Celebrating alumni at Dal's yearly feast
Alumni Dinner takes place September 27
Mark Campbell - September 6, 2012
CTV’s Maria Panopalis (BSc ’99) didn’t hesitate to say yes when asked to host Dalhousie’s upcoming Alumni Dinner on Thursday, September 27.
“I think it’s going to be a lot of fun,” says the producer and host of Section 6, Live at Five’s pop culture segment. “I’m from Halifax and I always expected I would go to Dalhousie. I have fond memories of the university and met some of my closest friends there. I’m incredibly honoured to be the host for the event.”
There is considerable excitement among alumni about this year’s dinner, and not just because Panopalis is serving as emcee. For years, the university’s annual dinner has been a celebration of all things Dalhousie: not just its proud alumni, but also its many research, academic and community partnership achievements. As the university has grown, so have the success stories to the point where it was becoming impossible to showcase all of them.
This year, the dinner will focus on highlighting the university’s alumni and their accomplishments.
“We want to resonate with alumni, and the best way to do that is to celebrate them,” says Michael Perry, director of alumni engagement. “So we are devoting the evening to the Dalhousie Alumni Association Awards.”
The awards recognize Dalhousie graduates who have had a positive impact in the community, whether locally, nationally or internationally.
“When you look at the list of people who have graduated from this university over the years and their accomplishments, it’s quite impressive,” says Perry. “We think that, by highlighting those achievements, this will be a very special evening for the university and our alumni.”
Bringing it back to campus
It will also be special because the dinner is being held on campus for the first time in a decade as part of Homecoming 2012, taking place September 27-29. In recent years, Pier 21, The Westin Nova Scotian and the Cunard Centre all served as venues for the annual dinner. But the relaunch of Homecoming in 2010 provided the impetus to bring it back to Dalhousie and the McInnes Room in the Student Union Building, which Perry thinks is the perfect setting.
“Dalhousie is the place where it all began for our graduates – not just the learning that put them on the paths they are on professionally, but also the many friendships they made with students and faculty alike. It’s another chance for them to reconnect, and an opportunity to congratulate each other on their success over the years. Holding it on campus during Homecoming is a perfect fit.”
Certainly, Panopalis is looking forward to seeing old friends and showing her Dalhousie spirit. “I’m very proud to say that I went to Dalhousie. It’s not just a source of pride in Halifax or Nova Scotia. It’s a source of pride around the world. People know the university.”
A special celebration
Several major sponsors have come on board to help make this year’s Homecomings celebrations even more special, including TD Insurance Meloche Monnex, MBNA and Egg Films - all at the platinum level. Meanwhile, planning for the Alumni Dinner is well underway. Perry says feedback to date has been very positive among both graduates and faculty, and tickets are selling out fast.
“You can feel the anticipation when you talk to people about it. We want this to be a nice, intimate celebration for alumni. We want them to enjoy themselves, but more than that, we want them to feel good about the university and the friends they’ve made. By focusing on alumni and their success stories, I think we can give them more fond memories of their experiences at Dalhousie.”
The Alumni Dinner will include a pre-reception, speeches from Dalhousie President Tom Traves and Dalhousie Alumni Association President Jim Wilson, and a post-event party at the Grawood. If you’re interested in attending, or want to get involved as a volunteer, contact Kirsten in the Alumni Relations office at email@example.com or call 902-494-2807 (toll free: 1-800-568-7403).