From the Scandling Campus Center to Seneca Lake, all corners of the Hobart and William Smith campus were bustling with excitement on Friday, June 6, as alumni and alumnae, family and other members of the HWS community kicked off the start of Reunion 2014.
In annual fashion, the celebrating and reminiscing over fond memories began during a slew of events, including campus tours, aboard The William Scandling research vessel and at the Bristol Harbour Resort for golfing at the HWS Classic. By noon, nearly 900 alums were already on campus for a weekend of excitement and reconnecting.
“This was home for four years,” says Karen Bartlett Seitz ’94 alongside her husband, Chris Seitz ’95, upon their arrival. “I’m looking forward to having all the memories just come back and to reliving it all.”
The Seitz family returned to campus from their home in Massachusetts for the first time in 10 years. Arriving with their three children, Karen says she wanted to bring them to the Colleges to “relive” some of her experiences at HWS with them. Karen Seitz, who played for the William Smith Soccer team when she was a student, says many of her favorite memories surround her time playing at “the nest.”
For many returning alums, “the nest,” or John H. Cozzens Jr. ’41 Memorial Field, was not part of campus until many years after their graduation.
Steve Gerzof ’64, who returned for his milestone 50th Reunion, says he was amazed at the physical changes made to campus since he was last in Geneva.
“There’s 22 new buildings,” says Gerzof, who arrived in the style of a true Hobart Statesmen with lacrosse stick in-tow. “In 1964, we didn’t even have 22 old buildings, including the maintenance shed!”
Gerzof was a member of the wrestling team, but remembers that there was an “unofficial stick handling requirement” to graduate. “Everyone here had to know how to play lacrosse, it was huge,” he says.
With campus abuzz with high spirits for Reunion, it seemed that many alums, such as Diana Woll Zurer ’64, said she wouldn’t miss the celebrations “for the world.”
Throughout the weekend, alums got the chance to explore the campus across a wide-ranging schedule of events. On Friday and Saturday afternoons, Reunion-goers climbed the steps of St. Mark’s Tower on South Main Street for stunning views of the campus, relived their days as a student in one of several “mini college” courses taught by faculty, and headed over to Houghton House to check-out HWS Chief Photographer Kevin Colton’s “Chasing the Light” exhibit.
Zurer, who is co-chair of 50th Reunion, says she was most excited for the “Western Civilization – What Came Next? What comes next?,” mini-college course. She says it was a two-year required course that was “central” to the curriculum when she was a student at William Smith. She says the course “taught them how to make connections” and gave them the opportunity to read books that they “might not normally” read outside of class.
On Saturday, alums marched in the annual parade, attended the Finger Lakes Wine and Beer Festival on the Quad and viewed the Belmont Stakes Race with classmates. Those celebrating their 25th and 50th Reunions had the chance to gather with their fellow classmates at the President’s House for Reunion cocktails and dinner during the evening.
As always, Reunion ended with a bang at the Reunion Gala on Saturday night. Alums gathered on the Quad to reminisce with classmates, enjoy drinks from the Oaks Tent and live music by Brass Taxi. The night ended with a fireworks display on the Quad and the launching of memory lanterns over Seneca Lake at midnight.