Members of the class of 2008 take a break at the Reunion Ice Cream Social.

 

Largest alumni turnout ever at Reunion 2013

Nearly 1,300 alumni and friends gathered on campus to celebrate

Members from the class years ending in 3’s and 8’s braved tropical storm Andrea on Friday night and kicked off a weekend full of fun activities, reconnecting with classmates and seeing old friends. This year marks the second largest reunion ever. This year, a record 885 alumni attended Reunion. The previous high was from 2008, when 860 alumni attended.

Reunion participants

Melissa Scott ’03, Nyssa Thomas ’03 and Horace Baxter ’03

“We have stayed connected through social media, but nothing beats being here in person,” said Melissa Scott ’03, who came from New York to celebrate her 10th reunion. Classmate Nyssa Thomas ’03 from Northern California agreed: “After 10 years it was definitely time to come back,” said Thomas. “I was really curious to see who people are now. I am so glad I came.”  

Scott, Thomas and Horace Baxter ’03, who is from Seattle, Wash., arrived on campus early on Friday to attend Alumni College. “I loved the presentations. They were informative, fun and interesting,” said Baxter, who also expressed his amazement at the changes to the physical campus.  “It’s beautiful, so expanded. I cannot believe how much has changed in just 10 years.”

A record 300 alumni, friends and Brandeis National Committee and BOLLI members attended Alumni College, the day-long series of classes led by some of Brandeis’ most beloved professors and administrators. Chris Bedford, the Henry and Lois Foster Director of The Rose Art Museum, started the day with a lecture titled “Art Inside Out.” Other classes and presentations were made by faculty members Marya Lowry, Jon Levisohn, Dawn Skorczewski, Angela Gutchess, Maura Jane Farrelly and Don Katz. 

Friday evening, the celebration ramped up at the Fire & ’Deis Welcome Back Party, held under a tent on the Great Lawn. Hundreds of alumni and their guests danced the night away after enjoying an international tapas-style buffet. A live band played hits from artists ranging from the Beatles to Michael Jackson and Bruno Mars, keeping the party jumping for hours. “I just love to dance,” said David Friedler ’68. “The band was great and that was so much fun.”

Several new programs and reunion activities were introduced this year, including a Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast, a student panel titled “Brandeis Today,” Kegs and Kickballs and Ollie’s Family Fun. Saturday morning, alumni who volunteered for their Reunion committees were recognized for their efforts. Senior Vice President for Institutional Advancement Nancy Winship, P’10, P’13, welcomed the more than 200 participants. “We have more volunteers this year than ever before and it shows, with near-record attendance and new events and activities. We simply could not do this without you,” she told them.

Kegs and Kickball and Ollie’s Family Fun drew alumni from all class years to the Gosman Center for some good-natured athletic competition among graduates and family-friendly activities for the kids. Face-painting, games, Build-a-Bear and more kept the young ones busy and entertained.

Alumni Achievement Awards were presented during a conversation with President Frederick Lawrence on Saturday morning. Bonnie Berger ’83, professor of applied mathematics and the first woman to earn tenure in the math department of MIT; Jon Landau ’68, renowned music manager, record producer and manager of rock legend Bruce Springsteen; and Robert Zimmer ’68, president of the University of Chicago, each received the highest recognition bestowed exclusively on alumni for their distinguished contributions to their chosen fields. Zimmer was unable to attend and participated via video conference from his office at the University of Chicago.

Individual class dinners were held across campus and at the Boston Marriott/Newton Hotel on Saturday night. Attendees enjoyed buffet dinners, live music, karaoke, dancing and sharing stories and memories of their time on campus. President Lawrence visited with each class during the weekend, thanking the reunion class chairs for their hard work and all of the alumni for coming back to Brandeis.

President Frederick Lawrence visited with each class during the weekend, thanking the reunion class chairs for their hard work and all alumni for coming back to Brandeis. “I look forward to seeing you back here again in five years, and many times before then,” he said. “You are all ambassadors for Brandeis. Let your classmates who are not here know what a great time you had this weekend. We look forward to welcoming them back to campus next time.”

A reunion gift check for $2.7 million was presented to President Lawrence by Vic Samuels ’63 and Ron Kaiserman ’63 at a Farewell Jazz & Champagne Brunch on Sunday.  

To learn more, visit the Brandeis Alumni and Friends website or watch the Reunion 2013 slideshow on flickr.