Think About That: Record Number of Alumni Re-Une, Commune, Learn, Discern, Party Hearty

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A second season of record attendance has validated the much ballyhooed move last year to hold Davidson’s Alumni Reunion Weekend in the summer rather than during the semester. Many advantages are to be found in this move, for the comfort and safety of all. Just think about it. Need help? Consider: This year we had nearly as many alumni and guests on campus as we have students enrolled. Capiche?

Not least of the advantages inherent to the new schedule is a more relaxed emploi du temps for back-to-school classes on the front end of the weekend celebrations. Just like old times. Now, think about that… or not.

This year, I had the honor of introducing College Archivist Jan Blodgett and Vail Professor of History Ralph Levering at a talk about their new book on the history of Davidson, N.C., One Town, Many Voices. Ralph, who wrote the section on the 1960s, garnered many a knowing nod from members of the reuning Classes of 1962, 1967 and 1972 in particular as he talked about the forces at work shape-shifting American society as well as Davidson culture during that decade.

Outtake: We! Are! Family! (l-r) Allen Rigby ’14 with assistants Moi ’85 and Annie Porges ’85, helping ensure that a good time is had by all at the Class of 1967 Dinner (photos Cathryn Westra ’11)

Later, I dropped in on a class led by Biology Professor Dave Wessner and Sallie Permar ’97, now a pediatrician and AIDS researcher at Duke. I learned a little about molecular biology and a lot about the emerging paradigm of “treatment as prevention,” that is to say advocating for early treatment of individuals to curb infection of broader populations. Biology Professor Emeritus Don Kimmel, who mentored both Wessner and Permar at Davidson, was in attendance with the lovely and talented Meg Kimmel, who was reuning with her Davidson class, 1977. Meg, careful readers will note, is a past editor of the Davidson Journal, who’s now at Bates College in Maine. It was good to catch up! I also noticed in the crowd a few faces of ’02 alumni who were seniors when I was a freshman employee. Yipes. Tempus do fugit.

Next morning, I had the high honor of assisting at a foreign policy panel featuring Director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government Graham Allison ’62 and former U.S. Senator Wyche Fowler ’62, in conversation with Davidson’s own Brown Professor and Chair of Political Science Shelley Rigger. I got to play Oprah and carry the microphone around the 900 Room. I just love that, even if one guy did jump line and just holler his question instead of waiting his turn.

After inhaling a chick-nic with baked beans and slaw on Chambers Lawn with Team Reunion and Sister Sledge (helloooo Classes of 1982 and 1987! And, okay, 1992 and on up through every other five-year reunion class…. “We Are Family” is, at this point, a perennial for all), I had just time to run home for a quick disco nap and a Dodger walk before it was time to suit up for evening duties. Back on campus, I stopped my bike off at the reception of the Gay-Straight Alumni Network of Davidson, where Sami Jarrah ’07 spoke on behalf of new and emerging connections and activity in the gay alumni population of Davidson. President Emeritus Bobby Vagt ’69 was there, too. I made him tell the story about the time a Guest House guest asked a T-shirted Prez Bobby “Do you work here?”, and when Bobby said yes, the guy got him to carry three big bags to the car from upstairs, and then tipped him three dollars. I just love that. Tickled Bobby, too. Presumably, he gave the $3 to the Annual Fund, I’m just sayin’, say n’more.)

Then, on to my assigned 1967 dinner tent, where I had the honor to read a citation for Professor Emeritus of Art Herb Jackson, this year’s winner of the John W. Kuykendall Award for Community Service. He made namaste prayer hands at me when I got done, which made me happy.

Next, while the ’67 class played a trivia game to much hilarity, I strode bravely, as though carrying a clipboard, to the front of the tent, right there in front of God and everybody, and loaded up a plate with green beans, mashed potatoes and hearty steak, even piling on an extra one for my fellow dinner-tent staffer and erstwhile classmate, Director of the Davidson Athletic Foundation Annie Porges ’85, who was too chicken to go up there and get one for herself.  Then, I resumed my scintillating and erudite conversation with Annie and student Ambassador Allen Rigby ’14, emerging as a unique Davidson treasure. Really funny. Theatre/Psych major. And we’re back: Theatre. Plus Psych. Think about that….

All the News: (l-r) If Editor David Boraks and Campus News Guy and Photographer Bill Giduz ’74 don't know about it, it didn't happen.

Finally—not that I wouldn’t have enjoyed staying for hours—our dinner broke a bit on the early side, as the class of 1967 went inside to join 1962 for Smitty Flynn and the Rivieras, and I pedaled off into the night.

For more on Reunion, check out this blog post by my fundraising colleague James Hogan over in Glasgow House.

[Updated: And this news post by editor David Boraks, left.]

Speaking of fundraising, the fiscal year ends June 30, I’m just sayin’. But click here to donate if you want. Please? I’ll say n’more.

And check back early and often on the Flickr tab on our college homepage; Bill Giduz ’74 is slaving feverishly at the desk next to mine even as I type, to get a boatload of photo pixels ID’ed and uploaded.

Cheers, fellow Davidson gentlepersons!

  1. Maddie

    Thanks for this fun review, John!! and thanks AGAIN for going the extra mile for Davidson this weekend by helping out at so many events. You’re a rockstar!

  2. John Syme
    John Syme06-12-2012

    Jus’ doin’ muh job, ma’am.

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