Crowd of 1,200 attends inaugural Spirit Day at Dominican

Ceremonies to celebrate the historic Edgehill Mansion renovation project and the traditional Procession of the Class Shields highlighted “Convocation 2009: Dominican Spirit Day” on Saturday, September 26, as Dominican University of California commemorated the official beginning of the school year.

The family-friendly event attracted a crowd of about 1,200, including students, families, alumni, faculty, staff, neighbors and the community.

In addition, Dominican hosted three athletic events against new opponents in the Pacific West Conference as the Penguins begin their inaugural season of competition in NCAA Division II.

Spirit Day festivities began with the Mass of the Holy Spirit at Magnolia House.

At 10 a.m., Dominican staged mock classroom experiences at four locations on its San Rafael campus:

At Creekside Room, Suresh Appavoo, EdD, School of Education and Counseling Psychology,  hosted "Culture and Communication in the Classroom."

In Science Center, Maggie Louie, PhD, School of Health and Natural Sciences,  hosted "Breast Cancer and the Environment."

At Meadowlands Assembly Hall, Matt Davis, PhD, School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, hosted "Disaster Psychology: Why We Live in Dangerous Places."

In Guzman Hall 201, Denise Lucy, EdD, School of Business and Leadership,  hosted "Effective Team Leadership."

In the Guzman Lecture Hall, Francoise Lepage, PhD, School of Business and Leadership, hosted "The Anatomy of Political Disagreements: or, `Why Don't People Agree With Me?' "

President Joseph R. Fink delivered his welcoming speech on Anne Hathaway Lawn in the heart of campus followed by the procession of class shields, 62 international flags and a bagpiper.

A blessing was given to the 122-year-old Edgehill Mansion, which is undergoing a major renovation. It will be transformed into the Dominican Heritage and Alumni House featuring the St. Catherine Benincasa Chapel.

Constructed in 1887, Edgehill Mansion served as the main house on the estate owned by the William Babcock family but, in 1920, the Dominican Sisters purchased the property and used the 19th century Victorian house as a residence hall and dining hall.  Later the 14,000-square foot, three-story structure was converted into classrooms and office and a preschool that operated for more than 50 years.

After the Edgehill renovation celebration, the processional of shields, flags and a bagpiper paraded to Meadowlands Lawn where Dominican staged a free barbecue with live music until 2 p.m. A pair of 26-inch LCD flat screen TVs were given away as door prizes.

Guests participated in lawn games -- including a dunk tank featuring some faculty members -- hosted by Dominican student-athletes then listened to the "Spirit Song Sing-Off" won by the Dominican Alumni Association. The Dominican Athletes finished a close second.

Spirit Day concluded with a PacWest men’s/women’s soccer doubleheader against Dixie State College of St. George, Utah on the athletic field. The Dominican women’s volleyball team played the University of Hawaii-Hilo at Conlan Center later that night.