St. Bonaventure University began celebrating its 150th anniversary Tuesday with a 90-minute Convocation that paid homage to the college’s founders by graciously thanking more than two dozen of their descendants.
“We are just so honored and humbled by the way the university has gone out of its way to recognize our family,” said 2001 SBU alumnus Andrew Kernan, great-great-great-great-grandson of Nicholas and Mary Devereux, the Utica benefactors who donated the land for the college. “Everyone at the university has just been wonderful, making these past couple of days as exciting and enriching for us as possible.”
Kernan, along with his wife, parents and two aunts, accepted as a token of the University’s appreciation specially commissioned paintings of Devereux Hall, created by Allegany artist Anne Conroy-Baiter. Conroy-Baiter paintings of the campus were presented to more than 20 members of the Pietrobattista family, descendants of the family of Fr. Pamphilo da Magliano, the college’s founding friar and first president.
The Pietrobattistas traveled this week from Italy to be part of the celebration. The entire program was translated into Italian for them by Jean-François Godet-Calogeras, associate professor of Franciscan Studies, using wireless headsets.
Immaculate, Joliet, Ill.
More than 300 members of the class of 2008 donned their Commencement robes six weeks early and were honored at the Convocation with 150th Anniversary medallions. Joining students, faculty, staff and trustees in a procession at the start of the Convocation were members of religious order Fr. Pamphilo founded, including the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, Sisters of St. Francis of Rochester, Minn., Sister of St. Francis of Sylvania, Ohio, and Sisters of St. Francis of Mary
Honorary degrees were given to the Most Rev. José Rodríguez Carballo, O.F.M., General Minister of the General Curia of the Order of Friars Minor; the Most Rev. Edward U. Kmiec, D.D., Bishop of the Diocese of Buffalo; and world-renowned tenor Kenneth Riegel, who on Monday night performed with the ensemble Antares the world premiere of “The Canticle of Creation” by Cal Stewart Kellogg, commissioned by The Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts to commemorate the school’s 150th anniversary.
The Convocation’s keynote speaker was Sr. Margaret Eletta Guider, O.S.F., Th.D., chair of the Pastoral Studies Department at Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, Mass.
“I come before you today as one representative of the embodied fulfillment of dreams … dreams of Father Pamphilo, Bishop Timon, and Nicholas and Mary Devereux,” Sr. Guider said. “We are here today because seven generations ago, those whom we remembered dared to dream about us and for us.
“As descendants of theirs — by blood, by vow, by appointment, by affection, by inspiration — we have realized their dream.” (Read complete keynote address.)
The Convocation kicked off the University’s 15-month anniversary celebration.
June of 2008 brings the Holy Name Province chapter meeting to campus (June 1-6), immediately followed by the 150th Anniversary Alumni Reunion, June 6-8.
A hallmark event will center on the Feast of St. Francis, Oct. 3-5. The University will be sharing its celebration with the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, who also celebrate their 150th anniversary during the 2008-09 calendar years.
St. Bonaventure’s 150th Anniversary celebration concludes in May of 2009 as the University anticipates simultaneously celebrating the successful conclusion of its $90 million capital campaign, the Anniversary Campaign for St. Bonaventure University.