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The campus came alive with excitement the weekend of April 29 – May 1 as members of the Holy Cross community celebrated a defining moment in the College’s 173-year history: the kickoff of the ambitious $400-million Become More campaign.
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On Friday night, Dinand Library was transformed into a vibrant performance venue for the “Jookin’ Jam Session with Lil Buck, Cristina Pato and Friends.” Throughout the wildly entertaining show, international dance phenomenon Charles ‘Lil Buck’ Riley, accompanied by an international cast of musicians — including Pato, a Galician bagpiper and member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble,and former Holy Cross artist-in-residence — energized the standing-room-only crowd with his signature style of dance, jookin’.
At one point, the entire audience seemed to hold its breath as the sneaker-clad Buck gracefully glided, spun, and weaved across the stage to Saint-Saëns’ “The Swan,” — and they responded with an enthusiastic standing ovation.
But it was a quartet of talented Holy Cross student dancers who stole the show: Kalif Raymond ’16, Ameer Phillips ’17, Hannah Comeau ’18, and Carmela Clave ’19.
“My favorite part was when [Lil Buck] brought up the students and they all jammed out together,” said Matt Freije ’19, after witnessing the joyful explosion of music and dance. “That was just so fun to see.”
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Saturday marked the historic beam signing and dedication of the Hart Center at the Luth Athletic Complex, and hundreds of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and Trustees gathered to show their appreciation for John E. Luth ’74 and his wife, Joanne Chouinard-Luth, D.M.D., and their record-setting gift, which is set to usher in a new era in Holy Cross athletics.
With excavators and mountains of dirt as the backdrop, the speakers, including Director of Athletics Nathan Pine and Board Chair John Mahoney ’73, expressed their enthusiasm and gratitude for the building, which is slated to open in 2018.
According to the Luths, exercise and fitness benefit students both physically and mentally: “You have a much greater ability to be more functional over your lifetime, and that’s a gift and a responsibility, and you need to go forward and do something with it.”
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In addition to athletics, the celebratory weekend also showcased the dynamic academic life at Holy Cross, through a range of engaging and informative sessions across campus, including a symposium, “The Value and Relevancy of a Jesuit Education in the 21st Century,” held in Dinand on Saturday afternoon.
Moderated by Stephanie Yuhl, professor of history, four successful alumni shared how their Holy Cross education has shaped their lives and work: Douglas M. Baker Jr. ’81, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Ecolab Inc.; AnnMaura Connolly ’86, chief strategy officer and executive vice president of City Year, Inc.; Brian P. Kelley ’83, vice chairman of Keurig Green Mountain, Inc.; and Mary Agnes “Maggie” Wilderotter ’77, former chief executive officer and executive chairman of Frontier Communications.
With wit and candor, the panelists offered insights into ethical leadership, organizational values and effective management, among other topics. Despite their different paths, all agreed that their careers were positively impacted by the Jesuit, liberal arts foundation they received at Holy Cross. And their message resonated with the audience. Hilary Shea ’18 described the event as “inspiring,” particularly hearing that “with a liberal arts education you can end up anywhere.”
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Saturday night featured the centerpiece of the weekend, a gala dinner attended by more than 400 alumni and friends of the College. “The gala was a wonderful success, in that it demonstrated quite vividly the strength and depth of our College at its best,” said Fr. Boroughs.
Held in Kimball Hall, which was bathed in purple lighting and set up for “family-style” dining, the gala was hosted by Mark K. Shriver ’86, and featured a welcoming concert and dance by visiting artists and students, a musical grace sung by the College’s Chamber Singers, a scene from the acclaimed recent campus production of Hamlet, and a theatrical performance of the history of Holy Cross in letters and documents from the College’s archives.
In his remarks after dinner, Fr. Boroughs announced that the Become More campaign, with four years left to run, had already surpassed the $240 million mark, on its way to a $400 million goal.
Shriver declared the gala a tremendous success, saying that it was a fine reflection of “the greatest college in the world.”
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Gray skies on Sunday morning did little to dampen the spirits of those in attendance at the 9:30 Mass in St. Joseph Memorial Chapel where Fr. Boroughs presided, joined by members of Holy Cross’ Jesuit community and alumni, who concelebrated. Students served as greeters, lectors, servers, and Communion ministers.
In his homily, Fr. Boroughs reflected on the weekend, acknowledging that this is an exciting time for Holy Cross, but an undertaking of this magnitude requires great faith and trust in the Holy Spirit for guidance. “… as this wonderful weekend draws to a close, and as the next phase of our comprehensive campaign begins, we must be prudent, but we must not be afraid. The Holy Spirit has been with us on this hilltop for 173 years, bringing new life out of loss and hope out of great transition,” he preached, concluding by asking Jesus to “send us forward in faith.”
According to Kimberly Stone ’90, president of the Holy Cross Alumni Association, the weekend’s events — from the artistry of the jam session, to the revelry of the gala dinner, to the majesty of the Mass — set the tone perfectly for the Become More campaign and its ambitious goals. “I think this weekend was spectacular. It was inspiring, it was awe-inducing, it was just amazing.”