Twelve alumni classes to return for reunions

by Ana Bowens | 6/1/09 10:00pm

The Class of 1959 has spent four years getting to know the members of the Class of 2009 even providing funding so that some of them could attend Dartmouth. On Sunday, members of the Class of 1959 will witness the graduating seniors taking the same walk across the Green that they themselves took fifty years ago.

The Class of 1959 is one of 12 classes who will reunite on campus from June 12 to June 21.

Doug Wise '59, Vice President on the Class Officers Board, said that he is excited for this milestone reunion. Wise, who was a history major, cheerleader and member of Tau Epsilon Phi fraternity while at the College, has served for four years as chair of the reunion planning committee for his class.

Members of the Class of 1959 will arrive for their 50th year reunion on June 12, Wise said.

The events planned for the reunion period were designed to give participants a great deal of flexibility, and vary from live music to portrait painting by an abstract artist, he said.

"I just want to see everyone having a good time," Wise said. "So I tried to organize this reunion to give people a choice so that you can do what you really want to do in the days that you are up here."

The '09s and the '59s began bonding at matriculation during the Class of 2009's freshman year, according to Wise.

"We have had countless receptions, barbecues, golf tournaments, career days," he said.

He added that his class took the unusual step of focusing its giving solely on financial aid for members of the Class of 2009. Each class can specify how they want their donations to be used, and the Class of 1959 has put theirs toward this purpose, Wise said.

The Class of 1959 will be the first to arrive on campus during this year's reunion such that its members can be present for graduation, according to Wise.

"We, as the 50th reunion class lead the '09s down the aisle at graduation," Wise said. "We reached out very early on, and the continuity of our class-to-class contact has really helped us maintain a bond."

The schedule for Commencement and Reunion will feature a class luncheon with the 2009 and 1959 classes, according to Corena Dungey, associate director of alumni events for Alumni Relations. The luncheon, along with other events, will be facilitated by student workers.

"We employ about 100 students to help facilitate the reunions," Dungey said. "They are really the ambassadors for the class. The classes organize and decide what they want, though."

Of the 12 reunions held this week, three are part of what is called a "cluster reunion" when three consecutive years of classes are brought back to campus together. The three classes participating in the cluster reunion are the '88s, '89s and '90s.

"The cluster reunions are more of a party," Dungey said. "More classmates come back it's a really fun time for everyone involved."

Reunions are designed to be "family-oriented" events, and there will be about 825 children coming with their parents for reunions this year, Dungey said. There are 3200 alumni planning on returning to campus for assorted reunions this June, she added.

Wise said that many of his friends are planning on returning for their reunion, and added that he believes the events also represent an opportunity to meet new people.

"I've developed more classmate friends after graduation," he said. "At reunions you come across people that you didn't have time to meet during your time at Dartmouth."

Diana Lawrence, director of communications for Alumni Relations, said that many alumni return for reunion to socialize.

"Research shows that alums come back to reconnect with faculty and friends," she said. "Alumni love the social aspects of reunions and the fact that they can bring their families."

For the families attending, there are programs for children up to the age of 17, Dungey said.

"With all of our programs we're setting up for them, it is a good reunion to be a kid. They will be busy," she said.