Sunday, June 03, 2007

Heading Back To Cabrini

Mansion_front009 Last night I headed back to Cabrini for my 15th reunion, a poorly promoted, but nicely-executed dinner for the 12 or so members of the Class of 1992 who decided to gather.  It was a pretty pathetic showing, but still a fun time.  Four members of the Loquitur 1990-91 Editorial Board made the trip, and three of us live within five miles of each other here in South Jersey.  Carlo "The Chief" Iacono, Jen Morrison Naddeo, Managing Editor, Frank Emmerich, Photography Editor and myself were there representing the '92 paper people. 

Traveling the furthest for the festivities was Mary Shimkus Keinz, who was in town from Utah.  Jacqui Ricci Seeton came over the bridge from NJ.  Kathleen Finerty Sardi also made an appearance with my first college roommate and her husband Marco Sardi.  Aside from the silver gilt hair, Marco hasn't changed a bit and it was a pleasant surprise to see him.

Also in attendance were my girlfriend, who spent a lot of time talking to Carlo's wife Anne.  Dr. Angie Corbo, Class of '90,  is Frank's better half.  We also enjoyed the company of Lisa Lipar Schweitzer and Trish Greib, Class of '93, who were escaping kids and husbands for the dinner.  Bob Walter, '05, made us all laugh when he introduced himself as 'young.'  Dude, when you're trying to hit on somewhat older women, avoid noting the age difference.

A few of the faculty and staff dropped in.  Doc Girard held court as usual.  Marilyn Johnson hasn't changed a bit.  Toni "I am busy ruining this college" Iadarola didn't bother to stay for dinner. I enjoyed my conversation with Nancy Costello about how I was struggling with the place that Cabrini has become and what it did to John Dzik.  I'm not sure she understands, but I wasn't really tying to articulate it very well.

A couple of thoughts came out of the visit. 

First, the mansion, designed as by Horace Trumbauer is a wonderful building and setting, but is being severely neglected.  The floors are warping, the fixtures are aging badly and the basement is taking water.  They need to do something fast before the centerpiece of the campus falls into ruin.

Second, the turnout was a tragedy.  I'm not sure if it was because it was poorly promoted, or because so many of the alums remain disaffected, or because it's not a particularly interesting dinner, but 25 people for a reunion dinner was awful.  I hear the young alumni beef and beer on Friday night was better attended.  Perhaps more folks went today to the mass and breakfast.  The Mansion event used to be the signature event of the weekend and it has obviously fallen off to the point that it needs to be revitalized or scrapped.

Third, it was pathetic that the college's president didn't stay for dinner.  Jolyon Girard was left to make  a brief statement that Toni Iadarola had left for the night.  One can only hope the college will survive until she leaves office.

Fourth, we all had some fun.  Both last night and 'back in the day.'  While I know it got old for the spouses and guests, we all had a great time reminiscing and telling stories about our youthful indiscretions.   Thankfully Marco was gentle in his story telling and my girlfriend if very accommodating!

Finally, I wandered through the mansion and realized how much I missed seeing some people.  John Dzik should have been able to be there, but I don't think he feels welcome anymore, despite his status as an honorary alum.  Denise Edwards was never far from our thoughts and I wish we had not lost her back in December of 1992.  The House 7 Mafia was somewhat represented, but we need to do our own thing I think.

All in all, no one has changed much.  We were good friends back then and we easily let the years melt away and slipped back into that mode.  We were most interested in talking about our kids and how wild we used to be. Our kids are all wonderful and we were wilder than we wanted to admit.

See you all in 5 years!


Hillary Chybinski said...

glad to hear you went - i felt the same way for mine a few years back. . .Nancy C is good people - as are the current Alumni Board - they want to bring people back, and are more than willing to listen to ideas of how to accomplish that. . .they'd love to have youre input - I'm sure!
it's a beautiful place and the memories are what helped shaped us into who we are today - for that I am eternally grateful.
happy monday!

John Mack said...

I can bear witness that the turnout was better for the young alumni beef and beer on Friday night... over 50 people from a large range of classes. As far as the mansion gathering, 12 people is rather embarrassing, I know that we as the alumni board will probably address that for next year. It’s pretty sad that when an ‘official’ alumni event is that poorly attended. I am unsure as to why the turnout was too low, could be the de-emphasizing of the class agents, who we rely on to help us get the word out for the events. I do know that the class agent issue is another thing that is on the docket for the alumni board to address…hopefully this will help get the word out more efficiently in the future. I also know that we are attempting to get approval from the college to use other communication means such as MySpace, and also advocating a re-vamping of the college’s alumni website, so hopefully these will help us as well with future events.
It is great though that you were able to get together with (some) of your classmates....Toni Iadarola should be embarrassed that she did not stay for the dinner, and that she could not say so herself to the group, come to think of it she was not at the Young Alumni beef n beer either when I was there (for the last hour), which is kind of odd, but not surprising given her track record at Alumni gatherings....
As far as John Dzik goes it is sad that someone who is such a large part of what Cabrini is (and should still be) doesn’t feel welcome on campus-- a tragedy. I could go on for days and days on how Cabrini screwed John Dzik and all of us as basketball alumni as a result, but in the interest of time I’ll just say that Cabrini, specifically the athletic department should have been careful what they wished for… contrary to what “Spirit of Cabrini Athletics” Lysionek and Dr. Danehy would lead you to believe, all is not well in Cavalier-land and what’s left of their PAC conference… It’s admirable that you, Chris, still come back to events that mean something to you, I know personally that how John Dzik was treated (and continues to be treated by the school) is a large issue for me, and is an issue for many other alumni, not just basketball alumni. But as Coach will say, it’s our school as alumni, so that’s why I continue on…. These ‘decision makers’ at the college will be gone soon, and Coach will always be welcome on campus by those who matter—the alumni of the college.

Chris said...

Johnn Mack -
I'm not sure if was admirable or not, but I sure appreciate you words. I was left with a vaguely uneasy feeling about Cabrini at the end of the night. We were all there to see each other. I'm not sure how much CABRINI had to do with that.
As for those who stayed away becasue of the SICK, HORRIBLE and DISGUSTING things that have been done by the administration of the College over the last dozen or so years, well I can't say I blame them.

John Mack said...

I don't doubt that some alums stayed away for many reasons- the funny thing is that when Cabrini let John Dzik go, they let one of their biggest drawing cards for the alumni walk with him...and the funny thing is that they had him on the staff in IA (only to let him go because they forced him to take personal time to tend to the basketball team). My proof for this is the BB Alumni Beef n beer we hold every year- this year we had over 100 people-- they came for one reason- to see Coach. At 25 dollars a head that would have been $2500 for the college, not chump change. That's what's most insane about this administration, they will let a petty jealous grudge override common sense. I guess that's why the former henchperson (er henchwoman in the Cabrini world) in IA is now looking to 'go and grow' as Toni likes to say.... someone had to take the fall for Toni's mistake. Twelve years of the dictatorship is definately plenty- too bad the bricks and buildings can't pay for themselves....just bad business all around. I could cite more examples, just let me say thank God that Cabrini is a non-profit organization not a business......