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Reunion 2012

More than 1,200 alumnae/i from Vassar classes ending in 2s and 7s reconnected with the college and their classmates during Reunion weekend, May 31 through June 3. They brought with them 567 guests (63 of whom are alumnae/i).

As in years past, colorful banners and class favors adorned the route of the Annual Alumnae/i Parade, alums cheered for one another during the annual Celebration of Volunteers and Reunion Gifts, and fireworks lit up the night sky. The Service of Remembrance featured guest speaker Reverend Canon Petero Sabune '77, the Episcopal Church's global partnerships officer for Africa.

But this year some new additions rounded out the Reunion line-up. They included a karaoke party, a campus scavenger hunt, and a visit to the Walkway Over the Hudson, the new pedestrian bridge and state park that connects Poughkeepsie with Highland, New York.

There were special events for the 50th Reunion class. The Class of 1962 enjoyed an exhibition of works created or bequeathed by members of their class at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, an exhibition of art and writing by classmates at the James W. Palmer Gallery, a cocktail reception at the home of Purcell Scheu Palmer ’62 in Catskill, New York, and a festive dinner in classmate Betsy Jacks Scott’s Palladian barn in Hudson, New York.

Alums of all ages revisited the intellectual experiences they had as students by attending the perennially popular Alumnae/i College classes, offered by Vassar faculty members. During the sessions, they explored topics as wide-ranging as the policy implications of the 2012 election and the history and function of the Vassar pipe organs.

Spirit of Vassar award recipient Michael Kimmel ’72 with AAVC President Geraldine Bond Laybourne ’69 and President Hill.

Returning alumnae/i saw first-hand their contributions to the campus. The Class of 2007 viewed their class gift—solar panels atop Main Building that now power portions of the Retreat. The Class of 1972 celebrated its gift of the library’s one-millionth volume—Anatomia humani corporis (1685) by Govard Bidloo. Jane Baker Nord ’42 was recognized at a reception and tour of the Art Center's newly renovated sculpture garden. With her husband, Eric, she gifted the Hildegarde Krause Baker, class of 1911, Sculpture Garden (in honor of Jane’s mother) when the Art Center first opened. Her class was applauded for its gift of the sculpture Asa-Kiri (Morning Mist), by Toshiko Takaezu, nestled there.

During the President's Hour on Saturday morning, AAVC presented the Spirit of Vassar Award to Michael Kimmel ’72, University Distinguished Professor of Sociology at SUNY at Stony Brook and one of the most prominent scholars and researchers on gender, men, and masculinity in the nation. President Hill spoke about the 13 core outcomes and skills instilled by a Vassar education. And AAVC Board President Geraldine Bond Laybourne ’69 read a letter from one of Vassar’s oldest living alumnae/i, Dorothy Church Zaring ’32, who was unable to travel to what would have been her 80th Reunion. Zaring, who turns 102 in October, is blind, but dictated the letter to her husband, Joe. “[Vassar] gave me my introduction to that ‘greatest of generations’ who shaped the world after two great wars,” she said. “Those leaders had the benefit of the prolific talents of institutions like Vassar, which regularly turned out the economists, architects, language specialists, thinkers, and strategists.”

–Elizabeth Randolph

Images © Vassar College / Stockton Photo, Inc.