On October 19, 2019, over 2,200 alumni and friends of Menlo College honored their connection to the school by playing hard-fought and sometimes hilarious alumni versus varsity games, dining at food trucks, watching student talent at an outdoor stage, and delighting in old and new friendships made through the College.

Menlo College alumna Maya Sewald ’75 summed up the College’s fifth annual OAKtoberFest celebration in two words. “It rocks,” said the founder of Ovation Real Estate.

Featuring “connections across generations,” according to Dr. Marianne Neuwirth, Director of the College’s Oral Communication program, the event found baby strollers parked next to the picnic tables where alumni, professors, students and staff introduced family members. There were ping-pong competitions, toss and pitch games, and a climbing wall.

The College showcased its sense of community across its renovated campus. “The pathways, landscaping and grounds are outstanding and welcoming,” said Alan Fernandez ’04, a music and arts promoter who is now in his second year on the Menlo College Alumni Council. He made these observations at an  alumni brunch hosted at College President Steven Weiner’s campus home.

Fernandez, now 55, attended Menlo College as an older student and says that he continues to serve the College because “Menlo gave me dignity and a sense of accomplishment…especially since I had an academic journey that moved outside a traditional college path.”

John Rohrer ’89, now a strategic account manager at Dell Technologies, invited his wife to the alumni brunch. “The small campus creates a culture of community,” he said, “and what is unique is that even graduates who live far away try to come to OAKtoberFest every year.”

Rohrer, valedictorian of his class, was pleased to see Menlo Economics Professor Dr. Craig Medlen at the brunch. “He was an anchor person for me and I think about what he taught me even now 30 years after graduation.”

Menlo’s most recent valedictorian, Zacchaeus (Ziggy) Beatty ’19, now working in audit assurance at Big 4 accounting firm PwC, warmly greeted his accounting professor and mentor Dr. Janis Zaima. Beatty observed that “the study skills that I learned at Menlo have helped me greatly as I train to be an auditor.”

Afternoon events had a decidedly international and multicultural flavor, reflecting the tastes and talents of Menlo’s community. Food trucks served up Hawaiian, Asian and Mediterranean food, while an outdoor stage show, hosted by Dylan Houle, Director of Internships, Career Services and Study Abroad, included students showing off Hawaiian and hip-hop dance moves. Chinese students Hongyu Luo ’21, Minchen Li ’21, and Qingyi Huang ’20 sang in English and Mandarin to the Chinese hip-hop hit, Made In China, and the Pacific Islander Club performed exuberant Hawaiian dance.

As the afternoon closed, senior Brenda Flores ’20 and her mother, Lilliana Reyes of Castro Valley, chatted with Menlo’s Provost Grande Lum. “I’ve been coming every single year to see Brenda on the dance team,” said Reyes. “Menlo is such a warm, welcoming place. I could not have found a better school for my daughter.”

Photo by Lisa Ann Villarreal

{ Be the first to comment }

The Parent Education Series offers county-wide parent and community education talk on Oct. 24

On Thursday, Oct. 24, The Parent Education Series is offering the first-ever San Mateo County-wide parent and community education event, No Such Thing as a Bad Kid, with youth care expert Charlie Appelstein. The free talk will take place from 7:00 to 8:30 pm at Menlo-Atherton High School. Register online. This special event is sponsored […]

Click to read more →

Menlo College hosts TEDx conference with theme “This is America”

On September 21, 2019, Menlo College launched its first ever TEDx conference, centered on the theme This is America. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At these events, TED Talks, video and performances combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a smaller setting. […]

Click to read more →

MPCSD kicks of its 2019-2020 Speaker Series with talk by Dr. Jo Boaler

The Menlo Park City School District announced its line-up for its 2019-20 Speaker Series, starting with Dr. Jo Boaler (pictured) introducing her new book Limitless Mind: Learn, Lead, and Live Without Barriers, on Wednesday, Sept. 4 at 6:30 pm. All events are held at the Hillview Middle School PAC, 1100 Elder Avenue, Menlo Park. Dr. Boaler, Professor […]

Click to read more →

Mathitude programs continue to expand with new Math Engagement Clubs

Emails Paula Hamilton who started Mathitude in 2013 to further math engagement for children and teens: “We finished our Math Summer Refresh classes at Ladera Rec earlier this month, and we now have a suite of seven enrichment books available for rising second grade through rising Algebra students. These books are full-color and packed with games, […]

Click to read more →

Enrollment open for Teacher Pipeline Project to train for preschool teaching positions

Shape young hearts and minds by becoming an early learning educator! Enrollment is now open for Community Equity Collaborative‘s Teacher Pipeline Project. This program bundles early childhood college courses with childcare, meals plus individual coaching and is available at no cost in two convenient locations: the Boys and Girls Clubs in Menlo Park as well […]

Click to read more →

Community Conversation: Domestic Violence 101 takes place at Menlo Park Library on July 30

What are the dynamics of domestic violence, and how do we support survivors regaining control of their lives? Come to the Menlo Park Library on Tuesday July 30, from 6:00 to 7:00 pm to hear a talk about the specific tactics of power and control used to perpetuate domestic violence (DV). Through interactive activities and […]

Click to read more →

Menlo Park City School District announces community connection opportunities before the end of school year

The current year may be drawing to a close on June 14, but there are still plenty of chances to share your input and connect with the Menlo Park City School District before then. June 4: School Board meeting with end of year staff celebration. You are invited to attend our regular School Board meeting […]

Click to read more →

Lily’s Wings: An Anti-Trafficking Community Project and Play on May 15

Lily’s Wings: An Anti-Trafficking Community Project and Play, part of the M-A Parent Education Series, will take place on Wednesday, May 15, 2019, from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm at the M-A Performing Arts Center (PAC). Open to parents, youth 13+, educators, and community members! Register for this free event online. Lily’s Wings is an original project […]

Click to read more →

Local high school students named National Merit Scholarship winners

Six local high school students were among those receiving National Merit Scholarship’s of $2,500 each. The six are: Anna E. Quinlan, Atherton resident, Menlo-Atherton High School; Probable career field: Bioinformatics Thomas M. Woodside, Atherton resident, Menlo School; Probable career field: Computer Science Caleb M. Dittmar, Menlo Park, The Nueva School of San Mateo; Probable career […]

Click to read more →

Measurement and Me is fun class for young kids on April 6

In this program from the Bay Area Discovery Museum, young mathematicians compare, contrast, count, and measure as they investigate how tall, long, wide, and heavy things are in the world around them. For ages 3-6, registration required. The event takes place on Saturday, April 6, from 10:30 to 11:30 am. This free event is funded […]

Click to read more →