College Reunion: “The Years Melt Away”

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More than 800 people attended Principia’s College reunion last month—from a six-week-old baby to an alum who enrolled at the College in 1939. Renewing old friendships and making new ones filled the weekend, along with great entertainment and, of course, education. In fact, while attending classes, Kendra Nordin (C’93) had what she called “one of those perfect little Prin moments when you go, ‘Oh, what I heard in my history class applies to the literature I’m learning about in my English class.’”

Attendees also took advantage of a wide range of activities beyond the classroom, such as golf, tennis, a 5K Fun Run, and bird walks. And many alums performed in the weekend's dance presentation or choir concert. On Friday afternoon, College President Jonathan Palmer (C'78) shared updates on Principia’s strategic plan, and Saturday afternoon, the eighteenth David K. Andrews Alumni Award was presented to Dr. Edwin L. Harper (US’59, C’63). (Watch the video about Harper shown at reunion, and see photos from the weekend. Also, don't miss the slideshow at the end of this article.)

This year, under the umbrella of the larger reunion, several affinity group reunions took place—for Coach Crafton’s football players and a few houses (Rackham West, McNabb, Buck, and Highland Hall). By all accounts, these gatherings were a hit, helping alums feel right at home. “There’s something about the love expressed by all here that makes me feel contented,” said one McNabb alum. “I’ve been smiling all week!”

In addition, Terry Coolidge (US’88, C’92) organized a mini-reunion of the Scotland Art Abroad. The group Skyped both their teacher, Duncan Martin (C’76, current faculty), and his mom, Jane Martin, who was the practitioner for the trip. Gillian Jagai (C’93) especially appreciated reconnecting with this group, noting what a “lovely, complete experience” it was.

Members of another special group gathered for one of the largest 50th Reunions ever! Not only did they bring fond memories with them, but they collectively donated $750,000 for the College’s first high-tech, 21st-century classroom, which was open for tours during reunion. As has become the custom, 50th Reunioners arrived a day early and enjoyed several events exclusively for them, including a special dinner at Lockhaven Country Club. “We were treated like royalty with so much love from everybody,” one member of the group said. “It was just a wonderful experience in total!”

As much fun as all the activities were, the alumni were by far the most important ingredient in the weekend’s success. As Jon Wyman (US’73, C’78) put it, “I have more friends from Principia than any place I’ve ever been. And when we all get together, it’s just like the years melt away and we’re back when we were 17 or 25 or whatever stage in life we met.”

As if to illustrate that very point, Gay (Johler, C’63) and Ralph (C’62) von Lutzow recreated a touching tradition from their days at the College. With a boom box and Johnny Mathis CD in hand, they headed to the bluffs to dance in the moonlight to the same music in the same spot where they'd danced 50 years ago.