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Celebrating Marquette around the world

Story by Tim Cigelske

Alumni and friends celebrating National Marquette Day in Honolulu last year show the shaka sign, a traditional Hawaiian greeting.

National Marquette Day has gone international.

This year fans from Milwaukee to Micronesia and around the globe will watch and cheer as the men's basketball team plays rival Cincinnati on National Marquette Day, which is Feb. 11, 2012.

The celebration includes 68 official game-watching parties in 32 states and six countries, including Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, England and South Korea. A full map and details can be found at NationalMarquetteDay.com.

"It's fun watching folks from the same class seeing each other for the first time in years, or people who didn't know they both moved to the same area," says Otto Heck, Arts '04, who is organizing the game-watching party in Washington, D.C.  "You almost have that feeling of the Bradley Center away from Milwaukee."

Some are going to great lengths to be part of the festivities. In Benin, Africa, Caroline Anderson, Grad '11, is planning to live-stream the audio on ESPN Radio which drew approval from color commentator Jim McIlvaine on Twitter.

Gatherings in London bring together alumni and students studying abroad to watch the game at a sports bar which is still decorated in blue and gold from last year's National Marquette Day.

"When I asked them why, they responded that they are an American sports bar and did not have good college basketball posters before," says Belton Flournoy, Bus Ad '03, who organizes the gathering with Marek Krawczyk, Bus Ad '03, Law '04, and Michael Peterson, Bus Ad ' 04. "As a result, one of the biggest American sports bars in London is decked out with Marquette decor!"

In Hawaii, Sheryl Murphy, Arts '96, Law '99, finds Marquette alumni can spontaneously discover each other on the island.

"I think the funniest thing that happens on National Marquette Day is that as we are watching the game and eating breakfast somewhere in Waikiki, complete strangers will come over and introduce themselves," she says. "We soon discover they are Marquette alumni, too!"

Several locations around the world are officially celebrating National Marquette Day for the first time. Andrew Sundbloom, Arts '06, and Ryan Roberts, Comm '06, are planning the first NMD party in Alaska. Freshman basketball player Derrick Wilson is from Anchorage, so Roberts expects his family may attend.

For Roberts, it's a day not only to cheer for a basketball team but to reflect on his Marquette experience with fellow alumni.

"Attending Marquette was one of the best choices I made in life," he says. "It allowed me a safe environment to learn about myself and connect with a host of people that were totally different than me. I became such a more balanced, accepting person going to school there, and watching a basketball game 3,000 miles away reminds me of the good fun I had."

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