Only a few hours before converging on the Georgia Dome to watch the Musketeers play the University of Texas in the NCAA Sweet 16, Xavier students, alumni and friends gathered at the Wyndham Atlanta hotel to prepare.
Considered the largest alumni event outside of Cincinnati, the pre-game reception welcomed an estimated 1,000 enthusiastic basketball fans—a number that surprised organizers who had received only 291 responses to invitations sent out three days earlier.
“We tried to get the biggest room available and prayed it would be large enough,” says Matt Tripepi, assistant director for alumni chapters. Fans squeezed into the main ballroom for the two-hour event, eventually spilling into the adjacent lobby and pool area. University President Michael Graham, S.J., and Atlanta chapter president Michael Scanlon, a 1995 graduate, addressed the crowd, many of whom had to stand on chairs for a better view.