When more than 600 alums arrived on campus, they knew there was a weekend of fun ahead. But they couldn't have predicted all of the exciting activities in store for them during Reunion 2008.
Once alums were registered on Friday morning, they set off to explore campus, Geneva and surrounding areas by hopping aboard the William Scandling on Seneca Lake and touring the historic Rose Hill Mansion. In the evening, many were enjoying Mug Night at the Oaks Tent, an international buffet dinner and 50th reunion cocktails and dinner at the President's house for the Classes of 1958. After dinner, alums listened to the jazzy tunes of musicians Bob Masteller '60, Steve Venuti '61 and their band at Houghton House while viewing the Dove Collection of student artwork.
"The president's dinner tops it all for me," said Lyn Shaver Dietrich '58. "As a student I lived close to the president's house in Brent House, so it was nice to be welcomed again by one of the Colleges' presidents."
Saturday morning, alums and their families attended the President's Breakfast and Alumni College sessions. "The discussions in the mini-college classes were great," said Michael Bita, husband of Marlena D'Agostino Bita '93. "We're very fortunate to be able to attend those."
While alums paraded down Pulteney and gathered for a picnic lunch on the Quad, Reunion kicked into full gear. Alums enjoyed open houses at the Finger Lakes Institute and the Salisbury Center and served as admissions officers for a day. By 2 p.m., hundreds of alums made their way to the Quad, the heart of Reunion 2008.
"Coming back to the Quad was one of the best parts of coming back to campus for me," explained Jacqueline Sergeant '83. "We all have so many memories of that one part of campus."
True to form, the Quad lent itself to forming new memories. With sprinklers spraying, faces being painted and alums' kids facing off with HWS varsity athletes, alums and their children had lots to do during the Family Festival on the Quad. "It was great to see old friends, like Heidi Zarnoch [Holland '93], and their children," said Bita '93.
Walter Keith '70, Ed Whalen '83 and dozens of other alums sampled wines from the region at the Finger Lakes Wine Festival held near Eaton Hall. At a nearby tent, Matt Brewing Company Vice President of Marketing and Sales Fred Matt '81 led a beer tasting session and gave a brief history of his family's brewery. "I had four memorable years at Hobart, and I attribute a lot of my success to the Colleges," said Matt. "So it's nice to be able to come back to campus, and it's fun to do."
Making their way around campus, alums walked through campus buildings, old and new. They toured new residences like Carr McGuire and the Abbe Center for Jewish Life, new academic buildings, the many fraternities and much more. "It's been nice to see that the many new buildings haven't changed the welcoming feel of campus," said Holland.
Alums were also welcomed by one another during Saturday Evening Class Dinners where they dined at tables according to their class year. "People, people, people: it's been great seeing all of these wonderful people here at Reunion," said Dietrich.
"Meeting up with everyone I haven't seen in a long time has been my favorite part of this weekend," agreed Veronica Sandy '83.
"I thought the fireworks were just great," said Tracy-Ann Stewart-Suleiman '93, mentioning one of the exciting features of the Quad Party 2008. By the time the sun had gone down over the Quad, fireworks were coming up, bursting in full color above Coxe Hall. The fireworks finale kicked off a set of rocking tunes from Nik and the Nice Guys. The group performed covers from across decades, everything from "The Twist" to Avril Lavigne's "Girlfriend." Sporting neon glow sticks, alums danced their last night away together.
In the morning, alums said their final farewells over breakfast on the Quad and recalled some of their favorite memories during the weekend. "I'll never forget swimming in the lake this weekend…in my dress," said Melissa Ryan '88.
"We love our RV," said Ed Rockstroh '83.
"The Classes of '83 have been bringing it to campus since our 10th reunion," added Greg Coyle '83.
"I went to a much bigger college," said Bita. "I certainly did not have the tight-knit community that is so present here at my wife's alma mater. Everyone from alums to professors to staff members know one another: that's very pleasant and very special."