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380 Saint Ben’s alumnae return home for Reunion 2012

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June 29, 2012

By Jill Yanish '13

Alumnae sing with Michael Halverson, SJU class of 2001, at the 'piano bar' during reunion.

It was a picture-perfect weekend: The sun was high in the sky. Flowers were in colorful salute. Laughter and stories filled the air. 380 friends were united with each other and their Saint Ben's home.  

Reunion 2012, June 22-24, brought alumnae from graduation classes ranging from 1946 to 2007 for a weekend on the Saint Ben's campus. The event-packed event included a variety of activities such as an outdoor concert, campus tours, Mass at Sacred Heart Chapel, zumba, book discussions, lectures, karaoke and dancing at the LaPlayette, class breakfasts and a picnic. 

"Mass was great. I participated in the choir for Mass. I was a music major, and it was so rewarding. (It) brings back so many memories of singing at Mass with the Sisters," says a 1982 alumna. 

"Being back at CSB and being inspired by the many women who have attended college there was enlightening and refreshing," says a 2007 alumna. 

Saturday's activities culminated with a Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony, where four alumnae were honored:

  • Sarah Halverson Jansen '02 received the Decade Award for her leadership and achievements as a senior business training consultant for Wells Fargo and volunteer work at Breakthrough St. Paul.
  • Denise Vaaler Zapzalka '92 was awarded the Distinguished Alumna Award for outstanding achievements in her profession as the National Sales Director of Institutional Retirement and Trust for Wells Fargo, as well as for making a lasting contribution in her field as a role model and leader for all alumnae.
  • Margaret (Peg) Engleson '77 received the Benedictine Service Award in honor of her commitment to community service and social justice for her work with Hope of Chest of St. Paul and the University of Minnesota Children's Hospital, among other initiatives.
  • LeAnne Matthews Stewart '87 was honored with the Sister Emmanuel Renner Service Award for her service to the College of Saint Benedict as a member of the Board of Trustees and a leader, steward and volunteer to her alma mater.

Reunion classes were also acknowledged for their generosity and financial commitment to Saint Ben's, which total more than $2.4 million for the year. Reunion classes have also made a significant impact in annual gifts to the College, which provide scholarship support to current Saint Ben's students. As of Reunion weekend, the Class of 1967 was third in annual gifts with $31,097. The Class of 1982 was second with $48,610 and was recognized for the highest number of donors, with 110 alumnae making gifts. The class with the highest amount of gifts to the annual giving program so far was Class of 1977 with $48,925.11. 

Plans for the first-ever Saint Ben's All-School Reunion are underway for June 28-30, 2013, in honor of the College's Centennial celebration. 

Read complete stories about our Reunion Award winners, and view photos from the weekend on Facebook or in our online photo gallery.