OXFORD, UK -- The setting was historic Oxford, not the Enchanted Mountains. The students wore suits instead of sweats. And rather than pizza and wings, the menu featured gazpacho with oak-roast salmon and avocado sorbet, pan-fried duck breast and lemon and lime posset.
But the Bonaventure spirit was just as strong on the other side of the Atlantic when the university began the 30th anniversary celebration of its Francis E. Kelley Oxford Program Thursday.
Alumni, students and faculty of the program, as well as administrators from St. Bonaventure and Trinity College, the current home of the program, took part in the festivities.
“We are so honored to have all of you from years past and from the present here with us for the 30th anniversary of the Francis E. Kelley Oxford Program, something St. Bonaventure University -- in its area --uniquely offers to all of you,” Michael Jones-Kelley, the program's director, told the group.
Thursday's events included a special video greeting from St. Bonaventure President Emeritus Sister Margaret Carney, a Pimms reception on the lawns at Trinity and a High Table dinner. Several officials from St. Bonaventure, including president Dr. Dennis DePerro, traveled from the states to Oxford for the celebration.
"This is a great life experience; carry it with you the rest of your life," DePerro told the group during his remarks at the High Table dinner.
The four-day event will continue with a High Tea on Friday and a bus trip to Stonehenge and Bath on Saturday. The celebration will conclude with a Sunday morning Mass in the Trinity Chapel, followed by a champagne brunch garden party in the President's Garden.
Thirty-three St. Bonaventure students are studying in Oxford this summer as part of the university's six-week program at Trinity College. The classes, taught by a mix of St. Bonaventure and Oxford professors, include electives and required courses from the St. Bonaventure curriculum.
Students spend four days each week in classes and learning communities with three-day weekends reserved for exploring life and culture abroad. The program includes trups to London and to Stonehenge and Bath and as well as optional trips to sites such as the Warner Bros. Studio Tour -- The Making of Harry Potter Studio in Leavesden northwest of London.