Alumni and family weekend 2019

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Photo by Anthony Mazur

This past weekend from Oct. 3 to6, graduates of the University of Dallas were invited back to their alma mater for Alumni and Family Weekend. While all former students were welcome to visit, UD especially welcomed the class years ending in ’9 and ’4 to attend their class reunions in Dallas. 

The oldest class of 1974 celebrated its 45th class reunion; the youngest class of 2014 observed its fifth class reunion this year. 

Madeline Respeliers, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies and Spanish in 2014, participated in Alumni and Family weekend after hearing about her class reunion dinner on Facebook through the 2014 Class Representative. 

She was not impressed, however, with the schedule offered during the weekend nor with the $25 registration fee for the reunion dinner. The general registration fee for the whole weekend was $45.

“There wasn’t actually that much on the schedule,” Respeliers said. Although Respeliers lives and teaches in Dallas, this class reunion dinner was among the first official UD events she attended. “Part of the reason why I came was because I live in town, but if I lived out of town, I don’t know if [the Alumni weekend] would be enough to fly in for.” 

The UD alumni relations office offered hotel deals at the Omni Mandalay Hotel and the Aloft at Las Colinas for alumni traveling to Dallas for reunions.

Respeliers visited campus on Saturday afternoon for the Student Career Networking (Ice Cream) Social with Alumni and stayed until the reunion dinner for the class of 2014. She knows of classmates within Dallas who were unable to attend the dinner because they have kids.

“The dinner is not really a kid-friendly event,” Respeliers said. The meal consisted of a buffet dinner, beer, wine and non-alcoholic beverages. While the bounce houses and crafts center on the mall provided entertainment for kids during the day, Respeliers said that there are not any activities for children in the afternoon. 

The UD alumni were offered several opportunities from Thursday to Saturday to re-experience life on the UD campus. The events officially began on Thursday, kicking off with a “Return to Rome” dinner inspired by the UD Rome experience and a Disney Quizbowl TGIT. 

On Friday, various Core classes were open to the alumni, particularly English, philosophy and theology classes. The third annual American Public Philosophy Institute I Alumni Family Weekend Seminar, featuring a talk by UD professors Dr. Charles Sullivan and Gladden Pappin entitled  “Election 2020: The State of the Parties.”

Students were provided a free meal at the welcome dinner on the Mall on Friday starting at 6 p.m. Following the dinner, alumni could choose to attend Open Art Studios in the Art Gallery, explore other parts of campus such as the Meziere Observatory or stay on the Mall to listen to live music from UD bands. 

Saturday was the busiest day of the weekend, offering various lectures from UD professors and a presidential address from Dr. Hibbs, himself an alumnus, at 11 a.m. 

The popular UD Rugby Alumni game occurred on the Rugby pitch at 3 p.m., followed by a Mass for married couples. Class reunion dinners started at 6 p.m. at various locations in Dallas. 

Andrew Farley celebrated his 20th reunion over the weekend and attended a reunion dinner.

“One of the best moments was actually meeting all the Golden Crusaders at the Golden Crusaders dinner,” said Farley. 

“It was incredibly inspirational to me because these are the people that totally gambled on UD 54 years ago when we were just a two-building college. Meeting those ppl and being able to talk to them and just thank them … sincerely thank them was incredible …  and just to share the commonality we all as alumni of the University of Dallas was a fantastic experience.” 

The Golden Crusaders are the former UD students who graduated in 1969 and had their 50th reunion this year. 

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