alumni/ae and friends:
As I write this letter, members
of the Class of 1999 have recently joined our alumni body
and the annual Reunion Weekend has just concluded. The photos
on the front and back covers of this magazine reflect those
mirror images. And, it's a fair bet that the dazzling blur
of energy that is college does tremble in the memories of
many recent graduates and more seasoned alumni. We offer
you photo montages of both events (see News from the Hill,
GAA and Advancement sections) in an attempt to convey the
emotion and joy of those days.
I had a unique opportunity during Reunion Weekend to attend the dinner for
the 50th reunion class where the men were inducted into the Purple Knights.
My late father, Jim Buckley, was a proud member of that group - the Class of
1949 - so my mother, Barbara, and I attended the dinner. A total of 15 widows
of members of the class returned for reunion to see old friends and to honor
their husbands' strong relationships with Holy Cross.
Despite inevitable changes in the College - and changes in themselves - in
the 50-plus years since these men came up Linden Lane, they are still passionate
about this place. They wear lots of purple, know all of the words to Mamie
Reilly, and are fiercely proud that Fr. John Brooks (president emeritus) is
their classmate. They personify loyalty.
I think I can explain it but, occasionally, I wonder why so many alumni of
Holy Cross are so very loyal to alma mater - much more than the graduates
of many other schools. Our unique mission statement, the Jesuit/Catholic nature,
the high academic standards - all offer possible clues to understanding the
intensity of our bonds to Holy Cross. But, it may have more to do with the
friendships formed here - relationships that are, in the case of the '49ers, going strong after more
than 50 years. There's something special about this "Hill of Pleasant Springs
and lumpy mattresses," as my father called it. There's something illusive and
indescribable that forges remarkable and enduring loyalty.
Speaking of classmates, I want to share with you good news
about my comrade from the Class of '81, the editor of this
publication, Jack O'Connell. His genuine modesty would never
permit him to mention it in these pages, so I will. Jack's
new book, Word Made Flesh (HarperCollins), is in bookstores
and is earning critical acclaim. It is his fourth novel and,
I feel certain, not his last. Writer James Ellroy says, "Jack
O'Connell is the future of the dark, literary suspense novel." Congratulations,
Kathy Buckley McNamara '81
Holy Cross Magazine