Greetings from the Office of Alumni Affairs!
This website is dedicated to the all the classes preparing to celebrate their Class Reunion events during Alumni Weekend, Young Alumni Weekend, or Five Star Festival. As events approach each reunion class will have their own dedicated webpage for accessing registration information.
During Alumni Weekend reunion classes celebrating their 15th, 20th, 25th, 30th, 35th, 40th, 45th, and 50th reunions are honored. A special emphasis is put towards those classes celebrating their milestone 25th and 50th reunions.
Young Alumni Weekend honors classes celebrating their 5th and 10th reunions.
Five Star Festival honors classes celebrating their 55th and 60th reunions.
The Alumni Board, Class Agents and Chapter Leaders Conference joined over 500 young alumni and their guests for a busy, festive and productive Young Alumni Weekend/Homecoming September 30-October 1.
The volunteer leadership boards heard substantive presentations from President Ken Ruscio on W&L today, including the focus on raising financial aid dollars, the Roger Mudd Center for the Study of Professional Ethics, and the ongoing renovation of the historic Colonnade.
V.P. for Finance and Treasurer Steve McAllister and Interim Provost Bob Strong led a lively and informative discussion of the timely topic: ‘why does college cost so much?’ This issues was the subject of the senior administrative team retreat in August. Among the salient points are that our kind of very personalized and top quality education is, by nature, expensive; that W&L is imposing good discipline on our budget process; and that W&L spends a higher percentage of its budget on students and faculty than many of our peers.
V.P. of Student Affairs Sidney Evans highlighted the many items on her plate, including women’s leadership, relationships with local police, a gathering of former student body EC leaders and the current EC, Greek Life, and how successfully we are housing 498 students, the largest first year class in W&L’s history!
Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Bill Hartog reported on an extraordinary year of 6,400 applications for the anticipated 475 places in the Class of 2015. More students than expected accepted our offers of admissions, fewer changed their minds over the summer, and we had a wonderfully high yield on the offers we made for the Johnson Scholarships, enrolling 53 of them this year!
Almost 50 class agents, the backbone of our Annual Fund, met to discuss strategies and to celebrate a landmark achievement. Gifts to the Annual Fund and other areas of the University (or other University priorities) by 9,057 undergraduate donors contributed to a record 50 participation rate in giving to W&L. GO GENERALS!
Reunion giving awards were presented as follows:
The Bierer Trophy – Five Star Generals: Class of 1939; 1961-1999: Class of 1969, Scott Fechnay and Ray Hartwell; Young Alumni:Class of 2007, Camille Allen, Corbin Blackford, Meghan Freeman, and Walker Williams
The Richmond Trophy – Five Star Generals: Class of 1955,David Berlinghof; 1963-2001 – Class of 1967, Bob Priddy; Young Alumni: Class of 2002 – Darby Berra, Alicia Brandt, Courtenay Fisher, and Elizabeth Kelsey.
The Washington Trophy – Five Star Generals: Class of 1959, – David Meese; 1963-2001 – Class of 1969, Scott Fechnay and Ray Hartwell; Young Alumni – Class of 2002 – Darby Berra, Alicia Brandt, Courtenay Fisher, and Elizabeth Kelsey
The Trident Trophy – Class of 1981, Chip Nunley.
The John Newton Thomas Trophy and the Colonnade Cup – Class of 1981 – Chip Nunley, Ross Newell and Jamie Small.
The alumni board met to continue its focus on building and supporting healthy local chapters and securing broader alumni engagement. The chapter leaders received training and met with the alumni board member assigned to their chapter to discuss programming and leadership succession.
These alumni chapters and their presidents were honored as the ‘best of the best’ by winning 2010-11 Chapter of the Year awards for outstanding leadership and successful events:
Division 1: Washington D.C., Ryan Duffy ’04
Division 2: Northern New Jersey, Joe Ciccone ’93 Law
Division 3: South Carolina Piedmont (Greenville), Helen Sanders ’04
Division 4: Bluegrass (Lexington KY), Jim Clifton ’86.
Division 5: Oklahoma City, Bill Towler ’81.
Meanwhile, the 5th (159 alumni ) and 10th( 116 alumni ) reunion classes led a spirited young alumni contingent. A new record for participation in the 5th reunion class gift was set with 62% of the class making a gift, and more than $74,000 was raised for the University. The Class of 2001 also set a new record for total class gift for a 10th reunion. They committed more than $400,000 to the University in 2010-2011 and over the next four years.
From the DJ party at Liberty Hall Ruins on Friday night to the slightly rain-shortened but high-energy Virginia Wine Tasting and BBQ on the front lawn Saturday, spirits were high and college friendships were deepened. Many Greek houses hosted alumni functions. Jennifer Strawbridge, ’01, an Episcopal clergy and the Chaplain of Keble College at Oxford University, was honored with a Distinguished Young Alumni Award.
A fantastic schedule of Five-Star Festival events over the September 8-10 weekend took place in surprisingly gorgeous weather, as heavy rains early in the week gave way to sunny skies for our alumni who have already had their 50th reunions.
The Five-Star Generals were the first to enjoy the lovely new side terrace at Lee House, followed by a celebratory banquet in Evans Hall. Class chairs Ted Van Leer ’51 and Jimmy Gallivan ’51, and Charlie MacIntosh ’56, received awards for attendance and support of the Annual Fund from Vice President for University Advancement Dennis Cross.
Earlier that morning, University Provost Bob Strong led a panel on academic life in Stackhouse Theater, with his faculty colleagues Alison Bell, associate dean of the College and professor of archaeology, and Marc Conner, professor of English. These professors highlighted Spring Term as an example of the vibrancy and distinctiveness of the learning experience.
President Ken Ruscio delivered a stimulating talk on University priorities and what he called our “tradition of innovation.” He summarized the Colonnade project, plus our plans to remake duPont Hall into a global learning center and to build a new indoor athletic center. He quoted a letter from a current senior and another by Frank Gilliam (1917), Rupert Latture (1915) and Sid Coulling (1916), when they were student leaders! A wonderful group of eight current students participated in the “Meet the Students” panel, and answered questions about athletics, Greek life, music, service, the arts, multicultural life and leadership activities.
Unhindered by rain, our wine-tasting event at Rockbridge Vineyards, antiquing excursion at Thornhill Estate and walking tour of Lexington provided wonderful memories for those in attendance on Friday afternoon. It was a perfect time for reconnecting with old friends and classmates.
Otey Professor of Religion and Shepherd Poverty Program Director Harlan Beckley officiated at a poignant memorial service and celebration of life on Friday evening. Then, the Class of 1951 celebrated their 60th reunion at Ted and Sue Van Leer’s house. Fifty-five attendees, including 31 alumni, celebrated well into the night. There were five trustee emeriti present, Ted Van Leer, Tom Wolfe, Jimmy Gallivan, Sam Hollis and former rector Steve Miles. The Class of 1951 set a 60th reunion attendance record.
At the same time, about 75 alumni and guests from the 55th reunion class of 1956 and a good number of non-reunion alumni dined in the Kamen Gallery of the Lenfest Center. They were entertained by the male a cappella group Southern Comfort after dinner. After these reunion dinners, the merriment continued back at the Hampton Inn hospitality cabin.
The University was once again fortunate to have acclaimed alumnus Tom Wolfe ’51 in attendance for his 60th reunion. On Saturday morning, Five-Star attendees and other members of the community packed the Stackhouse Theater to hear Wolfe’s talk: “No-Hands Art, Tenure Art, and the American Art World Today.” In splendid and biting fashion, Wolfe’s remarks and Powerpoint gave us an energetic critique of modern art and a peek behind the curtain of the curious world of art today. It is available online for your enjoyment.
In brilliant sunshine on Saturday afternoon, festival attendees enjoyed a wonderful luncheon on Cannan Green, and many stayed to see a rousing football victory as the Generals defeated Sewanee 31-14.
The new Five-Star Festival is established as our specially created event to celebrate our beloved senior alumni. We are grateful to those who made the trip and look forward to the next one, on September 13-15, 2012.
A signature event for many alumni chapters is the “Summer Send Off.” This annual tradition allows alumni to meet and welcome the newest members of the W&L family: those lucky first year undergraduate and law students and their parents. This year, they come from 42 states and 13 foreign countries. Spirits are high, and many alumni are palpably jealous of our guests, on the verge of experiencing W&L as students instead of nervous applicants. The chemistry of these events is special as these young people take the next step in their relationship with Washington and Lee.
Included in our send offs this summer are 48 legacies, the daughters and sons of alumni who will provide an important thread of the rich tapestry being woven on campus. This year those legacies come from across America: Texas, Massachusetts, Colorado, Kansas, and 13 other states. The Alumni Association is especially proud and grateful that they chose W&L, and we look forward to seeing you here in a few weeks!
Take a look at the send off event sponsored by our fine Northern New Jersey Chapter on July 17, as well as pictures from the Blue Ridge Chapter Send-off. Thanks to them and to the 40 other chapters which sponsored these important gatherings, where the newest Generals see firsthand the benefits of a lifelong association with W&L.