Dartmouth alumni and their families returned to Hanover in record numbers last week for 2018 Dartmouth Reunions to reconnect with classmates, friends, and faculty and to celebrate the College on the eve of its 250th anniversary. The annual event spanned 10 days, attracting 5,223 people from 12 classes—the most ever at Dartmouth reunions.
Returning classes represented five decades, bringing a multi-generational community back to Hanover from around the globe.
“Reunions are another proof point that Dartmouth is indeed a base camp to the world—with record numbers returning to Dartmouth to celebrate their connection to the College and to one another,” said Martha J. Beattie ’76, vice president for alumni relations. “I am more inspired than ever by the accomplishments and the engagement of our alumni.”
Reunions programming demonstrated the breadth of faculty and student scholarship and its relevance across geographic and academic boundaries, with back-to-class lectures on climate change, the Russian literary origins of modern terrorism, and China’s Asia, as well as Thayer inventions designed to make the world safer. The Hopkins Center for the Arts provided a musical thread for alumni and community members throughout reunions, showcasing student and faculty talent in the performing arts—from a brass band strolling the green to the vocal power of the Dartmouth Idol All-Stars.
For many alumni, reunions were a time to reflect on Dartmouth’s impact on their lives over time.
“This was the place where I started thinking about civil rights and the world we want to pass on,” said Ed Kim ’98. “Like a lot of people, [at first] I was just about getting good grades, but coming out here became about finding my place in the world and making it better.”
Alumni took the opportunity to retreat to the rebuilt Moosilauke Ravine Lodge for an overnight stay and hike on Mount Moosilauke. The new facility, which opened last fall, replaces the beloved but structurally outdated lodge in the White Mountains that had served students, alumni, and community members for 77 years.
Programming for younger members of the Dartmouth family attracted 1,000 children, who enjoyed swimming, paddling the Connecticut River, and visiting the Montshire Museum of Science.
Dartmouth alumni affiliated and special interest groups hosted on-campus all-class mini reunions. The Dartmouth Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Alumni/ae Association hosted its 20th mini reunion throughout the weekend, and more than 100 guests attended the Black Alumni of Dartmouth Association reception. Members of Dartmouth Alumni in Entertainment & Media, Dartmouth Uniformed Service Alumni, the Dartmouth Lawyers Association, and Women of Dartmouth also held gatherings.
Reflecting one of the strongest networks in higher education, Dartmouth alumni continue to form bonds with one another across the country and around the world.
"In the fall of 2014, my wife, Lynn, and I were skiing and we met this woman who had a green sticker on her car, with a white 'D' on it,” said Bill Clark ’68 Th’69 Gr’71 Th’71, while on campus for his 50th reunion. “Well, her daughter is graduating this weekend, and we’ve had this distant connection ever since. Today we’re all meeting up for lunch, and on Sunday, I’ll walk at Commencement with her.”
Reunions this year also promised good news for the Dartmouth College Fund, for which reunion classes traditionally provide about 40 percent of all dollars raised annually. Ten of the 12 classes celebrating a reunion this year already have met their goals of support for the Fund in gifts and pledges. As part of this effort, Dartmouth announced Saturday that the Centennial Circle of Dartmouth Alumnae, a leadership giving society, had recently enlisted its 202nd member, marking strong progress toward its goal of 250 members by Dartmouth’s 250th anniversary in 2019. The Dartmouth College Fund, which has a fiscal year giving deadline of June 30, is a vital component of The Call to Lead campaign.
In September, the classes of 1943, 1948, and 1953 will return for their reunions. Meanwhile, planning is underway for 2019 Reunions which will include a celebration of the College’s 250th anniversary.
View more images from Dartmouth Reunions on Flickr.