Siena Community Fetes Kevin Tortorelli

Lori Lasch Friar News

NEW YORK — It was a night filled with surprises for Kevin Tortorelli, OFM, a beloved friar and member of the Siena College community from 1983 to 1992, whose friendship, compassion, and support touched the lives of many. He cheered during rugby games and offered advice and counsel that, for many, continued long past graduation.

Close to 100 alumni and friends gathered in New York City on Sept. 8 to celebrate Kevin’s 65th birthday and to increase the scholarship established in his honor. The Fr. Kevin Tortorelli, OFM, Scholarship was established in 2007 by alumni, friends, and admirers to mark his 60th birthday.

Along with the generous contributions to his scholarship, alumni and friends honored Kevin with kind words, awards and recognitions, while concluding the wonderful evening with the arrival of the NYPD Pipe Band to celebrate his Irish roots. In his closing remarks, Kevin said, “Siena was an experience of sharing myself with people like you, a concrete community in a long tradition of a human, Franciscan and Catholic humanism that built up and never pulled down. The scholarship in my name is both the contribution of many friends, as well as an expression of confidence in the value of our Siena experience for others perhaps yet unborn. Lying at its heart is that humanism that honored the mystery of God and witnessed that love to each other.”

The celebration added $63,000 to the scholarship. Siena College is grateful to Kevin and his many friends for their continued support.

Kevin, who taught in Siena’s religious studies and classic departments, said he found the gathering “very moving.”

“It represented for me life at Siena a quarter century ago. In some ways, the people are unchanged and to each face attaches a memory usually wholesome and often hilarious. In other ways, of course, they are much changed. They are now parents in a still uncertain economy, and as a group, the tragedy of 9/11 hit close to home.

“At its heart, the scholarship acknowledges their connection to Siena College and very significantly to the friars. They want to help make possible for others the experience they still value of a college community well expressed in Juvenal’s aphorism mens sana in corpore sano. They grew in a community that was humane in its intellectual life and Franciscan influence. They have done well by it, and Siena has done well by them.”

— Lori Lasch,‘06, is assistant director of alumni relations for Siena College.