Reunion/Commencement Weekend

In between searching for familiar faces and sharing fond memories with former roommates over pastry from Gibson’s, alumni attended a number of events held during the May 22 weekend.

Highlights included such mainstay events as the All-Class Picnic, Grand Piano Extravaganza, OSCA Alumni Picnic, the Half-Century Club Reception and Dinner, and the Presidential Address (which can be heard and read here).

Alumni could attend a book signing at MindFair by Joanna Rakoff ’94, whose book, A Fortunate Age (Scribner 2009) depicts the fictional lives of six characters who are in search of themselves and move to New York City after graduating from Oberlin in 1994. Later that evening, many gathered at the Cat-in-the-Cream for Folk Music Night with Joe Hickerson ’57, an event sponsored by the Class of 1959.

At another event, former Oberlin athletes were inducted into the Heisman Club's Hall of Fame. They included Bruce Schennum ’74, Katherine Bowers ’98, Elizabeth Finnegan Morgan ’97, John Miller ’56, and the late Hugh Robertson ’43.

During the weekend, the Alumni Association offered a "backstage pass" to the festivities with a new blog. Check it out here and send your feedback and suggestions to blogger Elizabeth Weinstein for next year's site.

After the welcoming of graduating seniors into the alumni family during the annual Champagne Luncheon in Wilder Bowl came the announcement of class gifts, which set records. Overall, the combined reunion classes raised $17,307,838 for the 2008-09 fiscal year, eclipsing last year’s total of $12,399,855. The Class of 1959 raised $7,055,694 to celebrate its 50th reunion. Several post-luncheon gifts, totaling $1 million, ensured that the group set a new 50th reunion record. The 35th reunion cluster–which included the classes of 1973, 1974, and 1975–also set a new reunion record, raising $8,167,776 for the year. Previously, this record was held by the 1952, 1953, and 1954 reunion cluster, which raised $1,512,612 in 1987-88.

Rounding out a weekend filled with plays, nights at the ‘Sco, bowling, round-table discussions, kickball and rugby, and wine tasting events, was the 176th commencement exercises. After graduating seniors made their way to their seats in Tappan Square, and honorary degrees and awards were bestowed, speaker Richard Haass ’73 left audience members with this: “Whatever you choose to do, wherever you choose to do it, you owe it to your bosses and your conscience to be intellectually honest. … Practice your right of dissent, but tolerate and encourage it for others, too.”

And with that, another Commencement/Reunion Weekend drew to a close.

Photos by Gary Cohen '10, Dale Preston, Ma'Ayan Plaut '10, Janine Bentivegna, Jeff Hagan, Tony Morrison, and Yvonne Gay Fowler 

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