Reunion 2015: New leaves, deeper roots

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Members of the Class of 1950 march during the annual parade at Reunion. (Photo by Andrew Daddio)

Members of the Class of 1950 march during the annual reunion parade. (Photo by Andrew Daddio)

Raider spirit ran high May 28 to 31, as Colgate welcomed the 0s and 5s home to the Chenango Valley for Reunion 2015. More than 2,000 alumni and guests attended, ushering in the summer while celebrating love for their alma mater.

“This is my fourteenth reunion in a row,” said Bart Hale ’04. “I never miss it because it’s full of so many people who love Colgate, and you see lifelong friends across different years.”

Always mindful of tradition, Reunion 2015 included many familiar events such as banquets, concerts, and the Torchlight Ceremony. The weekend also offered special events such as tours of the Colgate Community Garden, a GPS scavenger hunt in downtown Hamilton, and a performance by Juggling Josh.

The Alumni Corporation held its annual awards ceremony in Memorial Chapel, where Interim President-Elect Jill Harsin commended the “sense of purpose, desire to be here, and confidence” of the student body over the 33 years she has taught here. “It’s always fun to see later what they have made of themselves, as well as their love and loyalty to this place,” she added.

Reunion College included intellectually stimulating classes taught by professors and graduates. Topics included Bluegrass Boy: The Music and Life of Peter Rowan ’65; Stars Over the Tents: Deciphering the Celestial Movements of the Stars, Moon, and Sun with Professor of Physics and Astronomy Tom Balonek; and A Tale of Two Sit-Ins featuring leaders from both the 1968 sit-in and 2014 sit-in at Colgate.

Throughout the weekend, the Village of Hamilton buzzed with activity as alumni gathered at old hangouts and enjoyed splendid central New York weather while strolling on Broad Street.

Coming from distances as far as 7,800 miles away, and ranging up to 92 years of age, as is Frank Zabransky ’50, alumni gathered under the tents on Whitnall Field to enjoy entertainment and fellowship.

In keeping with the spirit of times gone by, many alumni opted to stay in their former residence halls. Some meals were also served in Frank Dining Hall. Jean Marie Davis ’85, P’14’16 had the occasion to once again share a Parker Apartment with college roommates Kathy Armata ’85, Kathy Flannery ’85, and Karen (Abeshaus) Bromberg ’85.

“The four of us said ‘hey, it’s our thirtieth anniversary, let’s come to reunion,’” explained Davis. “We have never had the chance to all come back together. At this point in our lives, we’re more available to reconnect. Kathy Armata came from Boston, Kathy Flannery came from California, Karen came from Ohio, and I came from New York City.”

A number of undergraduates assisted the Office of Alumni Relations with Reunion efforts — a special opportunity to connect with those who came before them.

“The alumni were genuinely curious about my endeavors at school and were excited to hear about my interests, as well as share their own,” said Daye Ju ’16. Ju was driving Kate Betteridge ’10 in her golf cart when “very naturally we started to talk about summer, as well as post-graduation plans. This led to a conversation about an internship opportunity. Kate gave me her business card and offered me a paid summer internship with her company!”

The weekend came to a close with tearful goodbyes and see-you-later’s just as rain clouds began to roll into the valley. With new memories made to keep connections alive, just like that, another reunion had come to a close, proving once again that all roads can lead back to Colgate.