By Alex Conover
On Feb. 29, I hopped on a bus with about 100 other Saint Mary’s University students and faculty and rolled out of the Toner Center parking lot. We were on our way to the Saint Mary’s Chicago Convention, a two-part event involving an alumni gathering the first day, and a recruiting exhibit the second. Other great components of the weekend included hearing words from President of the Chicago Blackhawks John McDonough ’75 and being entertained by the Oldie Moldie All-Stars, which is always a treat. As much as I enjoyed all of this, however, my favorite part of the trip was by far socializing with the alumni that made an appearance.
My job for the weekend was to document the convention on tape. I creeped around with a video camera for two days and was “that guy” – you know, the nerd who is always interrupting conversations, trying to get you to smile for the camera. Despite how annoying it must have been, plenty of alumni were willing to share stories from the past during the first night.
I heard plenty about things like the old Pub, pig roasts at the seminary, and cheering on the hockey team when they played outdoors. They made Saint Mary’s sound like a paradise during their enrollment. People named their favorite teachers, including Father Fabian (everyone asked if he was still at SMU – a living legend!), Larry Luttmers, Sister Claire Korte, and others. They also recited some pretty funny stories that I probably can’t say in print. Regardless, the memories shared that night really boosted my school spirit.
The one thing I will gather from this is that the experience you have at Saint Mary’s is totally up to you. Listening to all these old tales from decades past made it seem like it was a different college back then – but the truth is that it’s not. It’s the same school up on the hill, whether you were a Redman or a Cardinal. SMU is just as fun and rewarding as you make it, and according to the alumni I talked to, the rewards can turn out to be lifetime memories. So, go out, get involved, and have a good time. There might be some goofy kid with a camera asking you about it in 20 years.