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Alumni Weekend 2017: A time to reconnect and reinvigorate a love of learning

June 08, 2017

Reunion festivities for graduates of the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering welcomed a record 2,000 alumni and guests this year in a program designed to rekindle friendships and memories and to rediscover Tufts. 

Check out the Alumni Weekend photo gallery!

Alumni Weekend, which began on Thursday, May 18, reflected partnerships between staff in Alumni Relations and Tufts Annual Giving with 11 reunion committees and the Tufts University Alumni Association. 

That teamwork defined a program that blended traditional favorites, like Tufts Night at Pops, with provocative Super Seminars and even fitness opportunities. Saturday reunioners were invited to work off extra calories with a Fun Run with Don Megerle, Tufts Marathon Team coach and former swim coach, or limber up on the library roof with “Jumbo Yoga.”

“Overall what we’re hoping is to create a program that’s fun, meaningful, and memorable,” said Tom Williams, A92, director of outreach and engagement. “This year we were pleased to see so many people choose to come back, and to see so many happy faces on our returning alumni. Many years may have passed since they were here, but their fondness for Tufts seems to be as strong as ever.”

Eleven classes come back to the Hill each year, and this year the spotlight was on the 2s and 7s—going back to the Class of 1952 for their 65th reunion, up to the Class of 2002, for their 15th. (A separate celebration, Back to Hill, brought back graduates of the past decade on June 9–11.)

Great turnouts included: 
• The 35th reunion, with the Class of 1982 setting a record of 142 alumni and guests;
• The 20th reunion, with the Tufts Class of 1997 bringing back a record 172 alumni and guests; and
• The always-popular 55 and Over Luncheon on Friday, packing Dewick-McPhie dining hall with a record 318 alumni representing post-55th reunion graduates—the oldest guest represented the Class of 1943.

Super Seminars also attracted sizeable crowds eager to hear renowned alumni and Tufts faculty share their expertise on topics as varied as finding a cure for Alzheimer's, the psychology of sports, how the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA) now enriches the Tufts experience, and a sweeping perspective on current issues by University Professor and former provost Sol Gittleman aptly titled: “We've Been There Before: God, Immigration, Race, What Makes an American, Who Gets to Vote, and What Happened in 2016.”

Tufts gave Jumbos ample time to reconnect with classmates with social events like the Alumni Weekend Opening Reception on Thursday in Balch Arena lobby; afterwards, students showcased their extraordinary singing and dancing talents in Cohen Auditorium. Friday night Tufts hosted a time-honored tradition, Tufts Night at Pops at Symphony Hall, and on Saturday, a record number of families filled the Jumbo tent for the low-key and kid-friendly Alumni Family Picnic. 

On Saturday night, just as they did when they were freshman, members of the Class of 2017 also came together with alumni for the Candlelight Procession through the Alumni Gate to the Goddard Chapel terrace. At 11 p.m., Ed Ellison, A83, executive director of Alumni Relations, commenced the Top O' The Hill Tribute and Ringing of Chapel Bells on Goddard Chapel Terrace, effectively welcoming the class into the ranks of Tufts alumni, now numbering 100,000 members worldwide.

The Tufts Reunion Challenge also urged graduates to do their part philanthropically. Every time a class makes its reunion donor goal, a generous alumnus agreed to fund a one-year scholarship in a class’s name for a student in fall 2017. The challenge is running through June 30—check out which classes have already hit their mark!