News from the Nest
Written by: Jeff Dann, '74

From the NUAA President

Dear fellow alumni,

Warmer weather has finally arrived on Monteagle Ridge, and with it comes another frenetic end to the school year. I was asked, in my role as president of the Alumni Association, to offer some remarks at the commencement ceremonies and officially welcome the graduates as our newest members. It is a privilege to put on a cap and gown and sit on the platform with our distinguished deans, honorees, and members of administration as part of the ceremonies.

In my remarks, I noted that my wife, Maureen, and I were also celebrating our 40th graduation anniversary and shared our experience since graduation in a five-minute countdown. Judging from the audience’s laughter and tears, I think they liked it:

“Allow me a few minutes to share with you our life’s journey since we sat in your seats over 40 years ago:

• In our 20s we started careers, got married and started a family.

• In our 30s we raised a young family while juggling careers, sometimes putting them on hold and making sacrifices — like staying in on Saturday night watching lousy TV shows like Love Boat and Fantasy Island. No “on-demand” or Netflix then!

• In our 40s our careers were put on autopilot while we navigated the dreaded eight-year time warp all parents experience, including your parents: The time from the end of grammar school to the end of college; a time you thought would never end and then all of a sudden it’s over and you find yourself sitting on a gymnasium bench on a morning in May watching your son or daughter transform into an adult as a college graduate. It then hits you and you think – it was worth it. The first it is, of course, your son or daughter here today. The second it is your parents’ personal journey of challenges, sacrifices, and unconditional love they willing gave to make this moment happen for you today. They won’t share their it with you — it’s too personal, it’s too private — so just hug them again today and say thanks!

• In our 50s we became empty nesters and watched our children launch and sometimes re-launch their careers, pursue relationships, and get married.

• We begin the 60s repeating the circle of life by juggling our careers again; this time to travel to see our kids. We now look forward to staying in on Saturday night with our granddaughter. We just might rent some old episodes of Love Boat and Fantasy Island on Netflix just to get even!”

My two-year term as president is in the home stretch and ends after Alumni Weekend (Oct. 9-12) when our president-elect, Frank Fiannaca, ’85, takes the helm. In the meantime, we have a summer filled with alumni events, so watch for the announcements in our monthly newsletter as well as in email blasts.

Finally, a brief note about the Office of Alumni Engagement, the NU professional staff who make the Alumni Association happen while working with its volunteer leadership. Christine O’Hara, ’86, M.S.Ed.’01, and her staff have done an outstanding job this past year. Here are a few of their accomplishments:

• The number of alumni events almost doubled.

• The number of attendees increased from 2,341 in 2013 to 3,579 in 2014.

• The Niagara Fund raised $925,000, which is slightly more than the previous year.

• The President’s Scholarship Dinner raised over $155,000, and the new NU Alumni Legacy Scholarship Fund received $7,000 to start the endowment.

• NU’s president, the Rev. James Maher, C.M., visited 25 chapters during his national tour.

Enjoy the summer, travel safely, and make memories to share with your classmates at your next next milestone reunion. I am looking forward to celebrating my 40th this October.