Revived senior dinners celebrate soon-to-be grads
After an hiatus of approximately 20 years, the Daniel Webster Senior Dinners have been revived for members of the Class of 2005. Wednesday night marks the fifth and final dinner of the series, to which all seniors are invited to mingle with alumni to ease their transition to life away from Dartmouth.
Around 600 students and 125 alumni in total RSVPed for the five dinners, held in the Daniel Webster Room at the Hanover Inn over the months of April and May. Among the 125 alumni, graduates of the 1950s were the most highly represented, although others ranged from Hal Ripley '29, to members of the Class of 2004 who have remained in the Upper Valley. A targeted group of class officers and local alumni were invited to participate in the dinners, among select others.
Starting in 1903, the dinners ran intermittently for almost 80 years. Numerous offices of the College worked to reinstate the tradition in order to provide seniors with a look into life as an alumni, according to Ali Kelley '04, student outreach coordinator at Alumni Relations. Kelley organized the dinners with Rex Morey '99, assistant director of young alumni and student programs.
"We have so many welcome and orientation events that we want to have just as many finishing and thank you events," Kelley said.
Dean of the College James Larimore opened each dinner with remarks, highlighting characteristics of alumni along with unique aspects of the senior class and its time at the College.
"Together, you have consumed approximately 2.2 million meals from DDS. And lest you think that we've forgotten, it is because of you that we have the Tree Houses," Larimore quipped.
College President James Wright addressed guests with a look back over the past four years. He noted that the Class of 2005 was on its freshman Outing Club trips during the Sept. 11, 2001, World Trade Center attacks, and arrived at campus bonded together by the events. He also joked about the class' claim to fame as the "biggest class in Dartmouth history" and how they truly wanted to be at Dartmouth, having not accepted his bribes to defer acceptance.
Each dinner also featured a guest alumni speaker who shared personal experiences as both a student and graduate. At Monday's dinner, Ellie Mahoney Loughlin '89 spoke about differences between the present state of the College and its condition when she was a student.
She jealously noted that students today can call EBAs from their cell phones and stay at parties longer, while in her time they had to hurry back to dorms at 1:45 a.m. to place a pizza call. Leah Threatte '01, Ernie Parizeau '79, Jen Tutak '02 and Peggy Epstein Tanner '79 were other alumni speakers.
Sponsors and coordinators of the Daniel Webster Senior Dinners include the offices of the Dean of the College, President, Alumni Relations, Development and Conferences and Special Events.