Sunday, September 29, 2013
John McDonough brings Cup to SMU
By Keotta House
President and CEO of the Chicago Blackhawks and Saint Mary’s University alum John McDonough returned to the campus once again; however, this time he brought one of the most famous championship trophies in the world: the Stanley Cup.
McDonough graduated from SMU in 1975 and he slowly made his way from selling tickets for the Chicago Cubs to running one of the most successful Chicago sports teams in recent years.
“The best part about winning the Stanley Cup for our franchise is the ability to share that cup with people like you today,” said McDonough to a crowd of fans attending a public rally hosted in the Saint Mary’s gymnasium.
The buzz around campus and throughout the Winona community had some students feeling like Christmas was here.
“I know that a lot of people were talking about it days in advance, and I think it was one of the events on campus that most students attended since I have been a student here,” said junior Christina O’Connor.
McDonough is one of the most recognizable alumni of SMU and many were feeling grateful and excited for him to come back to the campus.
“It was so wonderful to have John on our campus. He was so gracious with his time, and the time he spent with our students and our community was wonderful,” said Athletic Director Nikki Fennern. “It was great to see that what this institution does for its students really pays off,” she said.
From meeting with fellow alumni, faculty and staff at SMU, to giving talks to the athletic teams, or just having conversations with adoring fans, McDonough did not have to do much to make his presence known.
SMU hosted a rally to celebrate not only the Cup, but also celebrate McDonough and his continued success. During the rally that had nearly 1000 people in attendance a plaque that recognizes McDonough was unveiled. The plaque is slated to be hung up in the ice arena.
Perhaps competing with McDonough for the spotlight was Lord Stanley’s Cup. The 35-pound, three-foot-tall trophy drew nearly 200 students to line up for a picture with it almost an hour and a half before pictures started.
“It felt so great to have something so big and known worldwide be able to make a stop in Winona. It made me feel special,” said junior Iris Barragan.
The students in attendance did not leave empty-handed from the event. Not only were they given rally towels and memories, but McDonough left them with words of wisdom. “My academic prowess wasn’t great, but I learned a lot about commitment; I learned a lot about drive,” said McDonough to the crowd. “I am grateful for what this great university has given to me,” he said.
McDonough also imparted this piece of advice to the students in the crowd: “Please be brave enough to have big dreams; they just might come true.”