Alumni Return to Campus

More than 1,100 alumni and community members returned to campus over the weekend of April 20-22 to celebrate Alumni Weekend 2023. Over the course of three days, alumni reconnected with their classmates and their alma mater, rekindling fond memories of their time at 10600 Preston Road and making new memories with fellow classmates and former teachers.
“I refer to Alumni Weekend as our Super Bowl,” said Sandy Campbell ’76, Alumni Association president. “It’s our opportunity to bring literally generations of Marksmen together on campus. We had an incredible time, giving us a chance to reconnect with classmates and faculty. It’s just a really special time. And it just reinforces that lifelong bond that Marksman have, you know, once they graduate from St. Mark’s.”
Alumni Weekend kicked off at 11 a.m. Thursday, with the arrival of the Lombardi Trophy, which was awarded to the Kansas City Chiefs upon winning Super Bowl LVII in February. The trophy was provided by Clark Hunt ’83, CEO of the Chiefs organization and his brother, Dan Hunt ‘96, president of Major League Soccer’s FC Dallas. The trophy was displayed in Hunt Stadium for two hours, and allowed Marksmen of all ages to view the iconic hardware, with plenty of photo opportunities for the boys, faculty and staff members. Later that day, the Alumni Golf Tournament was held at Cowboys Golf Club in Grapevine. 
On Friday, Marksmen representing eight decades returned to campus to experience daily life on campus. The Lombardi Trophy made a second appearance Friday morning, welcoming alums coming home for a full day of activities. Alums joined current juniors and seniors for a special Alumni Chapel, with Lee S. Smith ‘65 serving as homilist. Smith shared stories of his journey to St. Mark’s, where he became the School’s first Black graduate. Later Friday morning, Dr. Bruce Westrate, Nancy and Jeffrey Marcus Master Teaching Chair in history and Michele Santosuosso, Ralph B. Rogers Alumni Award recipient and history instructor, hosted morning classes in the lecture hall of the Winn Science Center. 
Golden Lions, Marksmen who graduated prior to 1973, enjoyed lunch with students and administrators, sharing memories and learning about current life on campus. On Friday afternoon, alums heard music on the Quad from Conner Youngblood ‘08, enjoyed a special exhibition of the Quiz Bowl team, coordinated by Paul Mlakar, director of Academic Information Systems and academic team coach, and heard from Dr. David Vanderpool ‘78, the inaugural recipient of the Lee S. Smith ‘65 Courage and Honor Award, in a special assembly moderated by Senior Class President Aadi Khasgiwala.
On Friday evening, guests entered the Great Hall for the Spring Alumni Dinner. The Alumni Association honored several alumni and faculty, starting with the three finalists for the Ralph B. Rogers Alumni Award, Sherri Darver, Scott Hunt and Dan Northcut. Drew Nicholas ‘09 received the Young Alumni Service Citation and Robert Feldman ‘65 received the Alumni Service Medal. Retiring faculty members Sherri Darver, head of Lower School; Paul Hoehn, Doc Nelson Master Teaching Chair in science; Ellen Jurgens, Upper School administrative assistant and Emma Noble, Lower School Spanish instructor, were recognized. 
The culmination of the Spring Alumni Dinner was the presentation of the inaugural Lee S. Smith ‘65 Courage and Honor Award to Dr. David Vanderpool ‘78, who was recognized for his humanitarian efforts in Haiti after a devastating hurricane-ravaged that Caribbean nation in 2010.
A sunny and crisp Saturday was the perfect setting for families to gather. Alumni and their families enjoyed Babe’s fried chicken, a bounce house, face painting and campus tours, along with planetarium and chemistry shows in the Winn Science Center. The weekend concluded that evening as alumni classes with years ending in ‘3’ and ‘8’, as well as the parents of the Classes of 2013, 2008 and 2003, gathered across Dallas for their reunion parties. 
As the Reunion Program grows and strengthens, alumni from reunion classes continue to demonstrate the power of philanthropy and their collective commitment to St. Mark's. This year, reunion classes contributed nearly $650,000 to the St. Mark’s Fund. Additionally, the Class of 2003 set a 20th Reunion record for raising more than $172,000. 
“Alumni Weekend is about celebrating the lifelong relationships between our graduates, the faculty and staff and St. Mark’s,” said Alex Eshelbrenner ‘04, director of Alumni Relations. “When our alums return home, it’s powerful. We see classmates warmly embrace each other in a way that only a childhood friend can. We witness the joy and sense of pride when a graduate introduces his children to his favorite former teacher. We watch in amazement when our established graduates share their life experiences and professional wisdom with current students. Simply put, we are grateful for the opportunity to welcome people home.”

Check the St. Mark's website in the coming days for additional content and recordings from Alumni Weekend. 
    • Connor Youngblood ’08

    • Lee Smith ’65, Dr. David Vanderpool ’78 and David Dini

    • Aadi Khasgiwala ’23 and Dr. Vanderpool ’78

    • Lee Smith ’65

    • Spring Alumni Dinner

    • Saturday Family Cookout

    • Alumni Golf Tournament

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