Thursday, July 30, 2015

MSMU's Olympian spirit

Olympian menu planning: Asst. Business Manager
Sister Rosanne Bromham, CSJ, confers with Marlin
Rosheim, Doheny food service manager, and Ata
Shafiyoon, director of food services for MSMC.
AS LOS ANGELES HOSTS the Special Olympics World Games this summer, the Mount has been rolling out the welcome mat at both campuses for delegates, dignitaries and judges from all over the globe.

The university's Olympian history stretches back more than 30 years, to the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles. Back then, too, the Mount opened its doors, dining halls and dorms -- including the newly built McIntyre Hall -- to Olympics support staff for two full months. AT&T, which provided telecommunications services during the Games, occupied all of the Doheny dorms and about a quarter of Chalon's. They also reserved the ground floor of the Doheny Mansion for entertaining and events.

The remaining space at Chalon housed "[Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee] contract and/or Games staff and/or sports officials and technicians, but not competitors," according to material in the Archives. In other words, pretty much a little bit of everybody but the athletes. 

Olympic athlete Clarita Neher shakes hands
with XXIII Olympiad mascot Sam the Eagle
at Siena Day at Chalon, April 25, 1984.
The Spring 1984 edition of Mount Magazine  reports that the housing contract with AT&T and the local organizing committee provided much-needed funding that went into the Mount's Endowment Fund and toward major construction projects on both campuses.

Logistics aside, the Mount joined with all of Los Angeles in celebrating the XXIII Olympiad. In the weeks before the Games, the annual Siena Day event on April 25, 1984, took on an Olympic theme with special guests Jack Smith, a popular Los Angeles Times columnist, and Clarita Neher, who competed as a high diver in the 1924 and 1928 Olympics.

Mount event coordinator Kathy
Janeski pins a "Play" button on
L.A.
Times columnist Jack Smith.
Sam the Eagle, the mascot of the Los Angeles Games, came along for the festivities. Neher and Smith spoke to an overflow audience at Chalon on the topic "Play: as Humor, as Sport."

For the Games themselves, 14 students and alumnae from the prestigious Mount Singers were selected to sing in the Olympic Honor Chorus, which performed at both opening and closing ceremonies and sang the national anthem for the arrival of President Ronald Reagan.

The Olympics are special, whether it's the traditional Summer and Winter Games or the Special Olympics. We're proud that Mount's welcoming spirit has taken on an Olympian spirit, and we wish continuing success to all the participants in this summer's events.