The New College Alumnae/i Association’s 2018 Reunion brought 404 alumni, families and friends back to campus Feb. 15-18 from as far away as Scotland, France and Japan.
They came to reconnect, to revisit favorite places and tour new buildings, to learn about the College’s progress and goals, to hear about the careers of their fellow alumni, and to attend miniclasses with some of their favorite professors.
Three days of activities reacquainted alums with virtually every aspect of the campus they love, from sunrise yoga on the Bayfront to classes and talks from professors they remember, like Justus Doenecke, Mike Michalson and Steve Miles, and professors carrying on their tradition, like April Flakne, Nova Myhill, and Emily Saarinen – an alum herself.
Alums got in on the teaching act as well, with talks from Dan Chambliss ’71, Jennifer Granick ’86, Jennifer Lemner Posey ’95, Aaron Hillegass ’89 and Rhoda Kennedy ’87. Robert Bilott ’83 also gave a communitywide New Topics talk on his work on perfluorochemical contamination in communities.
And Christin Murphy ’00, Noah Teitelbaum ’94, David Silverman ’70, and Kaitlin Berger ’03 put on an informative career panel.
There also were events that were quintessential New College: a “Walk Down Memory Lane” with Jono Miller ’70; a poetry reading in College Hall led by Wendy Coulter ’93; and a Campus Sustainability Forum. Alums including Silas Durocher ’03, Heather Normandale ’00, Bruce Hutcheon ’69 and Paul Cebar ’75 performed music for their fellow Novos.
One highlight of the reunion was the Towne Hall meeting with President Don O’Shea, Provost Barbara Feldman and Board of Trustees Chair Felice Schulaner ’78. Alums had many questions about the College’s Growth Plan, particularly as it pertained to the hiring of new faculty in “clusters” (e.g., Global, Sustainability, Human and Computer Interaction) that cross Division lines. O’Shea and Feldman assured them that no amount of growth would change the fundamentals of our philosophy or unique approach to higher education.
Most importantly, there was abundant time for friends to get together, with meals at tables running down Dort Promenade or overlooking Sarasota Bay, and time for remembrances of beloved classmates, professors and staff.
“We were delighted to meet so many alums personally, and to witness how happy they were to reconnect with one another,” said MaryAnne Young, executive director of the New College Foundation, whose staff put together the event with assistance from teams across the College.
The New College Alumnae/i Association will be analyzing results from a survey to help plan for the next reunion, which will be in 2020 – the 60th anniversary of New College.