Celebrating a Shared History

Reunion Weekend Brings Together Generations of F&M Alumni

It was a time to recall the civil rights movement, presidential elections and the death of John Lennon. To consider the impact of changing technology on society. To remember joyous times with close friends, and the lasting influence of professors, coaches and mentors

A rush of memories filled Franklin & Marshall’s Barshinger Center for Musical Arts June 8, when generations of alumni shared class reflections at the Alumni Celebration of Reunion Weekend 2013. While American history and culture produced diverse experiences for F&M students over the past half-century, alumni overwhelmingly agreed that the College remains a tie that binds.

“Our reunions center around what it really means to be a community—a community about memories, ideals, learning, reflecting on who we are and who we want to be—a community we will want as part of our lives and to keep coming back to for the rest of our lives,” said Christine DiDomenico ’08, who delivered the Class of 2008 reflection.

Photos by Nick Gould and Matthew Tennison

The Alumni Celebration was one of the many highlights of Reunion Weekend, which concluded under brilliant sunshine June 9 following a rainy opening to the festivities two days earlier. Alumni from class years ending in “3” and “8” returned to campus to enjoy class dinners, attend presentations and catch up with their professors and coaches as they reconnected with classmates and learned about present-day life at their alma mater. More than 1,200 alumni and guests attended Reunion—a record attendance—helping the College mark the conclusion of a yearlong celebration of its 225th anniversary.

“It is awesome to sit in this room and reflect that every one of you are the return on an investment Ben Franklin made,” F&M President Daniel R. Porterfield said at the Alumni Celebration.

The Class of 1963 celebrated its 50th Reunion by joining the Nevonian Society, which honors alumni and surviving spouses or partners of departed classmates who have reached the 50th anniversary of their graduation. At a luncheon June 7, new society members in attendance added their names to the Nevonian Register.

Dozens of other events turned the campus into a beehive of activity throughout the weekend, from thought-provoking lectures by F&M faculty members to a festive dance party on Hartman Green. The schedule also included the dedication of a new brick-and-metal archway on the steps leading to Klauder-Apple Walkway. A gift of the Class of 2008, the arch is emblazoned with F&M’s motto, “Lux et Lex” (“Light and Law”). Overall, this year's Reunion classes raised $5.5 million.

But for many alumni, the highlight was simply reconnecting with the College itself. Scott Sebastian ’98, a member of his 15th Reunion committee, experienced a flood of memories from his days on the F&M track and field team and as a member of the staff of The College Reporter.

“I’m jazzed up about this place like I’ve never been,” Sebastian said. “Reunion Weekend shows how great a community F&M is, and how tightly knit we are. It’s been fascinating seeing how campus has changed, yet so much remains the same. It was also great to meet President Porterfield and see his energy and vision.”

Next year’s Reunion Weekend is scheduled for June 6-8, 2014.

See video highlights, class reflections and additional photos from Reunion Weekend.


Reunion Weekend Honorees

Reunion Weekend featured several awards presented by the Franklin & Marshall Alumni Association:

Alumni Citation:  C. Richard Beam ’49 (top photo, right), a distinguished Pennsylvania German scholar; James D. Hoeschele, Ph.D., ’59 (top photo, left), a groundbreaking chemist and scholar; and Evelyn Farkas, Ph.D., ’89 (bottom photo, center), a leading figure in U.S. foreign and defense policy, were awarded the Alumni Citation, presented to individuals who are distinguished in their profession, have provided dedicated leadership and service to the community, and have an exemplary record of accomplishment in a specific field of endeavor.

Award winners-2

Alumni Medal:  Anthony L. Ross ’91 (below, second from left) and H. Art Taylor ’80 (below, second from right), who have held key leadership roles with F&M’s African-American Alumni Council, among numerous other alumni activities, received the Alumni Medal, presented to alumni in recognition of their sustained, distinguished and outstanding service to the College.

Photo taken during 2013 Reunion Weekend.

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