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The Office of Alumni Relations held a number of Alumni Chapter gatherings throughout Florida this past February and March, bringing together graduates from all over the Sunshine State. Hosted by Bill Schaeffer '73, Director of Alumni Relations and Susan Damiani '87, Director of Gift Planning, these events were a great way for alumni to catch up with old friends and reminisce about their student days.
"The alumni who came out to these events were so enthusiastic," Damiani said. "It was really a blast hosting these gatherings and meeting so many terrific St. John's graduates."
In February, Schaeffer and Damiani held events in Jacksonville's famous TPC Sawgrass Golf Resort, Orlando's Citrus Restaurant, Tampa's Marriott Waterside Hotel, Sarasota's Longboat Key Hotel and the Vero Beach Hotel and Spa. Alumni enjoyed a fabulous dinner at each location while Schaeffer and Damiani updated them on University news and discussed Planned Giving opportunities.
Tom Fitzpatrick '69CBA, a member of the St. John's chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon, attended the Tampa reunion and enjoyed reconnecting with some of his fraternity brothers.
"What St. John's gave me is unique—a deep sense of family," he noted. "Going to St. John's is truly a shared experience, not just in terms of our education, but because it fosters a deep feeling of fraternity in the greater sense."
Schaeffer and Damiani hosted additional alumni gatherings in March, including events at the West Palm Beach Marriott Hotel, the Marco Polo Ramada Resort in Miami and the Naples Beach and Golf Resort.
Naples alumni also had the opportunity to march in the 33rd Annual Naples St. Patrick's Day Parade—the largest St. Patrick's Day march in South Florida.
"That was a very fun opportunity, and the first time we've ever participated in that," Damiani said. "We had over 20 alumni marching with us, which ranked St. John's as the second largest group of college alumni in attendance behind Notre Dame. For the procession, we decorated our car with red bows and shamrocks, so it was extremely festive."
Jim Costello '61C, Senior Vice President at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, is a snowbird who splits his time living in Naples and New York. He frequently participates in Naples Chapter gatherings and enjoyed the opportunity to march with his alma mater in the St. Patrick's Day Parade.
"My favorite part of the event was waiting around with fellow graduates before we actually started marching," Costello said. "We had a great time chatting and catching up. It's very important to me to stay connected to St. John's, and this was a fun way to do that."
For more information on Alumni Chapter gatherings, contact Bill Schaeffer at (718) 990-6802.
To learn more about Planned Giving, contact Susan Damiani at (718) 990-7562.
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