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History of the FAA: The Beginning

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Dennis Kirby

The Franciscan Alumni Association concept resulted from the 30th anniversary reunion of the First Duns Scotus Lay Student Class of 1959-1960.  George Ski and Dennis Kirby originated and organized the first FAA concepts/meeting. 

An open invitation to all known alumni was sent out, inviting all to a reunion at St. Francis Center on Sunday, May 28, 1989.  Twenty-six alumni and a number of friars attended the meeting.  After discussion, the attendees encouraged the further development of the FAA concepts.

On November 11, 1989, a volunteer committee met at St. Francis Center to explore the concept of an FAA organization.  The original name of the FAA was "Franciscan Alumni of St. John the Baptist Province."  The Steering Committee included Steve Kaelin, Dave Jasper, Don Wess (all of Cincinnati), George Ski, Fr. Silas Oleksinski, and Dennis Kirby.

The first newsletter was published in January 1990, and the second in May 1990.  The focus of these newsletters was to communicate the committee's developments for a possible FAA organization and to invite alumni to the second annual reunion.

Steering Committee presented ideas regarding an FAA vision, mission statement, membership identification, organization, education & research, service possibilities, communications, spiritual growth of members, fellowship, etc.  These were broad categories and needed further exploration, development, and implementation.

The FAA database of names and addresses continued to grow and be refined.  Names were obtained from records at Duns Scotus, St. Francis Seminary, and Franciscan headquarters, as well as other alumni.

In the fall of 1990, the first Board was formed when Phil Zepeda, Charlie Bullington, Ralph Hatke, Tom Keller, Joe Buening, Fr. Silas, and Bro. Marcel volunteered to serve with George Ski, Dave Jasper, Steve Kaelin, and Dennis Kirby.  A major event that year was decorating a Christmas tree at the Center using written memories sent in by alumni as ornaments on the tree.  It was a great success.

The second reunion was held on June 24, 1990, at St. Francis Center.  The theme was "Franciscan Ideals and Re-commitment."  Reconciliation with the Franciscans was emphasized. Forty-four alumni attended and slept in the seminary dormitory rooms.

It was at this meeting that the