Alumni Weekend was graced with three perfect spring days of sunshine and good feelings. The alumni board hosted a dinner on Thursday night to honor ODK and their new initiates. Provost Bob Strong gave a great keynote to open the weekend about George Washington’s 1796 Farewell Address, in which he warned the new country about the potential dangers posed by… partisanship and debt!
We had very strong attendance, in particular from the 25th and 50th reunion classes. The Class of 1987 had a strong showing and pledged over $1.5 million to W&L. The Class of 1962 tied the all time attendance record for a 50th class, and made a record gift of over $8 million. That is not a typo!
The alumni board reviewed the good progress we have made with many chapters and talked candidly about how to make it even better by simplifying our forms and practices with chapter leaders.
President Ken Ruscio met with us for an hour to review the Campaign, the need to be mindful of costs and providing financial aid, and plans for the new Center for Global Learning which will transform DuPont Hall. He also confirmed the launch of the Roger Mudd Center for the Study of Professional Ethics, and discussed a brand new report from a task force on residential life. W&L will renovate all of its first year housing at last, and there will be further study of upper class housing, with the long term goal of providing more and better options.
Bill Hartog reported on this year’s admission cycle, with almost 6,000 applicants, and another year in which the acceptance rate for legacies (over 50%) exceeded that of the regular pool (18%). We will have a strong Class of 2016.
The Alumni Association has a fabulous new website, which makes it easier to find relevant info on chapters, events, registration, and social media. You can opt in to get news from other chapters to which you might travel or for which you are the board liaison. The new tool box for career services is especially impressive. We have almost 4,000 alumni in the W&L Linkedin community, and Career Perspectives allows you to contribute and read alumni comments on their varied paths to the top. I urge you to explore it further.
Friday also had departmental open houses and various programs, a children’s festival, and class outings. Our board dinner was with students involved in the arts; it was fantastic to hear their excitement about this part of W&L. The class reunion dinners are held at different locations on campus Friday night, and everyone walked to a very lively party under a circus tent on one of the upper athletic fields. This is a super replacement for Zollman’s. Timeless favorite ‘Liquid Pleasure’ entertained the crowd with hit after hit.
On Saturday morning at the Annual Meeting, six talented alumni were elected to the Alumni Board: Joe Ciccone, 93L Somerset, N.J.; Guy Kerr, ’75, Dallas; Justin King, ’95, Oklahoma City; Frost Bush Osborne, ’95, Atlanta; Nicole Davol Rhoads, ’04, Chapel Hill N.C. ; and Charlie Van Horn, ’81, New Orleans. We look forward to their contributions over the next four years.
Distinguished Alumni Awards were presented to Bill Miller, ’72, legendary Legg Mason investment guru; Mac Holladay, ’67, an expert in economic and community development; and Bill Ide, ’62, former president of the American Bar Association and corporate governance and ethics expert. Click here to read more about this year's DAA winners.
The Classes of 1962 and 1987, celebrating their 50th and 25th reunions, made special gifts to the University. The Class of 1962's reunion gift was $8,536,170, with $2.6 million of that total designated for the ongoing renovation of Washington and Lee's historic Colonnade. The gift will be recognized by the naming of the presidential suite in honor of the class.
The Class of 1987, which had established a goal of $1.4 million for its 25th reunion gift, announced a total of almost $1.6 million. Those monies are going to the Annual Fund, the Colonnade renovation project, scholarships, and other university priorities. The gift will be recognized by the naming of one of the seminar rooms in Robinson Hall.
Several reunion classes received awards recognizing exemplary attendance and fundraising:
- Reunion Bowl to the Class of 1962, recognizing the class with the highest percentage of its members registered for the weekend. The Class of 1962 had 39 percent. They also tied the record with the largest number of registered classmates for a 50th reunion.
- Reunion Trophy to the Class of 1987, recognizing the class with the most members registered for the weekend. The Class of 1987 had 91.
- Reunion Traveller Award, recognizing the alumnus who has traveled the farthest to return to Lexington for reunion. Paul Cheever, of the Class of 1967, and David Benn, of the Class of 1962, shared the award. Cheever and Benn live in the same town in Australia and traveled 9,600 miles to attend their reunions.
- John Newton Thomas Trophy to the Class of 1987, recognizing the class with the largest percentage increase in Annual Fund gifts over the previous year. The Class of 1987 had a 68 percent increase.
- Trident Trophy to the Class of 1967, recognizing the class with the highest percentage of members participating in the Annual Fund. The Class of 1967 had 79 percent.
- Colonnade Cup to the Class of 1972, recognizing the class with the largest reunion gift to the Annual Fund, including current gifts and future pledges. The Class of 1972 gave $750,215, with an additional $3,172,000 in capital support.
In total, the reunion classes raised over $3.7 million in current and future pledges to the Annual Fund.
The weekend culminated with a dinner dance on Cannan Green on Saturday night.