What a joy Reunion is!
This year the weather was perfection, up until the very last hour when the closing picnic became slightly dampish. But only the weather was damp — spirits remained sunny.
Some members of the Class of ’56 gathered in the Boxwood Alumnae House, remembering the days when it was a residence hall and they lived there (and when the smell of baking cookies from the kitchen would permeate the living room.)
As I moved through the weekend’s events, I found myself asking: what, exactly, is being reunited with what at a college reunion? Clearly, classes are being reunited, as the members find themselves together again in the place where they first discovered one another. Just as clearly, friends are being reunited with friends and alumnae are being reunited with a place and a community that shaped their lives.
It also occurred to me that at Reunion women are being reunited with the students they themselves used to be. Being on campus among friends and classmates brings back powerful memories of youthful aspirations and of what life was like before we knew many of the things we know now.
For members of recent classes, the Sweet Briar they visit at Reunion is very much like the one they attended. Alumnae who are returning for their 25th or 50th Reunions, however, have seen so many changes: former residence halls that are now Alumnae offices, just to mention one example~!
Reunions are wonderful emblems of the relationship of continuity and change. Women whose experiences span more than half a century of Sweet Briar history have had, in one sense, very different experiences from one another — and, on the other hand, they have enjoyed very much the same transformative education, based in Sweet Briar’s enduring commitment to the liberal arts, faculty mentoring, and hands-on learning for women. Watching them share that experience across the generations is perhaps my favorite part of Reunion.
Sally Old Kitchin, 2011 Outstanding Alumna