By Geoff Gehman ’80
More than 1,200 alumni returned June 7-9 to enjoy Reunion Weekend with their classmates. Here’s an inside view of the groups marking key anniversaries: 5th, 25th, and 50th.
Read or watch the annual State of the College address
Read about the special event on Gettysburg, Lafayette, and the Civil War
Read about the Reunion College session with Class of ’63 physicians discussing medicine
Read about the rededication of Fleck Society bricks
Photo galleries and video will be featured Tuesday.
They came to Reunion 2013 for usual reasons: to greet best friends from their best years; to share old pictures and new stories. They returned to campus for unusual reasons: to share a program with a former teacher; to build a case for convincing a nephew to attend Lafayette. They reunited in usual ways in an unusual way, mixing with members of other classes through a new food-and-drink incentive called the Campus Crawl.
CLASS OF 2008
Standing on Anderson Courtyard’s grass esplanade, Allison Quigley ’08 described her agreement with her fiancé, Jason Brenner ’07, to not attend each other’s five-year reunions. Since they live together, she explained, they already see enough of each other. More important, going stag means that Quigley has much more time to see people “I haven’t seen forever.”
Chris Johnston ’08 and Sarah Kolb ’07 have another kind of reunion pact. She agreed to attend his fifth-year reunion because he attended hers. Another member of the pact pack is Lai Huang ’07, who celebrated reunion by lunching with Michiko Okaya, director of Lafayette art galleries including the one in Williams Center for the Arts, where Huang worked as an undergraduate.
Kolb was joined by her maid-of-honor, Danielle Bero ’07, Pepper Prize winner. Bero was accompanied by Lamar Smith, with whom she worked in the Kids in the Community program run by the Landis Community Outreach Center. Their friendship exemplifies the College’s expanding partnership with the City of Easton, its closest local partner.
This improving town-and-gown alliance impressed Johnston, grandson and great-grandson of Lafayette graduates. He was especially impressed by the College’s plan to develop a Third Street arts complex and by the first-rate restaurants in Easton.
More than 170 members attended, a healthy turnout for a class of about 600. Class president Carolyn Romney relished a panel on broadcast journalism where she discussed her role as a political analyst during the student-run telecast of the 2006 elections. It was one of many memories of “a magical time.”
CLASS OF 1988
Reunion chair Beth Freebairn stressed the importance of enduring campus friendships as her classmates partied on Pardee Terrace, where Campus Crawl attractions included a Long Island iced tea advertised as “almost CHT [College Hill Tavern].” Freebairn thanked her sorority sisters for helped her navigate a tricky course as a pioneer computer science major. No wonder she tells her children to choose a college that fits them socially as well as academically.
Tightening old school ties led Jonathan Conner to travel from Geneva, Switzerland, where he is headquartered as head of J.P. Morgan’s private bank for Middle Eastern clients. He especially wanted to meet fellow members of the “McKeen gang” who once lived in the resident hall’s basement.
Conner bonded by spending the weekend in McKeen’s basement. He bonded in College Hill Tavern by sharing more than 400 old photos, transferred to his iPad, with nearly 30 fellow Delta Tau Deltas.
Like Conner, Amit Mohindra came from a great distance (California). Like Freebairn, he ran in a Reunion 3K; in fact, four of the 10 runners were ’88ers. His reflections ranged from rowing crew to taking pivotal courses in labor economics and econometrics. He praised his professors for preparing him for his job as a workforce intelligence analyst, predicting health-care trends in a new field known as “Big Data.”
Mohindra returned to campus partly to compile information to persuade his nephew to accept Lafayette’s invitation to join the Class of 2017. He plans to strengthen his campaign by citing the College’s alliance with Engineers Without Borders, a worldwide humanitarian group, and a new initiative to integrate engineering with the liberal arts. Mohindra also recruited a half-dozen of his former teachers to serve as his nephew’s mentors.
Class correspondent Tim Hylan could serve as a reunion role model. He grew up in a reunion-friendly family. He has a natural curiosity for observing how classmates change and don’t change over the decades, how reunions unfreeze “frozen moments of time.” He’s particularly curious why some graduates “drop off the planet” while others “bleed maroon.”
A 25th reunion, Hylan continued, is a superior source of material for class notes. Here’s another possible item: I met Beth Freebairn for the first time since 1979, when I co-directed her youth group at First Presbyterian Church in Easton, where her father Harry is still minister.
CLASS OF 1963
One of the reasons that Clyde “Buck” Crebs missed ALL of his previous reunions is that he was too busy traveling the world as a managing director for a secure-transportation company. One of the reasons he attended his first reunion was the chance to see Bill McClure, his former football teammate. In fact, it was McClure who helped coax Crebs to finally play the reunion game.
Crebs was interviewed in Skillman Library, where he was waiting to hear three physician classmates discuss the last 50 years of medicine. His own half-century was shaped by two very different Lafayette leaders. He was mentored by the late George McGaughey–freshman football coach, director of intramurals, a “stand-up man” who trained young athletes to stand up.
Crebs received another valuable lesson in responsibility from the late K. Roald Bergethon, Lafayette’s president from 1958 to 1978. “Look to your right, look to your left,” said Bergethon on Crebs’ first day on College Hill, “because at least one of these people will be gone after this year.”
Mark Shyman, a fellow English major, gave his Lafayette MVP award to the late William W. Watt, the fabled literature professor and humorist.
Shyman noted that Watt “set me up” to understand the importance of communicating, passionately and properly. Shyman thanked Watt in a poem that was published in a College literary magazine.
Stan Wetschler, another funny classmate, recalled saving the dignity of his fraternity in an annual athletic-academic competition among social organizations. Alpha Chi Rho had zero points, he pointed out, until he earned a point by winning an Ugly Man contest. “It’s the only thing in my life that I won,” said Wetschler with a deadpan look. After a comic pause, he added: “I continue to carry on the tradition of being ugly.” Another beat. “So that was worth something.”
Yes, at times the ’63 reunion resembled a comedy convention. Ron Garfunkel, reunion chair for 40 years, envisioned 60th-reunion uniforms as hospital gowns with paper slippers, “because by then walking will be optional.” Don Miller predicted he would attend his 75th reunion “in an urn.”