Dominican welcomes alumni for Reunion Weekend 2014

Sister Gervaise Valpey ’61 received the Distinguished Alumni Award and Lorraine Barry ’86 was given the Sister Patricia Lyons Distinguished Alumni Service Award when Dominican hosted its annual Reunion Weekend with celebration and remembrance on April 25-27.

Sister Gervaise, who in 2009 was recognized by the Dali Lama as an “Unsung Hero of Compassion,” and Barry, who joined the Peace Corps upon graduating from Dominican and eventually became founding member of Dominican’s Women Leadership and Philanthropy Council, were honored in front of a crowd of more than 100 on April 26, at the awards presentation at Barowsky Hall and Heritage Room in Edgehill Mansion.

"This Distinguished Alumni Award to me means that the University continually seeks out graduates who choose different paths to carry forth Dominican values in their search for truth," Sister Gervaise said. "The person selected in a given year is one of many alumni who live out the sense of joy in learning, reflecting, serving and sharing one's self in family, community, profession, etc. I am deeply touched to have been selected this year and feel I stand arm in arm with all the graduates who represent the core of Dominican in their lives every day."

Dominican’s Reunion Weekend started on April 25 in Edgehill Mansion with a cocktail hour in Barowsky Hall and the Heritage Room. That was followed by the annual 50th Anniversary Golden Circle Dinner honoring the Class of 1964 in the Garden Room.

On April 26, alumni participated in the Penguin 5K Fun Run and Penguin Kid Dash around campus starting on the Alemany Library lawn. The race began on Magnolia Avenue. The event benefitted Dominican's cross country program.

At 10:30 a.m., the traditional mass at St. Catherine Benincasa Chapel was observed at Edgehill Mansion followed by a social hour at Barowsky Hall and Heritage Room prior to the awards ceremony honoring Sister Gervaise, former Dominican Lower School principal and President Emerita at San Domenico School, and Barry, who studied as part of Dominican’s Oxford program.

"My background prior to attending Dominican was in Business and I thought I would be able to teach business skills.  Further, I could not find a reason not to apply to the Peace Corps," said Barry, who credited Jaye Miller's Latin American History class in 1985 for inspiring her to volunteer for the Peace Corps.

"I was eventually accepted and received an invitation to teach business skills in a government high school in Belize, Central America. My two years teaching in Belmopan, Belize, was a life altering experience for me.  Not only did I embrace my assignment and the community in which I lived, but I became part of a family in Belmopan and godmother to their two sons. Their oldest daughter, with the help of scholarships, transferred to Dominican to complete her bachelor's degree in 1996. My life has been enriched by my relationship with this family and thanks to the Internet we are able to stay in contact."

Among her favorite memories of Dominican, Barry lists Sister Barbara Green and her guidance. Barry has served on several advisory committees at Dominican, starting with Sister Samuel Conlan's Humanities Advisory Committee.

Barry has developed lasting relationships through Dominican as has Sister Gervaise.

"Dominican impacted my life significantly in that I found at Dominican a strong spirit, a way of learning, a sense of joy in living life fully, a genuine concern for others, an appreciation for diversity among professors and students, a love of beauty - in nature, the arts, and traditions that drew me to want to enter the Dominican Order," Sister Gervaise said. "The commitment to following the Dominican way in my life has been enriching, challenging, rewarding and full of opportunities - similar to what I see in  so many of my classmates."

Following the awards ceremony honoring Sister Gervaise and Lorraine Barry, more than 150 alumni attended the Anniversary Luncheon honoring all reunion classes in the Shield Room at Caleruega Dining Hall.

On Saturday afternoon,  tours were conducted from Caleruega Dining Hall to the Art Department Senior Showcase, the Dominican Sisters Heritage Room or a general stroll around the whole campus. At 3 p.m., students in Dominican's LINES Ballet/BFA in Dance program performed in Angelico Hall.

Saturday's festivities concluded with a young alumni poolside social with about 40 alums at the Conlan Recreation Center. Proceeds from that event benefitted the John Kennedy Endowment Fund for Student Life. .On April 27, Dominican's book store in Fanjeaux Hall was open for alumni from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Reunion Weekend ended with individual class dinners in the evening.

For more information, contact Dominican Alumni Relations at 415-485-3240 or email [email protected]