will leave an indelible mark on their soon-to-be alma mater. And they are off to a great start as alums.

This past week, many of them celebrated together at the second annual “Margaritaville,” a social at which our alumni association, joined by numerous faculty and staff, salutes and welcomes this year’s graduates. From an exciting beginning just a year ago, the event blossomed this year, with 400 in attendance, including many continuing education and graduate students and many recent alumni. It is now officially a tradition! Our food service staff, assisted by volunteers, outdid themselves and managed to provide food and drink for more than double the number expected. A highlight, once again, was our own Buffetmeister, Mike Pressimone, crooning this year’s version of “Wasting Away in Alverniaville.” Priceless.

But there was also an unprecedented highlight, announced by Senior Class President, Matt Nied. This year’s seniors organized a class gift program and succeeded where many in the past have fallen short. To date, they have raised over $2,500. Their gift will fully underwrite the cost of a handsome campus clock and will set the bar for future classes. 

Our students’ fundraising success is impressive; the money raised is significant. But most important is what this says about these graduates and about their appreciation for a special period in their lives and their commitment to a special place. 

We should not be surprised. The recent Honors Convocation featured diverse student awardees: among them, honors program graduates, with multiple majors; those who have excelled as scholars and student leaders; NCAA-recognized athletes with top academic records; individuals already accomplished professionally--through outstanding performance in internships, clinical work, student teaching, or other field experience. 

Many others have flourished in one of the academic clubs and honor societies that compete successfully at the state and even national level. Or on the stage. Or in service projects. Or on one of our PAC Championship Teams. Some led the planning and development of the remodeled Crusader Café, now a joint legacy of some generous alums and this year’s student government and senior class leaders.

This semester I was fortunate to “teach” two classes and to join another class for one of their sessions. These groups taught themselves. They were bright, spirited, candid, collaborative, and insightful. One group of “seniors” are retired adults who model the ideal of life-long learners. Another were student leaders, both seniors and others, who met several times to discuss leadership philosophies, styles, and values. One memorable session focused on the challenges of embracing and not just tolerating diversity and discovering ways to both maximize the benefits of diversity while seeking common ground and shared values.  A morning spent with the upcoming graduates of our On-Line Health Care MBA program featured men and women bonded in a strong learning community, led by some of our very best faculty and supported by top staff. Their capstone project: a volunteer trip to Santo Domingo to support a school sponsored by our Bernardine Franciscan Sisters. We will hear more from them. 

And we will hear more from those receiving diplomas this May. Count on it.

They are a special group. The Alvernia Class of 2007.

Flynn Files