Another Hobart and William Smith Reunion has drawn to a close. Alumni and alumnae have echoed their final undergraduate days, left the residence halls in their packed cars and headed for all corners of the continent. Approximately 700 Statesmen and Herons and their families celebrated with the Colleges this weekend.
After arriving on campus Friday, attendees found themselves at the heart of a weekend jam-packed with activities. Alums set sail aboard the William Scandling, others scaled the stairs to the top of St. Mark’s Tower, and some took to the road on bicycles to take in the vistas of Seneca Lake for the Tour de Finger Lakes.
Lunchtime brought with it the opportunity for the coordinate colleges to meet separately to share in the accomplishments of current Statesmen and Herons, as well as the continued successes of alums. From internships to a growing network of alums, the rich tradition of HWS continues to thrive.
“I love Reunion because it says so much about this place,” Hobart Dean Eugen Baer P’95, P’97, HON’07 greeted alumni at the Hobart lunch. “This place holds memories, for all of you and for me. And these memories will be at the center of your Reunion: the land, the lake, the friends. To meet that person again, to meet that faculty member again – that’s what this is all about.”
At the William Smith luncheon, Dean of William Smith Susanne McNally spoke highly of the young women following in the footprints of alumnae before them. “Your college is thriving. William Smith is thriving,” she remarked. “The women we have coming in are as smart, as interesting and as interested as you are. They are coming to a college that has been educating women for more than 100 years and they are well positioned to deal with what’s coming with skills, talent, commitment, courage and humor.”
While some headed out on a tour of historic Geneva and the stunning Rose Hill Mansion, others headed back to school. Without skipping a beat, alums filled the seats of Coxe and Stern halls for mini-college classes with their favorite professors. They learned about baseball’s place in American culture, how HWS was built and reconstructed, and how the power of an idea can transform leaders and worlds.
Offices across campus opened their doors to alums. The Centennial Center for Leadership, the Salisbury Center for Career Services and Professional Development, and Admissions all provided in-depth programs for interested attendees. Fraternities also welcomed their brothers home, giving tours of some familiar – and some new – facilities and houses.
Friday evening saw the resurrection of the famed sign from “The Twin Oaks” restaurant – a favorite haunt for generations of HWS students – and the Classes of 1963 toasted to their 50th reunion. Alums and their families enjoyed a barbecue on the Quad and the evening finished with some inspired jazz provided by Bob Masteller ’60, Al Scheeren ’60 and Steve Venuti ’71, as well as dancing in Scandling Campus Center.
Saturday morning began with President Mark D. Gearan addressing alums at the annual State of the Colleges President’s Forum. Gearan acknowledged the longstanding commitment of HWS alumni and alumnae to the Colleges, and their generosity in supporting students and advancing the mission of the Colleges. The forum also illuminated aspects of the Colleges’ strategic plans for growth in enrollment and the Performing Arts Initiative.
“We are most grateful for your endorsement of our work, the opportunities that you provide for our students as we work to enhance the experience that rings true from your time here as we prepare them for this interesting century that they will live in,” remarked Gearan.
During the forum, the Alumni and Alumnae Associations presented awards to those who have gone above and beyond to serve HWS since their graduations. Henry “Hank” Holden ’63, P’84, P’89, who has formerly served on the Board of Trustees, received the Distinguished Service Award for Lifetime Service at Hobart College, and Barbara Petersen Shapiro ’63 received the Elizabeth Herendeen Odell ’22 Award, the William Smith Alumnae Association’s highest honor.
“Our volunteers and alumni and alumnae are always willing to support their alma maters and make a real difference in the life of the Colleges and in the lives of our students, faculty and staff,” said Vice President for Advancement Bob O’Connor.
The morning session was also highlighted by Annual Fund announcements, when each year presented their classes’ giving contributions. This year, the Classes of 1983 had the honor of contributing the greatest amount. With a total of $91,343 this year, the classes have has raised $1,204,834 since 2008.
Once the day was in full swing, alumni and alumnae lined up by class year in Medbery lot for the annual Alums on Parade. The Empire Statesmen Marching Band led the Herons and Statesmen down Pulteney Street to the Quad, where festivities continued with lunch and family games and activities. Members of the Classes of 1988 joined President Gearan for a lunch and reception commemorating their 25th Reunion.
Alumnae and alumni got a better taste for the region later in the afternoon, when attendees spent time beneath the Finger Lakes Wine Festival tent, which featured a variety of local wines for tasting. Others headed off to the LGBT Gathering in the Fisher Center, and William Smith alumnae convened for the traditional high tea.
The Distinguished Faculty Award was once more presented in keeping with tradition. The award – created, selected and bestowed by students – is presented each year to a former member of faculty who has had a lasting impact on students of the Colleges. Followed by a jazz ensemble performance, this year’s award honored the late Professor of Music Nicholas V. D’Angelo P’98, HON’59.
When the Oaks Tent opened on Saturday evening, the annual Reunion Quad Party truly began. Complete with food, live music and fireworks, celebrations saw all classes dancing late into the night. After the explosive fireworks display over Coxe Hall, alums made their way up to the shores of Seneca Lake, where they watched Chinese lanterns be released into the night sky. Ten in all, the lanterns symbolized each of the returning Classes celebrating milestone reunions.
On Sunday morning, alums toasted to another successful reunion over brunch and said farewell to their alma maters. But never fear, Statesmen and Herons – Reunion Weekend 2014 promises to be just as spectacular!
Relive Reunion Weekend 2013 with the Colleges at http://www.hws.edu/alumni/activities/reunion.aspx