May 02, 2011
Featuring beautiful weather, carnival rides, delicious barbeque
food and more, the third annual Alumni Great Lawn Party was a blast
for guests of all ages.
A record draw of over 1,500 alumni and friends attended, many of
whom brought their families to take full advantage of what the
party had to offer. Guests brought folding chairs and picnic
blankets to camp out on the Great Lawn, catching up with old
friends as they enjoyed the warm, sunny afternoon. James McGuire
’92SVC served as DJ throughout the party, playing catchy pop songs
to create a lively yet relaxing atmosphere.
particularly loved the bumper cars and ferris wheel, while adults
seemed more keen on the all-you-can-eat barbeque buffet. Most of
all, though, alumni loved showing off St. John’s to their
“It’s so exciting to show my daughter where I went to school,”
said Jim Littlefield ’84C. “As parents, we all want to encourage
our children and teach them that college is something to look
forward to. When I saw how beautiful the weather was going to be
today, I knew my daughter would have a blast, and she’s been loving
every second of it.”
Littlefield was amazed to see how different campus looks from
when he was a student.
“I haven’t been back since they first started building the
dorms,” he said. “I’ve been getting more in touch with my St.
John’s friends lately, thanks mostly to Facebook. I’ll be meeting
up with some of them later today, and it’ll be fun to check out
campus with them and reminisce. The place looks beautiful.”
The Kiddie Zone, a new feature of this year’s Great Lawn Party,
featured activities specifically geared for children. Members of
the President’s Society made arts and crafts with the kids while
the Squeaky Clean Band played popular children’s songs.
Janet Keller ’94L appreciated the family atmosphere.
“I love how
St. John’s made sure that the kids would have fun at this event,”
she noted. “Since a lot of us are parents, entertaining our kids is
oftentimes what we want to do on weekends. A party like this makes
it easy for me and my old friends to get together and bring our
kids along. There’s something here for all of us.”
Many young alumni also attended, eager to reunite with other
Michael Hanisco ’10C, for example, met up with four of his
closest St. John’s friends – former classmates that he doesn’t get
to see as often as he’d like.
“We’re from all across the East coast, so we don’t have that
many chances to all get together and hang out like this,” Hanisco
said. “It’s great to have an event on campus that brings the whole
gang back together. And the environment here is really lively, so
it’s been great.”
Cara Gaver ’10C, one of Hanisco’s friends, agreed.
“This is my first trip back since I graduated, and it’s exciting
to see everybody. It’s especially great to meet here, since this is
where we met and where we spent so much of our young adulthood
Other recent graduates were amazed at all the recent campus
“I was curious to see the newer dorms and the D’Angelo Center,”
said Courtney D’ne Brown ’07C. “With all the hype surrounding the
men’s basketball team this year, I’ve really been missing St.
John’s. I don’t necessarily miss going to class every day, but I
miss just being a part of the University and seeing my friends.
There are so many people here today and such a great energy on
campus, so I’m really glad I came.”
a group of 28 former Resident Assistants gathered to take a special
tour of the Founders Village Townhouses, a series of
apartment-style dormitories adjacent to St. Thomas More Church.
Opened in 2009, this recent addition to campus was not around when
most of the former RAs were students.
“I can’t describe how different campus looks from when I first
started here in 2001,” said William Herr ’05CPS, ’07GEd. “They
hadn’t even built St. Thomas More Church back then, so I find this
whole transformation really fantastic. It looks like a whole new
Herr especially enjoyed reuniting with old RAs.
“These are people who I spent a lot of nights with, taking care
of the residence buildings and working with students. I went from
seeing them 24-7 to not seeing them for years, so that’s what makes
this such a fantastic experience.”
As the day began to wind down, guests participated in a raffle
drawing to win prizes like an XBox 360, a Nintendo Wii, a Nintendo
3DS and an iPod Nano. Meanwhile, kids made sure to get in a few
last rides on their favorite attractions before they had to
“I was anxious to show my wife and children how much campus has
changed,” said Steven Gallagher ’92CBA. “My children loved all the
rides and the crafts and all of that, so everyone had a ball.”
He added, “It really brings your college experience full circle
when you can now share it with your children. I’m glad that a fun
event like this is becoming a yearly spring tradition.”