In 1849, 15 members of the Class of 1811 returned for one of the earliest known reunions of Dartmouth alumni. Attendee William Cogswell wrote afterward: “The heart was full to overflowing, and was vented in the frankest expressions of interest in each other, and in their Alma Mater. The occasion throughout was one of gladsome and intense interest, and will never be forgotten by those who were present.”
One hundred sixty-three years later, Dartmouth alumni continue to return to campus to enjoy those unforgettable experiences. This June more than 4,000 alumni, guests, and family members will congregate for the reunions of 11 classes, from 1952 to 2007. Reunion activities, which run from June 7 to 17, will include more than a dozen faculty presentations and panels, Dartmouth Outing Club adventures (including white water rafting), campus tours, a Dr. Seuss-themed kids’ party, class dinners, and a college admissions workshop.
This year also features the first-ever “On the Green!” event for all alumni. The celebration begins in the afternoon of June 16 with ice cream treats and a performance by STOMP!, an international music sensation described by The New Yorker as “high voltage virtuosity.” Later that evening alumni will fill the Green again to enjoy kettle corn and a cappella performances by the Dartmouth Aires and Rockapellas.
“We can’t wait to see the Green filled with hundreds of alumni celebrating the Dartmouth fellowship in one of the most beautiful spots on earth," says Martha Beattie ’76, vice president for alumni relations. "It should be a sea of green!”
For many alumni, attendance at Reunions is a family affair that unites generations. Allison Bleyler McDonald ’87 remembers traipsing around the Dartmouth campus as a child attending the reunion of her father, Pete Bleyler ’61. Coincidentally, her future husband, Jock McDonald ’87, son of Sandy McDonald ’51, was likely in Hanover at the same time for his father’s reunion, long before the couple met as Dartmouth undergraduates.
Continuing the tradition, the McDonalds are looking forward to taking their children, Callum, age 7, and Spencer, age 5, this June.
“We both have memories of coming to our dad’s reunions and having a ball,” says Allison. “It’s the same thing today. It’s about seeing old friends and making new ones, being a student again in the classroom, and having fun.”