Every spring, shortly after Commencement launches the newest batch of graduates into “life after Grinnell,” those who’ve already spent time there return to campus to reconnect with friends and revisit old haunts.
This year, those who have just graduated join those who graduated before the end of World War II for the 133rd Grinnell College Reunion, June 1-3, 2012. Record numbers have already registered to relive their days in the classroom at Alumni College — fewer than 30 seats remain.
Many alumni make a special effort to come during “their” reunion years. This year those are the classes of ’02, ’91–’93 , ’87, ’71–’73, ’66–’68, ’62, and the golden classes of ’37, ’42, and ’43. In addition, black alumni are holding their biennial affinity reunion. Several members of the classes of ’65, ’69, and ’70 are also planning to join their friends from the ’60s and ’70s, and other alumni will come just to meet up with friends, a practice encouraged by alumni relations staff.
The reunion schedule is packed with activities, including plenty of food, music, tours, and socializing, as well as the Alumni Assembly, which will feature the presentation of the Alumni Awards. Alumni drive many of the activities, including three gallery exhibits (“There’s Something Happening Here,” “1966 Yearbook,” and “Do You Remember the Sixties?”); concerts by The Moss Piglets, Independent 398, and She-Man and Masters of the Universe; panel discussions; documentaries; an improv show; Titular Head film screening; and more.
Black alumni, one of the most active affinity groups, arrange campus reunions every two years. The group includes members with strong ties to the College, including trustees and former faculty members. This year’s reunion, however, is their first with Dr. Raynard S. Kington, Grinnell’s first black president.
"The past is always in our present,” says Irma McClaurin ’73, member of the Black Alumni Reunion planning committee. “Grinnell holds many memories for me — some good, some not so good. As a black alumna and former Grinnell faculty member in anthropology, I look forward to the reunions so that I can ‘witness’ (in the words of James Baldwin) the progress Grinnell has made, but not just in its new buildings and renovated facilities, but in understanding how it is making diversity a core part of its administrative, community-building, intellectual, and social fabric."
Kington has invited the black alumni group for a special luncheon conversation to discuss the current black student experience at Grinnell, the Kimbo Black Cultural Center, and how alumni can be more involved in supporting today’s students.
If you’re interested in attending Reunion this year, register by May 4 to avoid late fees.