by John Hubbard
How beautiful was it?
As lovely as a memory burnished over 50 years.
Colgate stood up to the fondest recollections during a bright and shining reunion weekend. With the classes of 1946 and 1971 at the center, nearly 2,000 alumni and family members gathered on campus to celebrate one another and the place where they remain forever young.
At the '46 banquet, one of the first official functions of the four-day event, President Neil Grabois responded to the class gift of an endowed scholarship fund by saying, "Scholarships are at the very heart of our capacity to bring talented people to our institution. I know I speak for generations yet to come in expressing our gratitude."
It was generations past, though, that were spotlighted this weekend as Colgate
celebrated its richest heritage. "Colgate is a place that
is fundamentally about people," pointed out President Grabois at
a breakfast for Presidents' Club members. |
The campus was grand in glorious weather, the schedule crafted to provide full and fascinating days, the tents stocked for merriment -- all key aspects -- but the quintessential reunion element is camaraderie. That the setting is perfect is more than incidental but Colgate was, is and always will remain its people.
Reunion College reflects the seriousness of purpose, the exchange between
teacher and student, that is at the core of so many warm memories. Shakespeare,
domestic violence, academic dishonesty, the Internet, morality, ethics,
retirement, architecture, mountaineering, astronomy, admissions, careers, the
nature of drawing, stress management and German white wines were only part of
In all there were more than 40 Reunion College events enriching the schedule and recreating the flavor of undergraduate days.
Further rounding out the weekend were award presentations, dedications, memorial services, the Puja and installation ceremony, dance performances and a concert of transfigured music by Marc Black and Ed Bialek, both from the class of '71.
Maroon Citations were presented, the Ann Yao Award was given and the
Distinguished Alumni awards were made. The outstanding teaching of Jim
McLelland and the late Jack Mitchell was recognized. |
There was golf, tennis and swan feeding. Campus tours were popular, especially since even during the past five years the transformations have been dramatic. And a parade ran through it as the generations filed along Fraternity Row to the All-Class Luncheon and a report that Colgate is thriving.
Of course, there were the tents too. Celebrants danced under a
full moon and among the stripes. |
"I'm always struck with the ease with which friendships are renewed," said President Grabois early in the weekend and it certainly became easier as reunion progressed.
Nothing changes. The moon still rises over West Hall and the setting sun stretches yet across Taylor Lake. At the luncheon, Bill Wilson '20 and Jung Pak '96, representing the oldest and youngest alumni and offering proof that the past is prelude, embraced. It was there that Professor of History Emeritus Bill Askew summed up the magic of reunion and indeed the spirit that is Colgate.
"It's always good to see a bunch of Colgate people together. They're the best people in the world."