Record attendance for Reunion 2013

Members of the Class of 2008 enjoyed the new Kegs and Kickball event at Reunion.

View the Reunion slideshow 

An all-time record of 885 alumni attended Reunion 2013 as graduates from the 12 class years ending in 3’s and 8’s braved tropical storm Andrea to return to campus and enjoy a weekend of reconnecting with classmates and seeing old friends. The old record of 860 was set in 2008.

“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. 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, 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 campus since he graduated.  “It’s beautiful, so expanded. I cannot believe how much has changed in just 10 years.”

A record total of more than 300 alumni, friends and members of the Brandeis National Committee and BOLLI 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, “Art Inside Out.” Other classes were led by faculty members Marya Lowry, Jon Levisohn, Dawn Skorczewski, Angela Gutchess, Maura Jane Farrelly and Don Katz. 

On 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 by 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.

On Saturday morning, alumni who volunteered for their Reunion committees were recognized for their efforts. Nancy Winship, P ’10, P ’13, senior vice president for institutional advancement, welcomed the more than 200 participants. “We have more volunteers this year than ever before and it shows, with record attendance and new events and activities,” she told them. “We simply could not do this without you.”

President Frederick Lawrence presented the Alumni Achievement Awards on Saturday morning to Bonnie Berger ’83, professor of applied mathematics and the first woman to earn tenure in the math department at 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. The awards represent the highest recognition Brandeis bestows exclusively on alumni.

Kegs and Kickball, and Ollie’s Family Fun drew alumni from all class years to the Gosman Sports and Convocation 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.

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.

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 the 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 Lawrence by Vic Samuels ’63 and Ron Kaiserman ’63 -- chairs of the 50th Reunion  -- at a Farewell Jazz & Champagne Brunch on Sunday.

Categories: Reunion, Events
Date: June 12, 2013