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Latest Letter from Sean

Greetings Class of 1979,

Happy New Year 2019! This is the year we have been awaiting since 2014 as the Class of 1979 will once again muster in Annapolis for a monumental reunion of noble Patriots! Yes, as I have been extolling for quite some time now, the 40th Anniversary Reunion of the Class of 1979 will be held in September on a weekend still to be determined. It is my fervent hope that we gather in the largest numbers since July 7, 1975. All members of the Class of 1979, both graduates and non-graduates, plus the widows and children of our fallen classmates are welcome to attend; indeed, strongly urged to attend and celebrate the many achievements of our class.

The Reunion Committee will meet (virtual attendance should be possible) this month to build a preliminary schedule and make other decisions so that when a date is selected, we are ready to move forward immediately.

In case you haven’t been paying attention, the date of the Reunion will be selected upon release of the 2019 Navy Football schedule, which will occur in late February of early March and is driven by the American Athletic Conference (AAC). I fully expect a suitable home game will be scheduled on either the 14th, 21st, or 28th of September 2019. Our Reunion will then be held beginning the Thursday of that weekend and running through Sunday, with a busy agenda planned for each day.

The Reunion Committee is looking at such innovations as not having a headquarters hotel, but blocking rooms at various hotels in and near Annapolis. Check-in may be at a downtown venue, like McGarvey’s. Our big dinner could be in Ackerson Tower at the Stadium, and our “Tailgate” in the N-Star Room at the stadium. All of this is unofficial, but when details are confirmed I will get the gouge to you ASAP.

Another big event this year will be the election of Class Officers (President, Vice president, Secretary, Treasurer, and Battalion Representatives) who will hold office from January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2029. The process, as spelled out in our Class By-laws, will involve the appointment of a three-person Nomination and Election Committee by the Class Officers, probably in June 2019. The Class will then have the opportunity to nominate eligible candidates to the committee, who will vet them, and place them on the ballot if qualified. The actual election will be conducted, likely through a survey program on-line, during a two-week period within a month of the Reunion. Results will be announced at the Quinquennial Class meeting at the reunion.

The majority of the Class f 1979 will turn 62 years of age this year. Some will turn 65. In any event, time marches on for each of us, so the opportunities to gather as a Class are becoming precious commodities. During the last four or five years leading up to our 50-year Reunion in 2029, we will be fully engaged through the “Another Link in the Chain” program with the Class of 2029. Those future Midshipmen are currently eleven or twelve years old.

Finally, December 31, 2019 will be the last day to make pledges or donations to our 40-Year Class Legacy Project. To refresh your memory, our Class pledged to raise $500,00 toward three specific targets: Academic Excellence -Trident Scholar Program, Athletic Excellence (Both at $187,0000) and the Annual Fund ($125,000). As 2018 wrapped up we were in very good shape, having smashed the initial $500, 000 goal. The following summarizes our end-of-year status:
Academic Excellence – Trident Scholar Program: Goal: $187,000; Current Raised or Pledged Funds: $168,951.10; Delta - $18,048.90 in the red; From 185 Donors.
Athletic Excellence: Goal: $187,000; Current Raised or Pledged Funds: $360,566.15; Delta - $173,566.15 in the black; From 172 Donors.
Annual Fund: Goal: 125,000; ; Current Raised or Pledged Funds: $613,040.47; Delta - $488,040.47 in the back; From 306 Donors.

So, two things on this report pop out at me: First, we need to close the $18,048.90 gap in support of the Trident Scholars. Second, the vast majority of our living classmates, grad and non-grad, are not stepping up to give back to the Naval Academy. If we just had 100 of these classmates step up and pledge $1,000 each, we would be in great shape! Expect a more targeted message on this soon.

Class funds don’t end there either. As I pointed out previously, we also have Class Funds going to support of the Brigade Commander’s Plaque in Bancroft Hall, operating expenses for the Class Tailgates and Website, and seed money for reunions (among other things). During the upcoming year the Class Officers will discuss how best to sustain our operating funds, plus establish a new fund to support the Link-in-the-Chain program. We will also discuss support and sponsorship of CVN 79 (the JFK), and DDG 79 USS Oscar Austin.

I also have some sad news to pass along. George Welch, who coached Navy Football from 1973–1981 and earned a 55-46-1 record in that time, passed away on January 2, 2019, surrounded by his family. He was 85 and had been in declining health for a while. Coach Welch will be missed by his players at Navy, including our great Navy Football classmates who were guided by the coach to wins over Air Force and Army in three of our four years, and a big win over BYU in the inaugural Holiday Bowl our Firstie year. Coach Welch went on to great success at UVA where he eventually retired. As I understand it, his services were private.

So that is a look ahead at this new year. May it be filled with many joys and blessings to you and your families. We look forward to seeing EVERYONE at the Reunion!

Enjoy a Happy New Year!

BEAT ARMY!

Omnes Viri 1979,

Sean

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