Siena Celebrates 75th Anniversary Through Festival, Video

Jocelyn Thomas In the Headlines

LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. — A crowd of more than 800 friars, students and members of the Siena College community enjoyed food and wine at the 13th annual Festa Vino, a commemoration of Siena’s diamond jubilee.

In honor of the college’s 75th anniversary, more than $75,000 was raised at the Oct. 11 campus event to benefit the Saints Alive! Athletic Fund and the Center for Revolutionary Era Studies. The funds raised, a 35 percent increase over last year, are being supplemented by the sale of St. Francis wine in a commemorative, limited-edition bottle etched with Siena’s 75th anniversary graphic.

Among the friars who attended were Julian Davies, OFM, Peter Fiore, OFM, Michael Blastic, OFM, Kevin Mullen, OFM, Kenneth Paulli, OFM, Brian Belanger, OFM, Gregory Jakubowicz, OFM, and William Beaudin, OFM, all shown in the photo above.

The Festa Vino, which offered food from 20 restaurants and more than 100 wines from around the world, is the largest event that the college hosts for the community, according to Kevin, who has served as Siena’s president since 2007.

“I enjoy Festa Vino because of the people who participate,” said Kevin. “The event allows Siena to welcome to our campus many people who would usually not have the opportunity to visit. Restaurants in the Capital region that participate have the opportunity to share a signature item from their menu. Festa Vino is a great advertising opportunity for these restaurants.

“Upon entering Festa Vino, every person received a commemorative 75th anniversary program that highlighted the food and wine being offered, as well as information about the college,” he said. “The signage used on the program and throughout the event made very clear that Siena was celebrating its 75th anniversary. During the evening, participants were able to purchase a special magnum bottle of St. Francis cabernet that had the symbol of Siena’s 75th anniversary etched on it.”

Heritage in a Video
The college has been commemorating its jubilee through a variety of initiatives. After producing a heritage calendar in September, the school released a video that focused on its Franciscan heritage, called “Francis and Clare for Us: Siena College Pilgrimage to Italy.” Available on Siena’s website, it describes a trip to five major cities taken by friars, alumni and others affiliated with the college.

Among those featured in the 24-minute video are Kevin, Kenneth, Siena’s chief of staff, and F. Edward Coughlin, OFM, a member of Siena’s board of trustees. The video describes the Franciscan history learned by pilgrims who traveled to Italy in 2011 and the Franciscan tradition of Siena College.

History on the Website 
An article distributed Oct. 18 as part of an alumni e-letter gave a look back in time under the title “I Can’t Believe How Much this Place Has Changed.” The information, available on the Siena website, says: “The typical reaction of Siena alums who come back to their college after a long absence: ‘I can’t believe how much this place has changed.’”

It continues: “Indeed, when viewed through the lens of a diamond jubilee, Siena College has changed and changed dramatically. The 90 students who showed up for the first day of class in September 1937, have been replaced by over 3,000 undergraduates. The 38-acres of flat farmland with its single structure is now a 174-acre, beautifully landscaped campus on whose grounds some 60 buildings accommodate the educational, recreational and social needs of a vibrant academic community. The all-male, Capital region commuter school of the 30s has become the co-educational, increasingly diverse residential college of the third millennium.”

The webpage also offers a list of 1937 fun facts. The recent e-blast to alumni offered information about events as well as “37 ways to stay involved as Siena alumni.”

 Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province.