It was all about school spirit, old friends and fond memories at HWS Reunion 2014, as nearly 1,000 alumni and alumnae returned to campus to celebrate their time at the Colleges.
From campus tours and Alums on Parade to the Mini College courses and a spectacular fireworks show, Reunion 2014 featured an exciting lineup of events for everyone in attendance. Representing 46 different Classes, alums from across the country and around the world returned to enjoy time at their alma maters.
Throughout the weekend, the Classes of 1964 and the Classes of 1989 celebrated their milestone 50th and 25th reunions, respectively. Both Classes had the chance to celebrate with dinners at the President’s House, as well as special gatherings for the Classes, including the Classes of 1964 remembrance meeting “Gone, But Not Forgotten.”
“I’ve wanted to come back to Reunion for a while, and I am so happy I did. It’s even more beautiful than I remember here,” said Diane Pinto Borjes ’89, who was attending for her 25th Reunion. “Hobart and William Smith really became a part of my life.”
Gathered with members of the Classes of 1989 at the 25th Reunion Dinner at the President’s House, Borjes said her last time on campus was her 5th Reunion, but that it was great to watch everyone reconnect, whether they have been attending Reunion each year or haven’t been back in two decades.
Back on campus for his 50th, The Rev. Charles Cloughen Jr. ’64 was but one of many alums from the Classes of 1964 who returned to celebrate his or her milestone year.
“I felt welcomed right away when I first arrived at Hobart and William Smith,” said Cloughen, reminiscing about his first-year at HWS. “This is where I got the foundation I needed to prepare me for the rest of my life. It was the right size and you could really talk to people. It is a very special place.”
The Classes of 1964 concluded their dinner celebration with singing around the piano in the President’s House. With President Mark D. Gearan at the piano accompanied by a group of student singers, members of the Classes sang along to favorite tunes such as “Yesterday” and “When I’m Sixty-Four” by The Beatles, as well as other hits from the 1960s and beyond.
In addition to the dinners, Reunion featured a slew of events that resonated with high spirits, along with plenty of sunshine over the course of the weekend.
On Friday, Reunion kicked off with the HWS Classic golf outing at Bristol Harbour Resort, where alums enjoyed a day on the links. In addition, alumni and alumnae also joined excursions on The William Scandling research vessel across the waters of Seneca Lake. The event was led by Professor of Geoscience John Halfman.
During the day at Reunion Headquarters, alums also had the chance to catch up with each other before heading out to one of the day’s many events.
“I’ve graduated from four colleges, and my favorite one is right here,” said Alexander Angeloff ’55. “Something about HWS makes you fall in love with it just being here three to four years.”
Throughout the day, there were guided tours of campus, and alums and visitors climbed the steps of St. Mark’s Tower to get one of the best views in all of Geneva. There was the Tour De Finger Lakes bike ride, a historical tour of Geneva and the Rose Hill Mansion, as well as the ever-popular mini-college courses.
The Reunion BBQ and an Evening of Jazz featuring Bob Masteller ’60 and Steve Venuti ’71 rounded out the day’s events.
On Saturday, the exciting events lineup continued, beginning with the Sunrise 5K and Sunrise Yoga on the Bozzuto Boathouse dock. The State of the Colleges was also a morning highlight, when President Gearan shared remarks about the achievements of the past year, including the increasingly impressive Admissions statistics, to the state-of-the-art facilities and the impressive support from alums and parents.
“The state of the Colleges is unbelievable compared to when I was a student,” said R. Laurent Cannon ’64 following the State of the Colleges address. “I think that what’s occurred in the past 50 years is very impressive.”
Saturday also included the ever-popular Alums on Parade down Pulteney Street and across the Quad, led this year by Alta Boyer ’36, who represented the earliest class in attendance. Throughout the day, there was plenty of activities for alums and their families to enjoy, including an ice cream social, kids camp and teen night.
Saturday also featured the LGBTQ Gathering at the Seneca Room, as well as several open houses, including WEOS and WHWS, Intercultural Affairs, Greek houses, Abbe Center for Jewish Life, and more.
Reinaldo Llanos ’99, who founded the Latin American Organization Extravaganza, said it was great to talk to current students about their experiences and plans.
“We did not want to just promote Hispanic culture, because there were so many others in LAO,” Llanos said. “We wanted to reflect the entire LAO culture, and this was how we did it.”
Yoselin Genao ’00, who was attending the Study Abroad Open House in Trinity, said she was excited to be back and glad to be able to share in memories of HWS with her sisters, Carmen Genao ’04 and Martha Genao ’02.
“I just love that my other sisters also came here because it means I get to come back to campus all the time for each of our reunions,” she said. “I just love it here and love coming back whenever I can. It’s beautiful!”
Other major Saturday highlights included the President’s Reunion Forum on the Quad, in which alumni and alumnae citations were awarded, as well as the announcement of Classes’ Annual Fund gifts.
“It’s always a pleasure to greet alumni and alumnae returning to their alma mater for Reunion,” Gearan said during the Reunion Forum. “I know many of you from your previous visits to campus and through the many regional events we hold every year. For others, this is your first time returning to the Colleges since graduation. And whether you graduated 50 years ago or five years ago, I know that although some things have changed – buildings, names and perhaps faces – this is still your Hobart and William Smith, a place grounded in community and a community dedicated to preparing students for lives of consequence.”
In addition, there was also the Distinguished Faculty Award ceremony on Saturday, with this year’s honor bestowed to Professor Emerita of English Claudette Columbus.
Saturday’s events concluded with the All Classes Dinner, and Quad Party and concert with fireworks. At midnight, alums gathered at the benches overlooking Bozzuto Boathouse to watch the annual launch of the Class Memory Lanterns, remembering classmates who have passed.
Reunion 2014 concluded on Sunday with the traditional Morning Toast at the President’s House for volunteers and donors, as well as the open house Sunday brunch on the Quad.
“Everyone has been so friendly – it feels like family,” reflected Kristie Takasz Kantor ’89. “It’s really wonderful to be back and see what’s here.”