Fairfield alumni had the chance to sit back, listen to an informal jam session, and enjoy a casual barbecue while networking and reconnecting with each other at the home of Mitch Clarfield ’82 and his wife, Christine, in Malibu, California.
Already experienced at hosting alumni events for west coast alumni, the Clarfield family had graciously opened their doors for informal and fun gatherings in 2002 and 2008. Clarfield, Senior Managing Director at Berkeley Point Capital LLC, said that he hoped the event would become an annual occurrence.
“It was well attended, and there was a good range of classes from the 70s to current classes,” said Clarfield, who has three children with his wife: Maddie, a freshman at the University of Michigan, Elena (16), and Whitney (10). “Everyone had a good time and it was a great opportunity to re-connect with the West Coast Fairfield University alumni community,” he continued.
Attendees at the event were treated to a casual concert, courtesy of the host’s life-long love of guitars. Clarfield, a guitar aficionado has bought many over the years to play and to collect. The collection started, he said, when he was required to travel during his early career and spend weeks, and sometimes months, on the road. Wanting to have a guitar handy, but noting the hassle of carrying one everywhere, he started a tradition of buying guitars all around the country.
From the 1984 Martin Shenandoah that he bought upon his arrival in Los Angeles, to a Martin D45, bought in 1989 in Dallas, Texas, to a 1960 Gibson J50 that he bought in a pawn shop in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1991, each guitar has a special story. In 1998, he bought a ’94 Fender Stratocaster, previously owned by Eric Clapton. Clarfield acquired that guitar in an auction that the famous singer held to raise money for his rehabilitation center, Crossroads Centre. One of the most recent additions, bought in 2009, is a “rare and coveted” 1959 Gibson Les Paul Custom that Clarfield got for his 50th birthday.
Kim DiVincenzo Tobler ’02, a communication major and one of the alumni to pick up a guitar, said, “I definitely didn’t expect to be playing music that night but I am so glad I could share some songs with everyone.”
She added, “It was really such a special night and wild to think how many years have passed since I was a Fairfield student. That was an amazing time in my life. I had a great time catching up with people. I am looking forward to more LA chapter events.”
Clarfield said that when he was a student, Fairfield opened their doors to him when he transferred to the school mid-way through his collegiate career. “I enjoyed my time at Fairfield. It provided me with opportunities when opportunities were scarce and gave me a foundation for learning that I still use today,” he said. “My house is always open for a Fairfield University event.”
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