They were a band of brothers. A ragtag affiliation of students who thought Xavier was a fountain of knowledge—and they were here to drink. Or something like that.
They called themselves the “Golden Grainers.” They weren’t an official campus club and certainly not a fraternity, says organizer Ray Zwolinski, a 1965 business graduate. But they did possess their own personalized mugs that sat behind the bar at Dana Gardens.
They also organized college socials, like the little dance function they put together called the “Drink and Drown” at a hall in Norwood where they charged $3 admission for guys and $1 for girls, some of whom were visiting from a local nursing school. The $1,000 they netted from the dance were to be spent on…well, it didn’t really matter. The dean of students got wind of the party after a couple of Grainers got arrested and called the Grainers into his office to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Understanding the urgency of the situation, the Grainers offered up the truth—or something like it: They were going to give the money to St. Aloysius Orphanage just down the road from campus. The dean made sure it was the case by cosigning the checks the group began sending to the orphanage. The story has a happy, even charitable, ending: The Grainers did become extensively involved with the orphanage, even coaching its basketball, football and baseball teams.
Today, as alumni, some of the club’s members still get together for at least one basketball game a year. “We go to a Notre Dame football outing every year, too,” says Thomas Reese, a 1965 business graduate. “There’s maybe 60 of us, and we still meet three times a year.” The group even came together last year to fund a study room in the Williams College of Business. “One Golden Grainer said that it was something of an oxymoron to have a study hall named after our organization,” says Zwolinski. “However, if you looked around the room at the participants who attended the dedication, you would be proud to know the many accomplishments of the individual members.”