More than 25 alumni gathered for the 3rd annual O’Dowd Alumni Summit, held at the Center for Environmental Studies on August 29, to learn about the Alumni Strategic Plan and the school’s efforts to actively engage its valued alumni in the life of the school.
In addition to learning about the future of O’Dowd Alumni Relations, the group heard from fellow alumni who attended the Grand Reunion in June. Father/daughter alums Patrick Riley ’63 and Shauna Riley Fithian ’88 shared a unique O’Dowd experience by celebrating their reunions at the same time at O’Dowd’s 2018 Grand Reunion!
“My feeling on campus was ‘Wow, this feels so familiar.’ Yet it felt all new and kind of shiny in a way that I didn’t remember. I loved seeing all the composites because I remember as a student that was something I always did – look for my dad and uncle – and my friends would look for their family members and people that they knew. It was neat to see my photo on the wall in this place that I feel so connected to,” Fithian said.
Jim Negri ’68 participated in the Summit, sharing his enthusiasm about O’Dowd with attendees, much like he has throughout the year with his classmates as they celebrate their 50th reunion.
Jim has a great perspective on O’Dowd. Not only is he an alumnus, he’s the parent of an O’Dowd graduate, a former O’Dowd teacher and a recently retired school district superintendent with a keen perspective on education. Jim said that throughout his career, he always looked to O’Dowd for inspiration, as it has always been ahead of the educational curve. “The role of any educational institution is to prepare the next generation of leaders in the democratic society. There is no question that O’Dowd excels at meeting this goal,” he said.
Jim led a discussion around alumni support at the Summit. He noted that 4% of O’Dowd alumni donated to our school last year. Comparatively, St. Ignatius had an 18% alumni giving rate, Bellarmine alumni giving was 10%, Sacred Heart Cathedral had 8% of its alumni supporting the school, and De La Salle alumni came in at 7% giving.
Jim inspired the Dragon competitive spirit by saying he didn’t understand why O’Dowd wasn’t beating all these schools in terms of alumni giving percentage. “As Dragons, we have always been proud of being the best in everything!” he said.