Alums had an opportunity to get acquainted firsthand with the addition to the Scandling Campus Center by having lunch in the new Vandervort Room Friday afternoon. After a warm introduction by Director of Alumnae Relations Kathy Killius Regan ’82 and Director of Alumni Relations Jared Weeden ’91, Deans Eugen Baer and Cerri Banks greeted alums and welcomed them back to campus.
After lunch, the Deans each took the stage for a more formal address.
“When I was preparing for the Senior Dinner this year,” Banks said, “I asked Eugen, ‘Well, what are you going to say?’ And he said, ‘I have this Roman god…’ And I was immediately like, ‘Oh, boy. Do I need a goddess then? We’re supposed to be coordinate, right?’ Then I realized that ‘coordinate’ doesn’t mean doing the exact same thing at the exact same time.”
She went on to say that because of both the similarities between the Colleges and the differences, “Something really special has happened, and is happening, here at HWS. It’s more than the physical and external that brings you back to campus.”
To share with alums what some of the noteworthy changes are that are happening to the physical campus, the Deans gave the floor to Chris Button, senior project manager in the HWS Project Services Department, who highlighted for alums the recent construction, expansions and overhauls on campus, including the newly expanded Scandling Campus Center. Then, Button summarized upcoming projects, such as the Caird Center for Sports and Recreation, the Froelich Gatehouse and the planned performing arts center, which is still in its early phases of development.
“There are a lot of new buildings around-more and more buildings,” said Horton K. Durfee ’49, who grew up in Geneva. “Every time I turn around there is another building. The campus looks great for them.”
Baer returned to Banks’ idea that Reunion is about something more than the physical and external when he said to the alums, “You come to see each other. You come to touch base with friends and faculty and share memories. That’s the best part of Reunion-the inner part.”
Baer, a native of Switzerland, earned a doctorate from Yale University in 1971 and has taught at HWS for nearly four decades. He routinely teaches courses in semiotics, philosophy of language and European studies. He speaks 13 languages, tutored the Swiss Guard at the Vatican and trained as an Olympic downhill skier. Before coming to HWS, he received a licentiate degree in theology from the University of Freiburg, Switzerland, and a Baccalaureatus Biblicus from the Biblical Institute in Rome in 1966.
Banks holds a Bachelor of Science in inclusive elementary and special education, a master’s degree in cultural foundations of education, a Certificate of Advanced Studies in women’s studies, and a Ph.D. in cultural foundations of education-all from Syracuse University. At Syracuse, she was a recipient of many awards including the School of Education doctoral prize. Her research and teaching areas are in education and school reform, cultural studies, multicultural education and qualitative research. Her forthcoming book, “Black Women Undergraduates, Cultural Capital and College Success,” will be published this year by Peter Lang Publishing.