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The Class of ’64 Celebrates 50 Years

Alumni Weekend was held on the third weekend of September and celebrated the 50th reunion of the Class of 1964. Former classmates came together to see all of the changes at alma mater firsthand. But the most important reason for attending was best summed up by Jack Campion ’64, member of the Class of 1964 reunion committee.

“So why are we here?” asked Campion. “Perhaps to recapture the feeling of youth and immortality, the confidence that I can do anything and go anywhere. This weekend affords us a perspective about ourselves and others, and the opportunity of reconnection. As life progresses, the number of people who have known us for a long time or have known us at key moments in our lives is obviously few. This makes our reunion valuable, perhaps in ways we have not yet realized.”

A few of the highlights from the memorable weekend included a wine tasting with “The Wine Professor,” Anthony Verdoni ’64, the State of the University Luncheon, Jersey City and Saint Peter’s campus tours, the Alumni Gala and the Golden Peacock Brunch.

Alumni kicked off the weekend with a wine tasting with Verdoni. He graduated from Saint Peter’s with the Class of 1964, returned to teach classical languages and literature in 1967 and stayed with the University for another 20 years. During this time he also began to pursue a career in wine as a sommelier, wine shop owner and buyer for two department stores. He now regularly appears on the television series, “Eat! Drink! Italy! With Vic Rallo.”

At the State of the University Luncheon, Eugene J. Cornacchia, Ph.D., president of Saint Peter’s University, joined various members of the current Saint Peter’s University faculty and administration to share news about the innovative programming and historic progress taking place at the University. Panel members included Rev. Mark DeStephano, S.J., chairman and professor of the department of modern and classical languages and literature; Leonard Sciorra, director of biochemistry, biotechnology and clinical science programs for the department of applied science and technology; Joseph Quinlan, director of athletics; and Hon. Kevin G. Callahan ’69, retired New Jersey superior court judge and lecturer of criminal justice at Saint Peter’s University. The panel was moderated by Patrick Brosnan, M.D. ’64.

In addition to touring campus, John J. Hallanan III ’03, Saint Peter’s University alumni board member and Jersey City Landmarks Conservatory board member, led a guided bus tour through Jersey City.

The fun continued as alumni and their guests danced the night away at the Alumni Gala in The Duncan Family Sky Room in the Mac Mahon Student Center to the sounds of the live band, Hoi Polloi, where Jack Campion ’64, a member of the reunion committee, gave some very memorable opening remarks.

He joked about how members of his class survived a world without helmets, car seats and internet. The attendees of the Gala laughed as he talked about his forgetfulness as a senior citizen and the valuable treasures of having silver hair and gold teeth. But one of the most meaningful moments of his address was when he shared the memories of times with his classmates at Saint Peter’s.

“We knew each other when we wore jackets and ties to class every day and academic gowns our senior year,” Campion said. “We knew each other before we worked so hard to become what we are. In other words, we know each other in a way that many people don’t know us. Therefore this is a very special night for us. If you have special feelings tonight, remember that you are not alone and we are delighted to have you here.”

That evening the Class of 1964 presented Dr. Cornacchia with one of the most generous reunion gifts in University history: $645,000. As a result of this gift, a conference room in the Mac Mahon Student Center was dedicated in the honor of the Class of 1964.

The end of Alumni Reunion Weekend was celebrated with an Alumni Mass on Sunday, September 21 at St. Aedan’s: The Saint Peter’s University Church. The Most Reverend John W. Flesey ’64, celebrated the Mass with his fellow classmates. During the Mass the deceased members of the class were recognized. Following the Mass, members of the Saint Peter’s alumni community gathered back at the student center for the Golden Peacock Brunch, where the Class of ’64 was presented with award certificates and medals as they were honored as the newest members of the Golden Peacock Society.

The weekend was a tremendous success and was greatly enjoyed by all of the members of the Class of ’64 and their guests.

“I look forward to the weekend each year,” said Gloria Mercurio, executive director of alumni engagement. “It is a great time and provides us with the opportunity to meet alumni and hear such great stories as everyone reminisces about their time at Saint Peter’s and shares wonderful stories about how their lives evolved after graduation.”

Saint Peter’s would like to extend a special thank you to Daniel Toomey ’64, chair of the Class of 1964 reunion committee, and all of the members of the committee who made the celebration a success.