The Class of 2013 at graduation

“When my wife, Stephanie (Lamore ’14) passed the link to the Alumni Giving Weekend webpage on to me, I was so thrilled to see the beautiful and clean layout,” recalls Chris Sebastian (’13). “From there, the competition between our classes was on!”

Along with several of his classmates — most notably Peter LaFave, Lindsay (Astalos) Kasson, Bobby Richard, Jordan Brittain, and Andrew Rossi — Mr. Sebastian helped lead a successful effort to claim the highest participation rate in the 2021 Alumni Giving Weekend. The Class of 2013 bested all 45 of Thomas Aquinas College’s other graduating classes, fighting off stiff challenges from the Class of 1979 and TAC’s newest graduates, the Class of 2020.

“This year’s Alumni Giving Weekend was an incredible success, yielding well more than double the amount and value of gifts of any other year,” says Dr. Paul J. O’Reilly (’84), vice president for advancement. “All the classes stepped forward — but none so much as the Class of 2013.”

It is only fitting that members of the Class of 2013, who eight years ago chose St. Joseph as their patron, should win the interclass competition in this, the holy year proclaimed in his honor. It is also fitting that this group, which chose for its class quotation Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s call for greatness  — “The ways of the Lord are not comfortable, but we were not created for comfort. We were created for greatness” — should achieve greatness in its philanthropic efforts.

Members worked cheerfully and tirelessly throughout the Weekend to encourage each other’s generosity.

“I recently joined the newly formed Alumni Association board and attempted to reach as many classmates as possible via some form of contact, whether text, phone call, or social-media messages,” says Peter LaFave (’13). “The results of the class giving competition were reflective of our class’ spirit, comradery, and gratitude for the education and friendships produced by our time at the College. From day one of freshman year, we’ve been a tight-knit class, even though we were one of the College’s largest graduating classes.”

The Class of 2013, Mr. LaFave observes, is “also competitive, and we love our friendly class competitions.” In his case, the competition was familial. “I have to admit, a lot of my motivation came from the fact that I was competing against my wife, Adrienne (Grimm), who was rallying her classmates from the class of 2014,” he acknowledges. As a fellow ’13er  in a “mixed” marriage, Mr. Sebastian was every bit as competitive. “In case you can’t tell, we were pretty obnoxious to our wives, who both graduated the class after us,” he laughs.

The classmates left no stone unturned. “Pete and I were exchanging updated phone numbers for classmates, divvying up responsibilities of whom to contact, and tapping into the class spirit that we strove to cultivate during our time together at our alma mater,” says Mr. Sebastian. “I even unfortunately woke up one of our classmates living in Thailand early in the morning, trying to get ahold of him, not doing my time-zone calculations quite right. To his credit, he got up and donated right away. Thanks, George!”

Gracious in victory, members of the Class of 2013 have nothing but encouraging words for the other classes with which they vied all Weekend long, especially their peers from the College’s newest graduating class.

“It was so encouraging to see the overall success of the Alumni Giving Weekend, especially the high participation from the recent classes, particularly from the class of 2020 — another large class like ours — which certainly gave us a run for our money,” says Mr. LaFave. Adds Mr. Sebastian, “We would like to shout out to the Class of 2020, who took our mantle as the largest class ever, and even as new graduates entering the workforce still finished in the top five of the class rankings. Great job!”