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  Alumni / Advancement    
    Letter from the President of the General Alumni Association

By Anne Reilly Ziaja ’78

“Alma Mater”
Oh, Hear Thy Voices One in Song
Holy Cross, O Holy Cross
Thy Spirits Loyal, True and Strong
Holy Cross, O Holy Cross
Thy Purple Banner Floats on High
While Songs of Praise Swell to the Sky
Thy Honored Name Shall Never Die
Holy Cross, O Holy Cross

Words by Augustine P. Conniff, class of 1902
(Revised 19 January 1976. Tune: “My Maryland”)

Greetings, Crusaders, from our General Alumni Association! I thank you for the wonderful opportunity I have had to serve as president. It has been an incredibly eventful spring and early summer on Mount Saint James. On many occasions, the singing of our Alma Mater concluded wonderful college and alumni celebrations. The words and music are a connection with alumni over the decades. The anthem is sung with pride, loyalty and reverence for the school as an institution, and as a living symbol of the Holy Cross of Jesus.

It was with pride that I welcomed our newest members to the ranks of the alumni at the GAA’s Senior Reception. Bill Loftus ’81 and Marcy Vandale ’87 agreed to co-chair this successful event. Thanks to Kristyn LeBlanc ’94 and Pat McCarthy ’63, nearly 30 alumni from the East Coast came for a delicious dinner prior to meeting and greeting the “almost” graduates. All the alumni present were impressed by the accomplishments of our newest alumni members. So many had made career choices and accepted first jobs or places in graduate schools. As I looked out at the faces from the stage where I delivered my brief remarks, I felt blessed and energized by our ever-swelling ranks. I reminded the students that once their diplomas are received they will always be members of the Holy Cross General Alumni Association. I encouraged them to discover the Holy Cross Regional Club wherever the next chapter of their life takes them.

“... Oh Hear Thy Voices One in Song ...”

Continuing Education Day is an opportunity for alumni, families and friends to attend lectures and explore academic disciplines offered by the outstanding Holy Cross faculty. Rick Onofrey ’87 chairs this program for the GAA and Paula Murphy ’76 has been a dedicated member of this committee. The GAA has been fortunate over the last five years to work closely with Mark Freeman, associate dean of the College, and Tina Chen, director of academic services and learning resources. Each year’s program has been superb, but it was not until this year that I saw the inner workings of the day and the real service that these two quiet heroes have rendered. I am afraid though, that the faculty may have received a letdown after having taught the alumni and then returning to their regular classes. It seems that some alumni responded to the learning opportunity with standing ovations, which I gather does not usually occur on campus!

“... Thy Purple Banner Floats on High ...”

The following account was written by the chairman of the Bishop Healy Committee, Joe Reilly ’55. Before I share it with you, I want to pay public tribute to my Dad for his example, encouragement and support over the years. Thank you for sharing your deep love of Holy Cross with me and inspiring me to “give back.”

His report follows:
“ On Thursday evening, May 25th, the third annual ALANA Baccalaureate Banquet took place in the Hogan Ballroom. It was sponsored by the GAA’s Bishop Healy Committee and co-sponsored by the College and four student groups—ASIA, the BSU, LASO and MECCA. A very talented quartet from Berklee College of Music played during the hour-long reception preceding dinner. Rev. William O’Halloran, S.J., provided a beautiful invocation and later, benediction. The buffet selections were chosen from the new International Menu. As delicious as was the banquet, the hit of the evening was, as had been true the two previous years, the open mike. Both ALANA graduates-to-be and their parents spoke of challenge, of accomplishment, of pride, of gratitude and of love. Each student received a marble memento complete with the Holy Cross seal. The 150 attendees enjoyed an evening of celebration not soon to be forgotten.”

“... While Songs of Praise Swell to the Sky ...”

Reunion 2000 was the occasion of my final meeting as president of the GAA. Those who gathered on the fifth floor of Hogan were fortunate to hear reports from Frank Vellaccio, acting president and Paul Sheff, vice president for development and alumni relations. The meeting concluded with the ceremonial transfer of power to our new president, Bud McManus ’58. Join me in wishing Bud a tremendous year!

“... Thy Honored Name Shall Never Die ...”

My final honor as president was to present, at the Reunion 2000 GAA dinner, the In Hoc Signo award to three deserving alumni, Gerald M. Earls ’40, Richard F. Gibbons ’60 and Michael H. Shanahan ’78.

Thank you to so many for making this a rewarding year. I must thank Pat McCarthy ’63, director of alumni relations/executive secretary and his great staff, Kristyn LeBlanc ’94, and Joy Berry. Thanks to my mentor and friend, Stan Slowick ’74. I am so grateful for the support of Joe Reilly ’79, Elaine Mahoney ’78, Roseann Fitzgerald ’78, Paula Sasso ’78, Martha McGuane ’77 and Ed Burgess ’78. My family’s love and encouragement have sustained me. Thank you, Ed and Adam. My prayer is that Holy Cross continue to thrive, become always better and that ... Thy Honored Name shall never die, Holy Cross, O Holy Cross.




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