Annual Alumni Gala Celebrates Servant Leadership

By Matthew Borowick ’89/M.B.A. ’92, associate vice president of Alumni and Government Relations

maohonoreesIt all started with the presentation of the colors by our ROTC.  The crowd quieted immediately as the marching feet and assertive color guard instructions let our 460 guests know the program was beginning.  And we would do so in a very appropriate way – by honoring our country and thanking God.

As I watched it take place from just steps away I knew that, “Yes, this would be a very special Many Are One.”

June had arrived.  It was time to gather together as a university community to honor some incredibly impressive alumni.  Our guests and honorees, dressed to the nines in their finest attire, arrived at the Hanover Marriott ready to enjoy some good company, good food and great Pirate spirit.

Having completed their duty, our ROTC members dutifully returned to their table.  Then Alumni Chaplain Monsignor James Cafone delivered the Invocation.  I followed Father Jim with a few words of welcome and turned over the microphone to our Master of Ceremonies, WOR 710 AM radio’s Joe Bartlett.

Joe had agreed to serve as our MC in gratitude for the “excellent education” his son Kevin received at Seton Hall.  Joe was wonderful.  He moved the program along while engaging the audience through some well-placed humorous anecdotes.  He introduced our president, Dr. Gabriel Esteban, who spoke about Seton Hall as a “University of Opportunity for students, regardless of their backgrounds, who are intelligent, willing to work hard and committed to making a positive impact on their communities, their nation and their world as servant-leaders.”

This night was about our honorees – 12 exceptionally gifted, talented and generous graduates who have given of themselves to make our world a better place.

Our school honorees (each one chosen specifically by the dean of the individual schools and colleges that comprise Seton Hall) were treated to a video extolling their generous donation of time and talent to Alma Mater.  I was particularly touched when Mary Lynn DePierro accepted the posthumous award for her dear husband and our former dean Joe, who was as loyal an alumnus and dedicated a teacher as you’ll ever find.

After a delicious dinner Bartlett introduced our “scholarship video.”  In it, our students  spoke about their relationships with Seton Hall.   It’s definitely worth seeing!

Our Alumni Impact Award went to Joan Bosisio, group vice president of Stern + Associates, a public relations, marketing and digital communications agency.  Joan said that through “the tremendous sense of community Seton Hall affords its students, and the encouragement of some very special people, I’m continually inspired to give back to future generations of Pirates and tomorrow’s servant leaders.”

Next was Jim O’Brien, our Humanitarian.  Jim’s an extremely successful guy.  Yet, he spent his time acknowledging others whose own humanitarian efforts are making a huge difference – in Jersey City, in Newark and in Los Angeles.  We recognized Jim for his “Humanitarianism” but it was his genuine humility that stole the show!

Lastly, we were given a special treat.  This year we honored Joe Michaels as our Most Distinguished Alumnus.  Joe’s been the Director of NBC’s Today Show for over 20 years (20 years!).  He’s seen it all – the tragic, the humorous, the interesting and the not-so-memorable.  But with 7 Emmys to his credit, Joe made his own impact on morning television.

And while Joe may be the “behind the scenes” guy, the on-air talent knows what makes them successful.  Today’s Matt Lauer joined us to share his own special reflections on Joe.

Joe had not been back to campus for a while, but a recent visit re-energized his passion for Alma Mater.  Perhaps his remarks summed it up best.  “I must tell you that Seton Hall University was certainly the true foundation for my future in television.  Being a part of this event tonight only reminds me how important it is to find one’s passion and believe it can happen.  Tonight celebrates the real story of students—just like me— who had a dream.”

From the special start to the touching remembrance of Joe DePierro to Joan, Jim and Joe – Many Are One 2013 really was a special evening, and leaves us eagerly anticipating next year’s honorees and the wonderful stories of everything Seton Hall means to them.

About Many Are One:
The Many Are One alumni awards gala is Seton Hall’s premier annual black-tie event. The gala provides an opportunity to celebrate the ways in which the University’s alumni have positively influenced our world. Proceeds raised from the gala support four-year scholarships for children, grandchildren and siblings of alumni who attend Seton Hall; each selected student receives $36,000 in scholarship funds.

View photos from this year’s gala on flickr

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