Letter from the President 

May 8, 2019

Dear American College Alumnus,

As we prepare to celebrate the Feast of Saint Damien on May 10th it is an opportune time to share good news from the American College.

The young men and women that make up the Saint Damien Community hosted the second Saint Damien Conference, March 22-24, 2019. Together they organized a theology and philosophy interdisciplinary gathering at the American College, on the theme of Community, Friendship, and Aloneness. The conference had four keynote speakers: 

  • Doctor Duane Williams (Liverpool Hope University), 

  • Professor Anne Vandenhoeck (KU Leuven), 

  • Professor Andrea Robiglio (KU Leuven), and 

  • Father Aldomarcio Margoto Dal Bo, SJ (KU Leuven). 

There was also an afternoon seminar led by Dr. Duane Williams, a panel presentation, including sessions led by members of the Saint Damien Community, and a Eucharistic celebration.

View the Saint Damien Community brochure on the ACAA website to learn details about being a part of this community. The community has sixteen members: thirteen students, two associate members, and a student coordinator.

In other news, Ray Collins’ letter of appeal for scholarship funds for the Saint Damien Community, dated February 3, 2019, has received over $3,200.00 in donations. If you have not yet had the opportunity to support the scholarship fund, please consider doing so this month. Visit the ACAA website, www.acaalouvain.org/annual-dues, to download the dues form, which also has a check item for the Scholarship Fund and mail it to: 

Bill Wegher 

ACAA, Treasurer 

11804 S Saginaw Street 

Grand Blanc, MI 48439 

Make the check to ACAA and be sure to write Scholarship Fund in the memo line.

The Board is currently collaborating with members about a future reunion on the West Coast. When details are confirmed information will be made available. In the meantime, reach out to your classmates, encourage them to support the Saint Damien Scholarship fund, and invite them to update their profile on the ACAA website. Together we can encourage young scholars in theology, philosophy, and canon law to share the gift of education at KU Leuven and Universite Catholique de Louvain with the wider Church.


Tuck Grinnell (AC’74)

President, ACAA

Letter from the President 

    February 20, 2019

Dear American College Alumnus, 

We had a great Alumni Meeting last month (January 14-17) at the San Pedro Center in Winter Park, Florida. All told 24 alumni participated. The meeting combined a lot of fun with interesting talks and solid discernment and discussions about the future of the ACAA as well as the DAMIEN COMMUNITY at the American College.

John Borelli gave two fascinating talks about the development of the documents on Ecumenism and Nostrae Aetate before and during Vatican II. Tony Bawyn gave a talk about the use of Internal Forum. Bill Weiskopf lead two different discussions: one using a video by Richard Rohr and another using the book Integral Christianity by Paul R. Smith. Every one of the talks and discussions were really engaging.

All was not study and intellectual growth. There was time to: golf—to go to Universal Studios—to view the Louis Comfort Tiffany collection at the Morse Museum—to take a guided tour of the Albin Polasek Sculpture Museum—and to just “veg out” in the Florida weather.

At the alumni business meeting we reached a number of decisions. Joseph Arsenault was elected secretary of our American College Alumni Association and David Norris was elected vice president of our American College Alumni Association. After a discussion about the DAMIEN COMMUNITY, it was decided that one of the priorities of the ACAA in the future should be to support with scholarship money American students who want to pursue Religious Studies, Canon Law, or Philosophy at Louvain. To fulfill this year’s commitment to provide sufficient scholarship money, the alumni voted to transfer $10,000 to our bank account in Europe. There is a committee of alumni who will review and recommend candidates from the DAMIEN community to receive the scholarships. The final decision will remain with the full ACAA board. 

After an extended discussion of the future of the ACAA lead by Tony Bawyn, it was decided that the ACAA would continue to sponsor annual or regional meetings as we have in the past (the next reunion in 2020 will be in FRESNO, California). It was also decided that, we as an organization, would continue to make support of the scholarship program our very high priority. When we can no longer support the scholarship program, that would be the end of the ACAA as an association. 

Attached to this email is an appeal by Ray Collins for support the Scholarship program (click this link to the letter or scroll down to read it in this e-mail.) I intend to support this appeal with my own tax deductible annual gift, (checks may be sent to: Rev. William F. Wegher. ACAA, Treasurer. 11804 S Saginaw Street. Grand Blanc, MI 48439.) I am so thankful for the people from Virginia who supported my theological education at the American College that I want others to share the same blessing.

Tuck Grinnell (AC, ’74)

President ACAA  

Letter from the President

October 10, 2018

Dear Alumnus,

I am Tuck Grinnell (AC’74)—the new president of the American College Alumni Association (ACAA-CUL). I write to you today to invite you to the January 14-17, 2019 ACAA Alumni Meeting at the San Pedro Retreat Center in Winter Park, Florida (near Orlando). The meeting and program will be a balance of fun, learning, and discernment. This is a great opportunity to get away from the winter cold and meet with friends and fellow American College alumni.

We have a three-day program planned with the possibility of adding an additional day (Sunday, January 13th) if you would like to arrive early. I myself plan to make the meeting part of a more extended visit to Florida. I encourage you to do the same it your schedule permits.

Our program will begin formally with “check-in” at 4:30 pm on MONDAY, JANUARY 14. Vespers at 5:30 pm—dinner and introductions at 6:00 pm, with a talk and discussion to follow: The Catholic Church and its Irreversible Commitment to Ecumenism by John Borelli at 7:30pm. The evening will end with a social time.

TUESDAY, JANUARY 15 there will be Mass at 7:30 am—followed by breakfast at 8 am. At 9 am there will be a second talk and discussion: Nostra Aetate and Interreligious Relations by John Borelli. At 10:30 am there will be a talk and discussion: on Challenges in Seminary Formation in the 21st Century by Ferdi Santos (AC’98), 12 noon is lunch.

In the afternoon there are 5 options:

1) A group tour of the Morse Museum in Winter Park (with the largest collection of the Louis Comfort Tiffany art) www.morsemuseum.org

2) Golf in at the Winter Park Golf Course--$16 for 9-hole, plus $7 to repeat with $10 pp charge for the golf cart

3) A Video seminar by Richard Rohr on Experiencing the Faith in the 21st century conducted by Bill Weiskopf (AC’67) with discussion

4) A visit to Disney World—Magic Kingdom $117 or Epcot $109

5) A group tour of the Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens in Winter Park (Albin Polasek was one of the most heralded sculptors of the 20th century including many religious sculptures in Catholic Churches) www.polasek.org

For those who want there will be dinner at 6 pm followed by a talk and discussion: The Use of Internal Forum given by Tony Bawyn (AC’82) at 7 pm. The evening will end with a social time beginning at 8 pm

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 16 there will be morning prayer at 7:30 am—breakfast; at 8 am—A group discernment on the future of the ACAA; at 9:15 am A group discernment and discussion of the Damien Community and the granting of KUL scholarships; at 10:30 am We will have the Business Meeting of the ACAA. Lunch will be at noon.

In the afternoon there are 4 options: All of the options listed above except #4--the visit to Disney.

At 5 pm there will be the Alumni Mass at 6 pm followed by the Alumni Banquet and an evening of fellowship.

THURSDAY, JANUARY 17 there will be Mass at 7:30 am; followed by Breakfast at 8:00 am—Check-out at 11 am.

COST OF REUNION: $475 single room occupancy; $350 double room occupancy. January 14-17

--Additional night (Sunday January 13) + $100

--greens fees for golf and entrance for Disney are "not included” in above price

CLOSEST AIRPORT: Orlando International Airport - (Airport code is: MCO)

SHUTTLE TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS: (Contact one of the following to arrange a roundtrip ride from the airport to the retreat center) Super Shuttle (800-258-3826); Premier Royal (800-939-7517); Joe's Airport Taxi (407-749-4201); Orlando Airport Transportation (407-777-87150)

For more information:

Register Now for the 2019 ACAA Reunion and Meeting!

Join me in January for a glorious time!!

Tuck Grinnell, AC ‘73

President ACAA

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)