Colgate community celebrates Reunion 2018

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What if you could go big and go home? That would be a Colgate reunion.

Last weekend, more than 2,600 alumni and friends returned to Colgate for Reunion 2018. They were graduates of classes ending in 3s and 8s. They were Office of University Studies (OUS) alumni, celebrating the program’s 50th anniversary. They were members of Phi Delta Theta, which marked its 100th year at Colgate in 2018. And they were members of the university’s Jewish community, on campus to honor the 25th anniversary of the Saperstein Jewish Center.

Anniversary events included a panel conversation with student authors of the newly published Repression, Re-invention, & Rugelah: A History of Jews at Colgate, edited by Professor Alice Nakhimovsky with a forward by Noel Rubinton, son of Noel Rubinton ’43. Rubinton relayed memories that his father had left with him of Jewish life at Colgate in the early 1940s, then spoke with co-authors Dominic Wilkins ’17, Marit Vangrow ’18, Emily Kahn ’19, and Kim Ravold ’19 on their writing and researching experience.

“It was exciting for me to get to hear the stories of the Jewish students who came before me, and it was an honor to get to tell those stories — both the positive stories and the stories of those who had to persevere,” Kahn said. “What I really hope comes from this book is that we can take some of the lessons of perseverance and try to use their stories to advocate for other groups on campus.”

Hailing their own anniversary, OUS alumni gathered on Saturday morning for a panel discussion on demonstrating resilience. That evening, in Parker Commons, they recalled their undergraduate days, recognized former directors, and praised the impact of the Association of Black Collegians, whose protests in 1968 spurred the administration to launch the University Scholars Program, the forerunner of OUS. When the speeches were over, the dancing commenced.

Learning, sharing, and dancing weren’t confined to special anniversary events. Reunion College featured panels on Caribbean Women’s Literature, Mars, filmmaking, cancer prevention, and more. The Alumni Council presented its annual awards to some of the university’s most dedicated graduates before the traditional torchlight parade. Members of Colgate’s Willow Society and Presidents’ Club hosted receptions, and President Brian W. Casey spent an hour with alumni and friends talking about Colgate’s present and future. Bands played in and around the circle of class tents until the late hours of the night became the wee hours of the morning. All weekend long, a Clifford Gallery exhibition by Professor Robert McVaugh offered a glimpse into the university’s historical master plans, and the Picker Gallery launched an exhibition drawing on pieces from the private collections of alumni.

While acknowledging the efforts of offices across campus in another successful reunion weekend, Associate Vice President of Institutional Advancement and Alumni Relations Tim Mansfield singled out alumni office staffers: Kate Saeger ’09, Beth Wood-Amir ’00, Carolyn Strobel, Veronica McFall ’89, Vicky Stone, and Monica Genge. “On top of their daily work with so many other alumni programs, they just pulled off a record Reunion Weekend,” he said. “I feel a remarkable sense of pride for this team.”

Next year, Colgate hosts an all-class reunion as part of its Bicentennial celebration. Watch for details.