Hail O Georgetown!

May 22, 2007

Over 20 years ago, I had the pleasure of working at the Georgetown Alumni Association for then Executive Director John Courtin '70. A former GU rower and Dad Vail gold medalist, John is a big picture -- vision kind of guy. One day he returned from a retreat with other top University leaders with a book in-hand that he shared with his staff. Titled The Idea of a University, it was a volume of lectures by John Henry Cardinal Newman, an influential 19th century English prelate, who after converting from Anglicanism to Catholicism, served for a time as rector of University College Dublin. I had the opportunity to reflect on passages of this text during our annual Alumni staff retreat. One relevant quotation still resonates with me: " A University is, according to the usual designation, an Alma Mater, knowing her children one by one, not a foundry, or a mint, or a treadmill." Indeed, a worthy ideal for all involved in higher education today.

Recently, I attended two season-ending athletic dinners. The first celebrated the men's basketball team. It was attended by over 400 students, alumni, parents, administrators, coaches, and fans at the Leavey Conference Center. It was a wonderful gathering of all elements of the Georgetown community. Hoya MC nonpareil Joe Lonardo presided with his usual panache and humor. President Jack DeGioia spoke eloquently of the impressive year of basketball just completed and assisted in presenting varsity letters to the team members. National coach of the year John Thompson III offered observations on his third season on the Hilltop, easily one of the best ever in school history. Seniors reflected upon their experiences and expressed thanks for their Georgetown education as it was drawing to a close.

The Master: Joseph P. Lonardo `69

Former manager Mike Gilroy & brother James with Fr. Jim Walsh, SJ

Law school prof Peter and Barbara Ann Weidenbruch with Roy Hibbert and family friend

Head coach John Thompson

Varsity letter presentation: AD Bernard Muir, Hoop Club prez Al Bozzo '85, assistant coach Kevin Broadus, graduate manager Martin Bahar, university president Jack DeGioia, coach John Thompson

Joe Lonardo, Al Bozzo, and John Thompson make a special presentation to Hoya Blue president Kurt Muhlbauer `07

But easily the highlight of the evening for me were the prefatory comments provided by coach Kevin Broadus as he introduced each player to receive their varsity letter. Now the head coach at Binghamton University, Kevin was an assistant again for the evening and he spoke to and about each player as though no one else was listening. Of course, everyone was all ears to get this inside glimpse of individual team members.

The second dinner celebrated the men's golf team. This one had maybe 30 attendees, including nine team members, the coach, three athletic staffers, and the remainder were parents. This was an intimate evening hosted by former golf team parent, GU alum and adjunct professor, Tim McBride, at Congressional Country Club. The sense of family continuity was further aided both by dinner MC and previous golf parent, Eli Farrah and by current senior parent Gerry Kenny '71, who spoke both of his own and his father's experiences as former Hoya golfers.

Tim McBride, father of golf alum Adam '04, welcomed the golf team and families to Congressional

Becky and Tony Busa joined their son Matt '07 at the golf dinner

Longtime head coach Tom Hunter congratulated his players for a good year, despite not reaching all their goals. The three seniors were each given their moment to say thanks and farewell to their teammates and the program. There were many moments of strong emotions but none more powerful than Tom's presentation of varsity letters to each of his players. As with coach Broadus, coach Hunter revealed to the much smaller audience his personal recollections and feelings about each team member. As Cardinal Newman would have said, "Cor ad cor loquitor." (Heart speaks to heart).

Golf team alum and Hoya dad Gerry Kenny '71 (son Dan) spoke to the team following dinner

Dan Kenny '07 and his fellow seniors offered parting comments to their teammates

Patrick Sherry '09 receives his varsity letter from coach Hunter

Senior Tim Moynihan with parents Jerry and Jan

And these were just two of many similar special evenings provided for Hoya student-athletes during the 2006-2007 school year. They were both very special to me because what I witnessed was simply ". . . an Alma Mater, knowing her children one by one . . . "

A worthy ideal indeed!

Associate AD Kyle Ragsdale with Hoya golf parents Maureen and Phil Kenny (son Rory)

2007 Hoya golf team: (front) Dan Kenny, Matt Busa, Tim Moynihan; (standing) coach Tom Hunter, Patrick Sherry, Tim Hager, David Praet, Rory Kenny, Donald Thomas, Vincenzo Salina (missing: Trevor Matese)




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