Letter from the President

Thanksgiving 2017

Dear Alumni,

As the holiday season approaches I send you greetings and best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving.

I am happy to share with you information about the activity of our Association in the past few months, especially news about the 2018 Mini Reunion and the 2019 Reunion.

First of all, I want to extend congratulations to Bishop-Elect Mark Spalding, who was recently named the 12th Bishop of Nashville.  In addition to being an American College alumnus Mark has a distinguished pedigree, including Archbishop John Spalding, who was Bishop of Louisville in 1850 and later became 7th Archbishop of Baltimore.  Best wishes, Mark, as you begin your ministry in Nashville!

Also, we are pleased that Jack Dick and Bob Flannery were able to attend the dedication of the Heritage Project displays held on November 9th at the American College.  While there, they met with Saint Damien Project students and members of the respective faculties.

Concerning upcoming events, I am sure you recall from this year's business meeting that, since we will gather in Florida in early 2019, no regular-length Reunion will be held in 2018.  Instead, officers and alumni will gather at the Washington Retreat House in Washington, DC from September 24-26, 2018 for a Mini Reunion.  Tuck Grinnell has a nice program set up for those who can attend.  The board meeting will take place late Tuesday afternoon with the possibility of a visit to the new African American Museum that morning and Mass, dinner and a lecture that evening.  There will be time on Wednesday morning for a trip to the Saint John Paul II Center and the event will conclude with lunch.

Bill Weiskopf has already done great work planning for the 2019 Reunion.  He announces that we will be at the San Pedro Center in Winter Park, Florida, from January 14-17, 2019.  It will be possible for attendees to arrive a day early.  Bill hopes to include some notable speakers as part of the program.  Since both this Reunion and the smaller one in 2018 are scheduled close together, I am sharing this information now in order to encourage you to consider coming to both or at least one event.

One final detail, the KU Leuven was recently designated by Reuters as the most innovative university in Europe for the second consecutive year.  Proficiat!

God bless you as we begin the holy season of Advent!

Fraternally yours in Christ,

Anthony Bawyn ('82)

 

Letter from the President

September 1, 2017

Dear Alumni,

The chapel resounded with the music of “What is This Place?” and “All Are Welcome” as the 2017 American College Alumni Reunion commenced on Sunday evening August 6th.  President Chris Fusco led this year’s participants in a short prayer service to begin a wonderful week together in celebration of the 160th anniversary of the American College.  Moments before, many of us were shown to our rooms in the recently renovated buildings of the College now under the direction of KU Leuven, and after the service the entire group gathered in the former dining room and gardens for a reception and buffet dinner.  By the time we dispersed for the evening we all knew that much had changed since the closing of the College as our seminary, but it was clear that we still felt “welcome” in “this place.”

 As the new president of the Alumni Association I am pleased to extend greetings to all of you and share a few memories from this year’s reunion.  Our secretary, John Kleinwachter, has already posted on the website an excellent, detailed summary of our days together, and Mark Moitoza has already posted photographs taken by John Steffen.  Because John’s summary takes us through the events of the week, I’ll limit my remarks to a few impressions and words of thanks.

It comes as no surprise that the alumni present for this reunion spanned several generations and decades of life at the American College.  Realistically, although we know that our numbers will no longer grow and that we are not getting any younger, I was most impressed with how vibrant our group is, how interested everyone was to be together and how everyone contributed to the success of the reunion.  The same spirit of helpfulness and personal caring we all knew from our student years I discovered again as participants pitched in with practical details, showed up promptly for events, invited others to join their group for dinner or a visit to the café, responded charitably to medical emergencies and basically demonstrated a generosity of heart.

Since this year’s reunion was held in Leuven, I especially commend Jack Dick for his hard work organizing all the details locally so that everything was ready for us when we arrived in Belgium.  Obviously, choosing to meet in Belgium means having a longer reunion and broader program than when our reunion is held in North America.  Jack did a superb job lining up catering at the College, accommodations at the hotels, special excursions, the banquet, liturgical ministers and, of course, arranging a full program of continuing education and securing speakers who could tell us about the new life at the American College.  I also want to thank Joske Dick who not only greeted us on Sunday and attended some of the other events but who, no doubt, helped Jack in many ways.

I also want to thank our outgoing President, Chris Fusco, who did so much to take care of our organizational structure during his term.  This past year he overhauled the bylaws, facilitated communication with Leuven concerning the Heritage Project and chaired a very productive annual meeting.  In addition to Past President, Bob Flannery, who completes his three-year term on the Board, I want to acknowledge that Chris who is finishing his term now in order to provide the Board with a staggered number of Trustees in accord with the new bylaws.  Thanks to you both.

 Looking forward now, I note that during the business meeting the members not only voted to approve the revised bylaws and to continue supporting the work of the Saint Damien Committee, they also unanimously approved the slate of nominees with Tuck Grinnell chosen as Vice-President/President-Elect and John Soares chosen as At-Large Member.  As already reported by John Kleinwachter in his report, our next reunion will be in the Orlando area thanks to leadership from Bill Weiskopf.  Although we often schedule our reunions in June, I am sure most will agree that going to Florida in the winter is an attractive alternative.  In view of this, there will be no reunion scheduled for the 2018 calendar year.  Instead, in order to comply with the bylaws, Vice-President Tuck Grinnell will host a meeting of the Board of Trustees in the Washington DC area in the fall of 2018 to which all alumni will be invited.  Then, after the 2019 reunion, John Griesbach and Ken Weare will host the 2020 reunion in California at a time and place to be determined.  Thanks to everyone for your generosity.

In conclusion, I am honored to be your President this year, and I trust that you will share your thoughts and ideas about the future the American College Alumni Association with me and other Board members.  I am confident that we will continue to remain viable as an association because of the great spirit that I saw a few weeks ago, a spirit that brings hope to our Church.

Fraternally yours in Christ,

Anthony Bawyn (’82)