St. Mike’s alumni returned to campus for Alumni Reunion 2019 from May 29 to June 2, where they had the opportunity to catch up with classmates, make new friends, and reacquaint themselves with the college that remains an important part of their lives.

The Alumni Affairs team organized 18 different events scheduled around reunion celebrations hosted by the University of Toronto, and in the final count, more than 600 people attended St. Michael’s special events. This year, the honoured classes ending in ’4 and ’9 came back to campus to celebrate their milestone anniversaries, including alumni returning from as far back as the class of 1949.

Some alumni traveled from as far away as New Zealand, England and Houston to participate, while others found themselves returning from a short distance away as they settled back into residence at Elmsley Place or Loretto College for the weekend.

The reunion kicked off with a SHAKER gathering at Ripley’s Aquarium with St. Mike’s young alumni in attendance, and concluded with a full house for Sunday’s Mediaeval Symposium by Dr. Alison More. A selection of photos from these and other events can be found at the bottom of this post.

Highlights from Alumni Reunion include:

  • Lectures and presentations from St. Mike’s faculty, including Assistant Professor Felan Parker’s engaging Stress-Free Degree lecture on Fortnite and video game culture and a standing-room-only presentation by Assistant Professor Alison More, who had just returned from conducting an international learning experience in Ireland with Boyle Seminar students.
  • Anniversary Masses, one celebrated by Fr. Morgan Rice, CSB (2009 graduate of the Faculty of Theology) in the Loretto College Chapel, and another at St. Basil’s celebrated by Archbishop Michael Miller, CSB, (USMC 1969) who travelled from Vancouver to enjoy his 50th anniversary of graduating from St. Michael’s. Alumni toured the John M. Kelly Library, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary since opening in 1969, and Chester Gryski’s (USMC 1969) spoke about the Canadian Fine Press Exhibition, which featured items printed by the late Glenn Goluska (USMC 1969). If you missed your chance to share memories or photos of the library during reunion, you can still do so—just send an email to usmc.archives@utoronto.ca.
  • A revival of the st. mike’s pub. The Class of 1994, in conjunction with the Class of 2009, marked their 25th and 10th anniversary, respectively by turning the Firkin on Bay into the st. mike’s pub, a former campus hangout space.
  • A capacity-crowd All Alumni Double Blue Party in the newly renovated Brennan Hall Lounge and The Dodig Family COOP. Alumni had the opportunity to travel down memory lane with a display of photos and flip through yearbooks from the honoured years.
  • “Canadian Writing Now,” a panel discussion hosted by Principal and Vice-President Randy Boyagoda and English Chair Professor Paul Stevens. One of the authors, Anthony De Sa (USMC 1989), dedicated his reading to Fr. Robert Madden, CSB, and shared a story of Fr. Madden going out of his way to offer kindness and support after Anthony’s father passed away.
  • The Honoured Years’ Dinner and Medal Ceremony where alumni who graduated 55, 60, 65, and 70 years ago, with a standing ovation for Vicky Houghton (USMC 1949), the first ever Female Athlete of the Year at St. Michael’s, who recently donated her Varsity jacket to the USMC Archives.
  • Dr. Mimi Marrocco (USMC 1969) was recognized for her work in adult education, corporate social responsibility and ethics as the recipient of the 2019 Alway Award, named in honour of former President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Richard Alway (USMC 1962).

President David Sylvester expressed his appreciation to the campus community following the weekend, writing:

“Many thanks to the staff, faculty and students who contributed to the success of Alumni Reunion It was a wonderful opportunity to connect with generations of St Mike’s graduates. Our alumni felt warmly welcomed, thoroughly enjoyed the gatherings, lectures and tours and commented on how lovely the grounds and facilities looked. The weekend was a tremendous community effort, which showcased St. Mike’s at its best.”

See you next year! If you’d like to see more photos from the weekend, please email smc.alumniaffairs@utoronto.ca.

Gifted Educator and Founder of the first program providing executive education in the field of Corporate Social Responsibility recognized by University of St. Michael’s College alumni

Dr. Mimi Marrocco speaks after being presented with the 2019 Alway Award.
Dr. Mimi Marrocco speaks after being presented with the 2019 Alway Award.

Dr. Mimi Marrocco (Class of 1969) has received the 2019 Alway Award, an honour in recognition of her decades of service and important contributions to the life and reputation of the College. As her former students and colleagues attest, her work—especially in the area of Continuing Education—has influenced the lives of thousands of people.

Former University of St. Michael’s College President Sr. Anne Anderson, CSJ said Dr. Marrocco “gifted USMC with her passion for Continuing Education.” That passion, Sr. Anne said, yielded “innovative, cutting-edge programs across a broad spectrum of interests,” including “our internationally known Certificate in Corporate Social Responsibility.”

Over 300 participants from across Canada and over 20 countries have gone through the CSR program, and over 250 alumni from the program hold positions as VP, Director, or Manager in CSR and Sustainability capacities.

Dr. Marrocco stands with a cohort of CSR Certificate graduates on the day of their Convocation.
Dr. Marrocco (front, right) with a cohort of CSR Certificate graduates on the day of their Convocation.

“Mimi is the heart and soul of the CSR Certificate Program,” CSR Program Manager Kathryn Cooper said. She described Dr. Marrocco’s contribution to the field in Canada as decisive: “Dr. Marrocco developed an innovative collaboration with the Conference Board of Canada to launch in 2002 the first program providing executive education in the field of Corporate Social Responsibility. This program created the platform for the very first developments of the body of knowledge, best practices, mentorship and action learning projects in business for Corporate Social Responsibility.”

As the first recognized, professional University Credential in Canada related to CSR, the St. Michael’s program Dr. Marrocco founded has also created a network of alumni and mentors in the field. Program participants receive mentorship support for 13 months, which helps them achieve first-time success in implementing the CSR/Sustainability projects they undertake during the program. To date, participants have implemented over 200 action-learning projects at their companies and organizations, including numerous CSR, Sustainability and Community Investment strategies.

Dr. Mimi Marrocco addresses the audience after receiving the 2019 Alway Award.

Dr. Marrocco’s former students describe her as a dynamic leader whose talent for teaching is matched by her care for them. “Mimi is so lovely and insightful,” said one, while another said that Dr. Marrocco “has been instrumental in helping me to open my mind to different perspectives.”

After earning a BA from St. Mike’s, Dr. Marrocco received an MA in 1970 and a PhD in 1978, both from the U of T, where she later taught as a member of the English Department. Dr. Marrocco worked for over a quarter century as Director of Continuing Education at St. Michael’s, and served as faculty leader for the CSR Certificate program.

An industry leader as well as an educator, Dr. Marrocco has served on academic and community boards, including stints as president of both the Ontario Council for Lifelong Learning and the Canadian Association of University Continuing Education.

A man holds the Alway Award while speaking at a podium.
The Alway Award is given in recognition of alumni whose significant contributions to society bring esteem to them and to the College.

She has served in many roles for Catholic educational and charitable institutions, and she continues to serve in board and/or committee member roles with organizations such as the Arts and Letters Club or Toronto, the Toronto Hunt Club, and the Advisory Committee of the Canadian Business Ethics Research Network at York University.

Named for past St. Michael’s President Dr. Richard Alway, a member of the USMC Class of 1962 and our first lay president, the Alway Award is given in recognition of alumni whose significant contributions to society bring esteem to them and to the College.

For her pioneering work in the field of Continuing Education in Canada, for her support of the mission of the University of St. Michael’s College, for the way she has helped shape the lives of her students, and for her many other achievements, St. Michael’s is proud to call Dr. Mimi Marrocco one of its own. The Alway Award is a small token of the College’s gratitude for her life and work.