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Commencement to Launch Gonzaga’s Anniversary Celebrations

Gonzaga's founder Father Joseph Cataldo, S.J. Photo courtesy Gonzaga University Archives.

By Catherine Van
Class of 2012

SPOKANE, Wash. – When Nobel Prize Laureate Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu delivers the keynote address at Gonzaga’s Undergraduate Commencement May 13, he officially launches the University’s yearlong commemoration of its 125th Anniversary. The 2012-13 academic year also observes the School of Law’s Centennial.

“Tradition and transformation” is Gonzaga’s theme for the celebration, which aims to bring the worldwide Gonzaga community together to honor the mission and tradition that inspires the unique Gonzaga experience.   At the same time, the entire Gonzaga community is invited to help imagine Gonzaga’s future.  How will the University transform to meet the future needs of its students and the world?  How will it continue to transform each and every student to reach his or her goals, and live a life with a passion guided by faith?

From humble beginnings as a frontier boys’ school founded in 1887 by Fr. Joseph Cataldo, S.J., Gonzaga has become an exemplary Jesuit and Catholic university. Today, the University embraces the challenges of the 21st century with the same strength and determination demonstrated by its founding fathers, to make the world a better place for all.

Special events and programs are planned throughout the year. Gonzaga honors the founding of the institution and its impact in the Pacific Northwest with a series of events in September, including the 125th Mass of the Holy Spirit Sept. 12; the Pilgrimage to the Mission of the Sacred Heart in Cataldo, Idaho, Sept. 14-15; and an Historic First Day of Class campus-wide celebration Sept. 17.

Zagapalooza All-Class Reunion/Fall Family Weekend (Oct. 19-21) brings all alumni together on campus to celebrate the Gonzaga experience, kicked off by a special event in the Spokane Convention Center Friday, Oct. 19 featuring entertainment, exclusive giveaways, birthday cake and more. The Gonzaga men’s basketball annual first practice celebration, Kraziness in the Kennel, will also highlight the weekend.

National Gonzaga Day, in the winter of 2012-13, brings Gonzaga to communities around the world, with gatherings in more than 30 locations to simultaneously watch a men’s game and celebrate the transformation a Gonzaga education brings. Gatherings will feature special guests, announcements, prizes and more.

In honor of the milestone, Gonzaga students, faculty, staff and volunteers will embark on 125 service projects in the Spokane region and around the world. The University will also sponsor and be present at many Spokane community events this spring and summer, including the Spokane Lilac Festival Armed Forces Torchlight Parade, Bloomsday and Hoopfest.

The School of Law launches its 100th Anniversary celebration Sept. 20 with a lecture by attorney and best-selling author Scott Turow. In addition to a variety of localize events and commemorations throughout the year, an all-class reunion and gala weekend is planned for April 20, 2013.

Commencement 2013 brings to a close the yearlong recognition of the milestone.

Copies of two limited-edition anniversary books can be reserved now at www.gonzaga.edu/anniversarybooks. “Celebrating Gonzaga: The University and Its People,” and “Gonzaga Law: The First 100 Years” will be printed and ready for purchase this fall.

For more details on Gonzaga’s anniversary celebrations, visit the website:  www.gonzaga.edu/125. Please check back in May for launch of the official anniversary website, with complete event information and interactive ways to experience Gonzaga’s tradition and transformation.

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