Between June 5 and 7, alumni from the Classes of 1970 and 1971 gathered to celebrate their delayed 50th Reunions, followed the next weekend by alumni in classes ending in 2 or 7. In all, 2,000 people—representing eight decades of alumni—arrived for the two celebration weekends of activities, tours, and lots of reminiscing.
President Laurie Patton, who attended numerous events at both Reunions, greeted alumni at each Reunion Convocation and acknowledged the losses, including missed Reunions, caused by the global pandemic.
“It’s especially meaningful for me to welcome you this year for the first in-person Reunions since the global pandemic increased our lives in March 2020,” she told those gathered in the Middlebury Chapel. “We have missed you—our alumni—and it’s a joy to see you here on campus again.”
The youngest alumni returning were from the Class of 2017, and nearly one-third of the class came back. The oldest were from the Class of 1947, and when the five members of that class came down the chapel aisle at Convocation, they were greeted with cheers, clapping, and the pounding of canes. The Class of 1972 was also feted; 47 percent of the class attended Reunion. In all, 72 percent of Reunion celebrants have made a gift so far this fiscal year, which ends June 30.
Reunion events included numerous class gatherings, a veterans’ gathering, a college admissions workshop, hikes and fun runs, panels, readings, open houses, and class photos. There were musical performances, an ice cream social, a golf tournament, lectures, and panel discussions. And behind the Mahaney Arts Center, under beautiful clear skies and a nearly full strawberry moon, alumni enjoyed dinner, dancing, and fireworks, with music provided by local-favorite alumni band the Grift.
Each year at Reunion Convocation, the Middlebury Alumni Association presents the Alumni Achievement Award to outstanding and distinguished alumni for achievement in a professional field, their personal life, and/or public service. This year, it went to Stephen Kiernan ’82, journalist, writer of novels and nonfiction, and advocate for empathic palliative care.
Also at Convocation, the Alumni Plaque—given each year in recognition of extraordinary service to the College—was awarded to five alumni. Recipients were Bronwen “Bonnie” Williams Flahive ’70, Ann Einsiedler Crumb ’71, Jim Keyes ’71, Robert “Bobo” Sideli ’77, and Barbara “Peanuts” Cummiskey Villet ’52.
“Alumni were thrilled to be together again on campus,” said Meg Storey Groves ’85, associate vice president for alumni and parent programs. “And we were thrilled to see the love they have for Middlebury and the joy they took in spending time with classmates. The Reunion committees were amazing partners who helped make it really special for their classes, and we thank them for their dedication over the past year.”