Gettysburg College welcomes back alumni for 2024 Reunion Weekend

Almni at the reunion weekend
More than 1,200 alumni returned to Gettysburg College for Reunion Weekend on May 30-June 2 (Photo by Doug Huber ’06, ProArts Media).

A beautiful weekend of weather reflected the feelings of joy and excitement from more than 1,200 alumni who returned to Gettysburg College for Reunion Weekend on May 30-June 2. While revisiting fond memories with former classmates and rekindling relationships with beloved faculty, Gettysburgians enjoyed bountiful opportunities to reconnect with their alma mater and learn how they can strengthen the network of support for our students.

Throughout Reunion Weekend, alumni visited their favorite spots on campus and took in new sights that have been constructed in the years since their graduation. Faculty and staff shared their wealth of knowledge and expertise with inquisitive former students, while departments and organizations opened their doors, welcoming visitors to explore the resources available to our students as they seek to make a difference in the world.

In addition to social gatherings and hands-on learning, alumni celebrated their peers who were recognized for their community and professional endeavors and received insight from President Bob Iuliano on the College’s distinctive approach to education, and the role all alumni can play in the development and growth of our students.

Check out some of the highlights below from an exciting Reunion Weekend!

Reunion classes lead the way

Reunion Weekend 2024

Alumni spanning more than seven decades and 62 different classes returned to their alma mater during Reunion Weekend with classes from the “4s” and “9s” celebrating milestone reunions starting with the 15th reunion and older. Topping the list was the Class of 1974 with 100 classmates returning for their 50th reunion. With the largest percentage of class members in attendance (30%), the Class of 1974 proudly hoisted the 1915 Reunion Cup.

The Class of 1974 also claimed the Verna A. Schwartz 1913 Reunion Fund Trophy for the largest Gettysburg Fund Class Gift ($325,765) and the 1925 Reunion Gift Participation Award for having the highest percentage of its class make a gift (43%). The Class of 1979 wrapped up the final class award with the Charles W. Beachem 1925 Reunion Trophy for having the highest percentage increase in gifts to the Gettysburg Fund from last year. All told, classes celebrating milestone reunions raised over $8 million in gifts and commitments, including $3.1 million from members of the Class of 1974.

Class is in session

Alumni share a laugh during a stand-up comedy
Alumni share a laugh during Ritchie Shydner’s ’74 presentation on the history of stand-up comedy inside Joseph Theater in Breidenbaugh Hall (Photo by Abbey Frisco).

Alumni College classes allowed returning alumni to sit in the same chairs and desks students occupy as they learn from our first-class faculty and experienced staff. Some of those faculty and staff members were on hand to share their knowledge on a range of topics, including criminal justice reform, the philosophy of sport, the cultural fascination with dogs, and the science behind making cocktails.

Additionally, fellow alumni took the opportunity to share their own insightful research. Writer and comedian Ritchie Shydner ’74 presented on the history of stand-up comedy; retired University of Virginia Professor James Todd ’65 gave a presentation on former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor; and Seacoast Wind Ensemble artistic director Mark Stickney ’95 discussed the impact of music from the 1960s on society.

Doors were open across campus for visitors to investigate the numerous resources and opportunities available to current students. At the Innovation and Creativity Lab, alumni learned about the multiple ways students can enhance their creativity through technological resources such as 3D printing and laser engraving, as well as gaining insight into the growing collaboration between the lab and numerous academic departments across campus. Musselman Library and Special Collections welcomed alumni to view several current exhibits on display, while the staff offered a pair of sessions about the unique musical instruments housed within the library and the incredible array of informative resources available to students.

Supporting athletics at the O&B Golf Classic

2024 Orange & Blue Golf Classic

One of the Athletic Department’s largest annual fundraisers, the 32nd Annual Gettysburg College Orange & Blue Golf Classic presented by The Cly-Del Manufacturing Co. welcomed 188 golfers to Hanover Country Club on Friday, May 31. Attendees hit the links for two separate flights in the morning and afternoon, enjoying the beautiful weather and scenic landscapes while engaging with Gettysburg College coaches and staff volunteers working the event. This year’s event raised more than $130,000 to support student-athlete endeavors.

Honoring alumni achievements

Alumni celebrated for outstanding service and professional accomplishments
Gettysburg honored a number of alumni for outstanding service and professional accomplishments. Pictured left to right: Fred Schumacher ’69, Lauren Meehan Keefe ’09, Sara Harenchar Levinson ’09, President Iuliano, Katie Anderson ’09, Helen Hohman ’75, Jack Duffy ’79, and Alumni Board President Al Wilkins ’06 (Photo by Doug Huber ’06, ProArts Media).

During the Presidential Address and Alumni Awards Ceremony on Saturday morning inside the College Union Building (CUB) Ballroom, alumni who achieved outstanding accomplishments in their careers or in service of the College were lauded in front of their peers.

The Class of 2009 was well-represented, sweeping the Young Alumni Achievement Awards for both service and career development. Lauren Meehan Keefe ’09 and Sara Harenchar Levinson ’09 were winners of the recognition for service as contributors to both the Burgians of the Last Decade (BOLD) Council and Alumni Board of Directors as well as serving as co-chairs for their class reunions. The awards for career development went to Kate Anderson ’09 and Aimee George ’09. A music major at Gettysburg, Reynolds has written songs for both film and stage, including Disney Animation’s “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure.” George, a political science and globalization studies double major, was honored for her commitment to equity, social justice, and peacebuilding through organizations such as Save the Children, World Education, and the International Justice Mission.

The Meritorious Service Awards recognize committed and distinguished service in the name of Gettysburg College. This year’s recipients included Helen Hohman ’75 and Fred Schumacher ’69, while 2020 awardee Jack Duffy ’79 was also recognized this year. Hohman is one of 18 family members to graduate from Gettysburg, has co-chaired every reunion for her class, and served on the Alumni Board of Directors for 11 years. From being the batboy for the Bullets baseball team in the 1950s to serving on the Orange & Blue Club Advisory Council for more than 30 years, Schumacher has shown unwavering support for his alma mater. A long-time executive at AT&T, Duffy was an impactful component of the Gettysburg Network, recruiting at least 70 Gettysburg grads and hosting more than 100 students at the company. Duffy also served on the Alumni Board from 2010-2019.

An exploration of place

Alumni were treated to a special campus tour
Alumni were treated to a special campus tour by Scheduling and Technical Support Manager John Rudy ’07 which focused on the College’s role in the Battle of Gettysburg (Photo by Doug Huber ’06, ProArts Media).

Across campus, alumni indulged in multiple opportunities to explore the corners of the campus they once inhabited as students, and new venues that have been built and developed in the years since. The John F. Jaeger Center for Athletics, Recreation, and Fitness was open throughout the weekend for visitors to get in a quick workout in the Ortenzio Fitness Room, while receptions were held throughout the community to allow alumni to reconnect with each other. Gathering spots included the Atrium in the Dining Center, The Attic, the Bullet Hole, and the Science Center on campus, while some alumni ventured to spots in town such as Waldo’s & Company and Upper Crust for food and a chance to make more memories in the community.

For those wishing to explore the breadth of campus, walking tours were organized with students leading the way, regaling their audiences with their own experiences on campus. Scheduling and Technical Support Manager John Rudy ’07 also continued his annual tradition of a campus Civil War tour, reminding those in attendance of the important role the College played in that distant conflict. Schmucker Art Gallery and the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center also held open houses, while the Class of 1974 was privy to a special tour of the historic Majestic Theater in downtown Gettysburg.

On Saturday afternoon, the Classes of 2004 and 2009 were treated to a picnic on the north lawn outside Penn Hall just two weeks after the Class of 2024 and their families filled the space at Commencement. At the same time, an all-alumni lunch was held on the Bullet Hole patio with entertainment supplied by the band Pennington Station (a.k.a. Primetime). Finally, the weekend’s festivities wrapped up with the all-class party in the CUB Ballroom Saturday night.

Celebrating a pair of Gettysburg greats

Joe Lynch ’85 takes a photo with Doug Goodfellow ’68 during Reunion Weekend
Executive Director of Alumni Relations Joe Lynch ’85 takes a photo with Doug Goodfellow ’68 during Reunion Weekend (Phot by Doug Huber ’06, ProArts Media).

This year’s Reunion Weekend marked the last as employees for both Dean of Admissions Gail Sweezey and Executive Director of Alumni Relations Joe Lynch ’85, both of whom announced their retirements from the College earlier this year. The two long-time and dedicated employees combined for 65 years of service to the College and impacted countless lives across generations of Gettysburgians. From the first visit to campus during a college search process to a 50th reunion celebration, Sweezey and Lynch devoted their life’s work to ensuring each and every student and alum felt an undeniable connection to the institution.

Current colleagues, former staff, and alumni greeted Sweezey in a celebratory reception at the Eisenhower Admissions House on the opening day of Reunion Weekend. Lynch’s celebration took place in front of hundreds of alumni at the Presidential Address and Awards Ceremony, where President Iuliano announced the establishment of The Joseph W. Lynch, Jr. ’85 Endowed Internship Fund. This fund, which was created thanks to generous gifts from more than 100 donors, will support student internship opportunities for rising sophomores or juniors at Gettysburg, fostering within them the values of relationship-building and teamwork, hallmarks of Lynch’s distinctive career at the College.

Making an impact on students

President Iuliano speaking during Reunion Weekend
President Iuliano implores alumni to continue their great work engaging with the College and supporting our students (Photo by Doug Huber ’06, ProArts Media).

Without support of alumni, Gettysburg College would not be able to provide students with the resources and opportunities they need to be prepared to graduate and make a difference in the world. Through the Gettysburg Approach, students are empowered with a breadth and depth of knowledge and a set of enduring skills to help them live a consequential life.

President Iuliano hosted the College’s most dedicated donors from the Cupola Society and 1832 Society at his home on Friday night, recognizing their outstanding contributions to the institution in support of student endeavors. That theme continued into Saturday’s awards ceremony, where he directly engaged with hundreds of alumni eager to hear more about how Gettysburg is preparing the next generation of students for a world marked by change.

Read President Iuliano’s full remarks from the Reunion Collation Address

“On the one hand, I know of few other schools focusing so purposefully on amplifying the learning impact of co-curricular activities and the curation of these enduring skills,” Iuliano said. “And, yet, what we’re doing is so distinctively us, making full use of the type of supportive community we have here and the impulse of our alumni to get involved.”

Alumni learn about student projects in the Innovation and Creativity Lab
Alumni learn about the work being done by students in the Innovation and Creativity Lab (Photo by Abbey Frisco).

As students embark on their journey at Gettysburg, they will be guided by Personal Advising Teams composed of faculty and staff, helping them find the opportunities they need to be global citizens. As part of that support team, alumni have an opportunity to play an impactful role in helping students realize their goals.

“Next spring, we will be actively recruiting our first cohort of alumni mentors for our Personal Advising Teams,” said Iuliano. “If you want to positively influence the life of a young person, I can think of no greater way than to serve as an alumni mentor. When the time comes, I’d ask you to consider raising your hand and joining us in this important work. It’s work that matters to our students and to the College. Your engagement will make all the difference.”

Save the date: Homecoming and BOLD Weekend – Sept. 20-22, 2024

By Corey Jewart
Photos by Abbey Frisco, Doug Huber ’06/ProArts Media
Posted: 06/10/24

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