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A GONZAGA UNIVERSITY FEATURE STORY
By Peter Tormey
|Returning to Alma Mater Gonzaga to Turn 50|
Jay Lewitt (’81) and a bunch of his pals from the Class of 1981 came through town recently to celebrate turning 50 this year. They took in a few Zags’ basketball games, toured campus, went to Pete’s Pizza for a calzone and a beer and made some new friends.
Twenty-two years ago they were all put together, randomly, in Catherine-Monica Hall. Gonzaga and Zags basketball have been their strong common bond ever since leaving. They have hiked the Grand Canyon together and went to the World’s Fair in Vancouver, B.C. -- among other activities.
“The bond that has kept us all together is the Zags,” said Jay, from Tarzana, Calif.
With Jay was Jack Jacobs, San Diego, whose uncle is the late legendary business Professor Dan Brajcich. Jack, San Diego, said they used to play pickup games with John Stockton and taught him many tricks, including to “always go for the strip instead of the stop.”
Eric Leonard, Monrovia, Calif., said he joined the group at semester break after toiling at a junior college for a year.
“My first experience here was being dropped off by the cab. It was cold, dark and snowing. The cab drove away and I’m standing at the steps of Gonzaga University with a suitcase and nothing else. I knew nobody and had nothing. The first person who came along said ‘you look new’ and directed me to Catherine-Monica dorm. Then, these guys let me in their club.”
Tim Johnson, Wasilla, Alaska, laid claim to being the most famous of the gang. He babysat Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the former running mate for GOP presidential candidate Sen. John McCain. The governor was 6 at the time, said Tim, who works full time in construction.
Ed Hill came to Gonzaga from Walla Walla and earned a degree in economics and accounting. He works for the state of Washington as a tax auditor and lives in Renton, Wash.
Mark Harrington came to Gonzaga from Billings, Mont., because his sister Kerry went here.
“Once I saw the kind of kids who were here and saw the campus, it seemed like the place I wanted to go.” Also a business major, Mark underwent a major mid-career change to become an elementary school teacher in the Bay Area. “Now my bosses are the 8-year-olds and my family; they are important.”
Eric offered a shout-out to other alumni: “The message is, ‘If you haven’t been here in a while, then come back and rendezvous in Spokane. You’ll be so glad you did.”