Juniors Visit JFK Presidential Library
Published: Thursday, April 12, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
Last night, buses left from Conte Forum at 5:30 p.m. to transport 375 BC students, faculty, and administrators to the JFK Museum and Library in Boston to celebrate the Sesquicentennial Junior Class. Upon arrival, students were encouraged to walk through the museum and enjoy artful, historical displays. After moseying through the museum, students were excited to enjoy a gourmet four-course meal, while listening to speakers, featuring Rev. Michael Himes.
The night opened with Patrick Rombalski, vice president for student affairs, congratulating the men’s hockey team on their victory in Florida and recognizing the devastating loss of Franco Garcia, WCAS ’12. Rev. Joe Marchese then led the audience in both a blessing of the food and in a moment of silence in memory of Garcia. He then addressed the sesquicentennial class. “You are the new energy,” he said. “You are the new vision. You are the hope.”
As students, faculty, and administrators conversed over their chocolate desserts, Himes addressed the room with three questions: “What is your joy? What are your talents? Whom needs it from you?” Himes talked about the importance of looking beyond oneself and forming a community with one another and the significance of a civic life. He cited “the essence of a University is conversation” and how students and members of society “desperately need to be educated on how to converse.” The circular tables BC students shared with other members of the community provided an intentional space for conversation to occur throughout the night.
“Perhaps the greatest gift we give one another is attentive hearing, to genuinely listen, and to respond with civility,” Himes said. “If we cannot do that, BC has failed.”
Mer Zovko, the assistant director of the Student Programs Office, helped coordinate and plan this event starting in November. Zovko said that the goal was “to create a space where students, and administration and faculty could gather together” outside classrooms and offices where “people weren’t students and administrators or students and faculty, they were people getting together sharing a meal sharing wonderful conversations in a beautiful and historic building with very, very special and deep meaning to people here in Boston.” After choosing the JFK museum and library for its location and historical content, Himes was chosen as the keynote speaker as he “speaks to everyone” and “is beloved” by the entire community.
“Father Himes is certainly a notable professor who we felt could draw many students to hear him speak,” said Kevin Berry, an organizer of the event and A&S ’13. ”Father Himes’s talks on discernment are appealing to many juniors as senior year approaches and we continue to think more about life after BC.
Kate D’Angelo, Resident Director of the Vandy/90 community, was also a large contributor in planning and coordinating the event. “I do not think that all of the students realize why the school cares so much about the Sesquicentennial,” D’Angelo said. “It is such an important part of history and the school wants to recognize that and to celebrate that.”
Students responded positively to the museum, food, and speakers of the night. Kudzai Taziva, A&S ’13, thought the night was a “great way for juniors to get together, as there’s not a lot of opportunity to get with your class.”
Marissa DiGirolamo, A&S ’13, thought the event was a “ good way to be a part of celebration and tradition and to what BC as accomplished over the last 150 years.” As a response to the exclusivity of the event, Vincent Coleman, CSOM ’13, felt that “everyone experiences the same thing each year,” but by being a part of the sesquicentennial class, the “new events makes the class stronger and makes me feel special.”
As Himes concluded his speech, he left the junior class posing, “When you leave as the sesquicentennial class, I hope you know how to talk to one another, and not at one another.”