The Office of Student Life held its first annual Heritage Brunch and Pinning Reception, which brought together parents, alumni and current students to celebrate the heritage and legacy of the University of Dallas.
The brunch was held in Haggar Cafe from 10-11 a.m. on Sunday Oct. 4, near the end of Alumni and Family Weekend.
Students who attended received free brunch and an official University of Dallas Legacy Pin. Some came for the free food, others for the pins. President Thomas Keefe addressed the attendees in a speech about UD’s growing significance in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.
“We are the best-kept secret in DFW,” Keefe said.
Keefe also referenced a poll conducted in July by the Dallas Business Journal that asked readers which university they considered the top school in DFW.
Southern Methodist University received 41 percent of the votes, while UD came in second with 36 percent, well ahead of other schools such as the University of Texas at Dallas and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, which had 5 and 3 percent, respectively.
“People are recognizing what an incredible university this is,” Keefe said. “We are now a hot commodity.”
Alumni-turned-faculty Dr. Eileen Gregory of the English department, ‘68, and Associate Provost Dr. John Norris, ‘84, delivered brief remarks about what they considered the university’s legacy.
Gregory spoke to the quality of students as UD’s defining characteristic. “They are smart, high achievers and seekers of truth,” Gregory said. “They have a certain generosity of spirit — an intellectual generosity, a spiritual generosity.”
Norris spoke not only of the resilience of students at UD under demanding workloads, but also of their willingness to engage in dialogue with others about subjects simple and complicated in any situation.
“To put me in jail over Charity Week, my students each had to write a commandment about UD,” Norris said. “One … wrote, ‘Thou shalt talk about everything, anywhere, all the time.’”
Juniors Sydney Standa, Maggie Dostalik and Jeanne LaGarde enjoyed the event but thought it could have been better executed.
“I thought by ‘brunch,’ they meant cafeteria brunch food,” Standa said. “So I was a little disappointed.”
Other students initially thought the event would be held in Upstairs Haggar rather than in the Cafe.
Mass times conflicted with the brunch as well, especially since 9 a.m. Mass at the Church of the Incarnation ended late.
Dostalik pointed out that the time of the event was inconvenient for students planning to attend 11 a.m. Mass, as well.
The three agreed that the event, while an excellent idea for a new university tradition that should continue, could benefit from better planning in the future.
“It seemed last-minute,” LaGarde said. “It didn’t really feel like an event.”
Their suggestions included more speakers and less of an open forum, which would perhaps draw more attendees and keep the event from ending less awkwardly, since no former or current students accepted the invitation to speak about the university’s heritage.