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SMC Alumnae Association hosts “Welcome Home” tailgate

Abigail Forney | Monday, September 19, 2011

Saint Mary’s Alumnae Association invited alumnae and students to tailgate on campus Saturday morning as a way to say, “Welcome Home.”

“Alumnae can come and see people they know and meet new people,” Dawn Parker, a 1981 graduate and lead organizer of the event, said.

Saturday marked the Alumni “Welcome Home” Tailgate’s third year, and the turnout was much better than last year, according to Shari Rodriguez, vice president of College Relations.

“Last year it rained, so everyone came and stayed inside, but now people are coming and going, and there are a lot more students here,” Rodriguez said at the event.

Parker said the tailgate was a fun way to end a week full of annual board meetings and panels that had a more serious tone, both for the Alumnae Board and students. It also provides a necessary resource for current students.

“Students don’t realize that alumnae want to help,” Liz Leeuw, a senior and student chair on the Alumnae Board, said.

As alumnae and current students mingled, alumnae expressed interest in students’ majors and career goals, giving advice and providing the names of other alumnae students might contact.

“I never thought that I’d be president of the Dallas Alumnae Club when I was in school. I couldn’t look that far in the future,” alumna Linda Kawecki, a 1979 graduate, said.

Some students said the conversations they had with alumnae were invaluable.

“It’s really good to know [the alumnae stories] because I’m scared, and I have no idea what I’m going to do,” junior Theresa Nucciarone said.

The Alumnae Association has started a mentor program and also works with the Career Crossings Office to maintain a database of graduates, in addition to a page on LinkedIn, Parker added.

Not all talk was business. Kawecki said she and others came to the tailgate and caught up with roommates on their time at Saint Mary’s, telling current students stories from when they lived on campus.

The alumnae added that it was good to be back on campus amid the various activities the weekend provided.

“It would be weird to be on campus and be lazy,” 2005 graduate Sarah Brown said.

The event also provided food and drink for everyone, including many Notre Dame alumni. Future Belles dressed in Saint Mary’s cheerleading uniforms. Bellacapella, the campus acapella group, also performed, singing popular songs and ending with “The Notre Dame Victory March” and “The Bells of Saint Mary’s.”

President Carol Ann Mooney addressed the alumni after Bellacapella’s performance. “Welcome home, please come visit often,” she said. “You bring the party to us. Welcome home to Saint Mary’s.”