Alumni Weekend Expected to Draw Thousands
Attend reunions, tours, parties, even renew your wedding vows
Three times a day, every day, BU alumni get together somewhere in the world for all kinds of occasions, from professional networking to lectures to hockey watch parties.
But this weekend thousands of alums and their families will gather on campus for the biggest event of them all—Alumni Weekend—and with 133 activities scheduled, chances are that none will be idle. Sports fans will find athletic events. Revelers will have opportunities to celebrate with former classmates at receptions, tours, dinners, and a craft beer tasting. Those who’ve been away will marvel at the new construction that has transformed the Charles River Campus. Romantics will be able to renew their wedding vows at Marsh Chapel, which has invited all alumni, whether they were married at BU or not. Many activities are open to faculty, staff, and students.
“Even though it says Alumni Weekend, we hope all members of the BU community participate,” says Steven A. Hall, vice president for alumni relations.
Reunions and awards
At a luncheon tomorrow, three alums will receive University Alumni Awards, BU’s highest honor: Analjit Singh (SMG’77, GSM’79), chairman and managing director of Max India Limited, David P. Hemery (SMG’68, SED’88), British-born founder of the charity 21st Century Legacy and winner of the gold medal in the 400-meter hurdles at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico, and Jennifer Yeo (LAW’85), chair and senior partner at Yeo-Leong & Peh in Singapore.
Hall points out that the three awardees live outside the United States, which “speaks to the global nature of this institution.”
Sera Bonds (SPH’04), founder of the nonprofit Circle of Health International, will receive the Young Alumni Award, and Jack Parker (SMG’68, Hon.’97), who retired this year after four decades as men’s ice hockey head coach, will be honored. The luncheon will take place at noon in the George Sherman Union Metcalf Ballroom.
Several schools and colleges will honor their alums with awards throughout the weekend, including the College of Communication, the College of General Studies, the School of Social Work, the School of Education, and the School of Law.
Other groups will simply gather for reunions at receptions and socials, including the Class of 1963 and the Golden Terriers (those from the Class of 1963 and earlier), alumni of individual schools and colleges, and former Terrier football players, cheerleaders, managers, and marching band members. About 100 football alums are expected to attend a reception and dinner.
University trustees voted to cancel the football program in 1997 after 91 seasons, in part because of the expense and poor attendance. The move angered many Terriers, and hard feelings have lingered among some ever since.
“Everyone knows there was a lot of passion around the University’s decision to end football,” says Hall, “but one of the fallouts was our football player alumni had disengaged from the University. We felt it was time to reach out and ask them to reengage.”
It’s not the first time BU has attempted to reconnect with some of its graduates. Last year, the University celebrated the 60th anniversary of the first graduating class of the School of Nursing, which closed in 1988 because of declining enrollment and a move by Massachusetts to establish lower-cost nursing programs at state colleges. In 2011 the University held special events honoring and exploring the black experience at BU. And in 2010, members of the Class of 1970—whose graduation was canceled amid the nationwide turmoil of campus antiwar protests—were invited to take part in Commencement ceremonies.
“It’s not about apologizing for a decision made in the past or revisiting the decision,” says Hall. “We want all alumni to feel part of this community.”
Alumni Weekend will also mark the 75th anniversary of BU’s Scarlet Key Society, the University’s highest honor for student leaders, says Susan Richardson, director of alumni programs and events. The society was established in 1938 by the General Alumni Association—now the Boston University Alumni Association. The Dean of Students office took over administration of the society nearly a decade ago, and new members were voted in, or “tapped,” and inducted just before Commencement. This year the society returns to the BUAA; new members will be tapped during a special ceremony on Saturday at 10 a.m. at Alpert Mall (also known as the BU Beach) and will be inducted in the spring. Read a related story here.
Alums can celebrate an anniversary of a different kind by renewing their marriage vows on Saturday at 6 p.m. at Marsh Chapel. “This is new to BU’s Alumni Weekend,” says Brother Larry Whitney (STH’09,’11,’18), University chaplain for community life, who will officiate at the service with help from other members of the ministry team. “It’s something some of my counterparts on other campuses indicated had become very meaningful in their alumni activities, and so we thought we’d try it out here.”
Craft beer tasting and campus tours
One of the last events of the weekend is a craft beer tasting, which will feature representatives from six breweries: Backlash Beer Company, owned by Helder Pimentel (CGS’04, SMG’06), Boston Beer Company, Boston Beer Works, Brooklyn Brewery, Cisco Brewery, and Harpoon Brewery. Alumni will learn about their fall offerings, taste samples, and nibble on seasonal foods. The event, which is $25 per ticket, will take place Saturday, from 5 to 7 p.m., at the GSU Metcalf Ballroom.
Throughout the weekend, alums are invited to see how the campus has changed. They can celebrate the construction of the new Sumner M. Redstone Building at the School of Law today, October 25, at 2:30 p.m. at LAW. Redstone (Hon.’94) donated $18 million for the school’s new building. A preopening tour of the new Engineering Product Innovation Center (EPIC), 750 Commonwealth Ave., will take place today at 6:30 p.m.
If all this doesn’t pique the interest of alumni, there are musical, arts, and athletic events as well. The field hockey team will take on the University of California, Berkeley, today at 5 p.m. and Duke on Sunday at 1:30 p.m., both at the University’s latest athletic field, the state-of-the-art New Balance Field, the women’s ice hockey team will meet Yale on Saturday at 3 p.m. at Walter Brown Arena, and the men’s soccer team will play Loyola on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Nickerson Field.
“We hope that alumni will come back to campus to reminisce about their time here,” says Richardson, “reconnect with faculty and friends, take a look at what’s new, and leave with a renewed sense of pride in BU.”
Find a complete list of Alumni Weekend events here.3 Comments