First-ever Bobcat Weekend showcases community, QU spirit

By Andrea McCaffrey February 14, 2022

Smiling alumni pose for a selfie in front of a wall with Quinnipiac colors and images

Mark and Mindy Plostock ’71 embody the promise that a Quinnipiac education is for a lifetime. This fall, they joined more than 3,000 alumni, students and their families to celebrate Quinnipiac’s enduring community spirit at the first-ever Bobcat Weekend.

“I had such a wonderful time. Even with the rain, I don’t think I stopped smiling the whole weekend. Being on campus just brought back a flood of memories,” said Mindy, her voice thick with emotion. “A lot of things I had forgotten until I was back here. And it was wonderful. It really was.”

The Plostocks and their fellow Golden Bobcats from the classes of 1970 and 1971 were able to celebrate their 50th reunion in person after the pandemic disrupted last year’s event. The weekend was an opportunity to reflect on the impact their Quinnipiac education has had on their lives and family.

“The organizers know how to plan these events so that everyone feels welcome the minute you arrive on campus,” said Mark. “And we love seeing the students excited and involved. They seem to be so happy at Quinnipiac. Like we were. That hasn’t changed.”

Over the past 50 years, the Plostocks have remained active with QU roles that reflect the breadth of the university community as students, parents, faculty, alumni, ambassadors and volunteers. The couple initially met during Mindy’s first-year orientation. Twenty-five years later, their daughter, Lisa ’97, would also meet her husband as a Quinnipiac first-year student when her roommate introduced her to Lyle Wind in 1993. For the Plostocks, Quinnipiac is truly a family affair.

“It’s a beautiful connection we all share and speaks to the sort of community this campus values,” said Mindy. “When we stopped by the alumni event at the Hereld House without an RSVP, they made room for us. That’s a testament to the thoughtfulness that goes into who the university hires. Students here are not only receiving a great education, they are learning to be good people who are making a difference after they leave. And that’s a legacy we are proud to support.”

This year, to underscore the shared sense of community and connections of Bobcat Nation, the university combined two, longtime signature events, Alumni Weekend and Parents & Family Weekend, into one special event. Not even the rain on Saturday could dampen the sense of excitement as students and their families, along with alumni spanning the past 50 years, joined together to reminisce over old memories and create meaningful new ones. The weekend included a variety of activities for all ages with academic presentations, athletic competitions, a family Halloween picnic, musical performances, campus tours, tailgating and a pep rally.

“Despite the weather, the spirit of Bobcat Nation shined brightly and warmly during the weekend,” said Vice President for Development and Alumni Affairs Todd Sloan. “The university community was energized as our alumni and families celebrated their connection to Quinnipiac while enjoying the growth and evolution of our three campuses, learning about what makes a Quinnipiac education unique and catching up with friends — and making new ones.”

President Olian Addresses QU Community

One of the high points of the weekend was the opportunity for the Quinnipiac community to hear directly from President Judy Olian during her State of the University address, which included a student panel discussion and time for questions from the audience.

Speaking to a packed auditorium and online Zoom audience, Olian outlined the many new initiatives on campus and spoke with optimism about future endeavors.

She emphasized the university’s rise in stature with national recognition for its leadership and distinction as a comprehensive academic university. She cited Quinnipiac’s agility in pivoting toward marketplace demands while praising the expertise of the university’s engaged faculty, staff and alumni with research and academic grants on the rise. She also highlighted the many ways in which Quinnipiac continues to positively impact the greater community while still coping with the ongoing global pandemic.

Following her address, panelists fielded questions and comments about the university’s current programs and future plans. Charlotte McCue, the mother of panelist Student Government Association Vice President for Public Relations Jennifer McCue ’23, MS ’24, thanked President Olian and drew applause for referencing her experience as a current parent of a Quinnipiac student.

“I was nervous sending my kid off to college in the middle of a pandemic. But the experience has been nothing but stellar from this university,” said McCue. “She is thriving here and loves it. Most of the students I’ve spoken to are engaged. They’re excited. So, I want to thank all of you because it is a partnership with the students. And I couldn’t be happier to have my child at Quinnipiac.”

Bobcat Spirit Shines Brightly at Tailgate

Members of the Class of 1991 embraced the autumn drizzle during a tented tailgate lunch before the men’s ice hockey game. Shouting greetings to each other as their numbers continued to increase during the afternoon, the group shared a canopy of multiple tents to stay dry amid a backdrop of laughter, warmth and family.

Since graduation, the Class of ’91 members of Alpha Chi Rho and their former QU neighbors have celebrated birthdays, weddings, new jobs and the demands of growing families together.

"These milestone reunions are super fun,” said Mark Santino ’91. “Even though there wasn't a formal QU milestone event for our class 30th reunion, we pulled together an impromptu tailgate party and had a blast despite the rain. It's like time stands still between these events — we just picked up where we left off. Definitely looking forward to the next get-together with this great group of friends." 

Nearby, the Bergen family from Bergen County, New Jersey, took some time from their busy day to tailgate with their daughter Katelyn, a first-year occupational therapy major.

“We went to the bookstore and got some swag, had lunch, now we’re hanging out and waiting for the game,” said Dayna Bergen. “Overall, Quinnipiac was the right size and the best fit for Katelyn, especially with her acceptance into the accelerated OT program major. It’s a beautiful school, and she’s very happy. We take every chance we get to visit.”

On the other side of the parking lot, the family of one of Quinnipiac’s most famous set of graduates were organizing their tent awaiting the arrival of more than 20 family and friends. Mike and Anne Ciacciarella are well known as the parents of Quinnipiac’s famous quadruplets Vincent, Michael, Anna and Sofia, who celebrated their graduation last May.

Anna, who is studying for a master’s degree in environment and sustainability at the University of Michigan, returned to campus for the first time since graduation to attend Bobcat Weekend. Michael, who works for the town of Guilford as the assistant town engineer, has remained involved on campus by attending athletic events. Their two siblings, Sofia and Vincent, attend the University of Illinois. Sofia is working toward her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, and Vincent will graduate in May with a master’s degree in management.

Their experience, like the Plostocks, illustrates that a Quinnipiac education extends far beyond four years — it’s for life.

“All of our children did amazing here. They received a great foundation, and we are very proud of them all,” said Anne. “For all of us, our relationship with Quinnipiac didn’t end with graduation. We’re always going to support QU and couldn’t wait to be here this weekend to show our support and reconnect with the university we love. We are a Bobcat family for life."

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