Coming Home

15 November 2012

cominghome.jpgReunion 2012 continued Carleton’s tradition of creating meaningful connections for alumni

Despite a torrential downpour on opening day, rain and cloudy skies did nothing to dampen the spirits of Carls who attended Reunion 2012. Classmates laughed, played, and learned together in a celebration of community that has become a tradition for thousands of Carls.

This year, 2,494 alumni, friends, and children filled every corner of campus, taking advantage of the rich array of programming that volunteers and staff members plan every year. Indeed, Reunion wouldn’t be possible without the hundreds of alumni volunteers who plan and participate in activities, encourage classmates to attend, and support the College with their philanthropy.

Carleton’s Reunion has grown exponentially in scope and popularity since its inception as an alumni banquet held on Commencement weekend in the early 20th century. In 1960 the Commencement ceremony was moved to Friday in order to give alumni more time for reunion activities, and by 1965 approximately 500 alumni were participating each year. In 1974 Reunion was moved to the weekend following Commencement, and in the early 1980s Reunion attendance grew to 1,000. In recent years alumni have filled campus residence halls to capacity every Reunion weekend as they travel from across the United States and the world to join in the festivities.

“High quality reunion programs are a characteristic of many of the best colleges and universities in the country,” says Carleton president Steven Poskanzer. “It is through these multigenerational connections that our community values and commitment are renewed, passed along, and celebrated. Reunions, with their volunteer spirit and the generous support our alumni community provides, are in my mind one of our greatest assets.”

“Volunteer work does great things for the College, but it also provides class members with terrific experiences,” says Gail Parson Zlatnik ’62, who served on the Class of 1962’s 50th Reunion planning committee. “Each time I’ve come back for Reunion, there has been something special,” says Zlatnik, who this year most enjoyed her class’s traditional women’s breakfast.

Reunion planning volunteer Kate Knutsen ’07 likes staying connected to Carleton physically. “Coming back to Carleton feels like coming home,” she says. She arrived at her 5th Reunion with a checklist of things to do: dress up for the Class of 2007’s Superhero Party; visit the staff members in the registrar’s office, where she worked as a student; pet the new statue of Toff, the recently deceased campus cat, in Gould library; stop by to see political science professor Greg Marfleet; and, of course, reconnect with her classmates.

Over the years, the 5th and 50th reunions have had some of the highest attendance. At Reunion 2012, 45 percent—141 members— of the Class of 1962 attended and 216 members of Class of 2007 came back to campus. This year the Classes of 1992 and 1957 set attendance records for a 20th and 55th reunion, respectively. The Class of 1987 also had a strong showing for its 25th Reunion, narrowly missing the record the Class of 1967 set 20 years ago. In fact, the Class of 1987 is the only class to set attendance records at its 5th, 10th, 15th, and 20th reunions.

To have a successful reunion, Zlatnik says it’s crucial for classes to identify the people who have the energy, imagination, and creativity to organize special events. Knutsen got involved because she needed an outlet for her “overflowing energy for Carleton. The other volunteers I worked with were enthusiastic, motivated, and passionate. It’s no wonder Carleton reunions are so popular—we have great volunteers who plan them!”

yogaBrain Power

Alumni arrived at Reunion ready to have a great time, but in true Carleton fashion, they were also ready to learn something new. While Brennan Taylor ’07 taught her classmates yoga poses on Friday afternoon, other alumni learned about native prairie plants in the Arboretum, toured an art exhibit in the Perlman Teaching Museum, and got investing advice from Terry Odean ’72, a professor of finance at the University of California–Berkeley. Many alumni also relived their classroom memories at engaging and informative lectures offered by Carleton faculty members throughout the weekend on topics ranging from history to astronomy.

superheroesParty On!

With a mash-up of Marvel comic heroes hitting the big screen in The Avengers this past spring, Reunion 2012 seemed the perfect time for the Class of 2007 to host a Superhero/Villain Party, where dressing as your favorite save-the-world swashbuckler was optional. The Class of 1987 hosted four rocking music events, including performances by classmates, Somewhat Fierce (a popular campus band from the ’80s), and This Must Be the Band (a Talking Heads tribute band).

alumni artCelebrating Creativity

Alumni inspired their classmates with several recitals and a poetry reading, and alumni displayed their art in a large exhibit in Hulings Hall. The alumni choir also debuted “Morning Memory” by Lawrence Henry ’76, written in memory of former chaplain David Maitland, at the interfaith chapel service.

1987 gift“We Show Up!”

Members of the Class of 1987 turned out in force for Reunion Convocation on Saturday morning to present their class gift of $306,347—more than four times the amount they raised last year. The Class of 1987 boasted the highest 25th reunion attendance in 20 years.

foodWhat’s On the Menu?

Reunion 2012 featured several foodie-related events—ranging from making ice cream at Dacie Moses House to a panel and tasting with ’02 alumni who are employed in the food industry. Carls also tempted their palates with wine and coffee tastings, a sommelier-inspired food and wine pairing, a program on the philosophy of beer, and a developed-especially-for-Reunion Carltini! (See recipe below.) Reunion attendees also were invited to a screening of Vegucated, a documentary produced by Demetrius Bagley ’92 that follows three meat- and cheese-loving New Yorkers who agree to go vegan for six weeks.

Sip your own Carltini at home:

Add 4oz of fresh lemonade to 1.5oz of blue raspberry vodka. Pour over ice or shake and serve in a cold martini glass. Garnish with a lemon slice.

Honoring Excellence

The Alumni Association Distinguished Achievement, Exceptional Service, and In the Spirit of Carleton awards were presented to:

  • Bardwell Smith, John W. Nason Professor of Religion and Asian Studies, Emeritus
  • E. Philip Krider ’62
  • Charles Lofgren ’62
  • Barbara Mitchell Mauk ’62
  • Polly Nason McCrea ’62
  • Bob Nelson ’62
  • John Nelson ’62
  • Tony Smith ’62
  • Roy Steigbigel ’62
  • Sidney Carne Wolff ’62
  • Judith Berling ’67
  • Robert Paarlberg ’67
  • Terrance Odean ’72
  • Lee Roderick Blons ’82
  • Carl Colonius ’87
  • Raul Raymundo ’87
  • Sebastian Meyer ’02

The ‘C’ Club inducted Marcia Hunt ’92 (tennis), Carrie Stuart ’02 (track and field), Mark Weshinskey ’67 (football), and Renee Willette ’02 (basketball) into the Hall of Fame.

Read all of the award recipients’ bios.

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