Alumnae Enjoy New Activities and Revisit Beloved Traditions at Reunion 2017

June 5, 2017
Mary Hastings '37 waves to the yellow Class of 2007

Wellesley welcomed more than 1,800 alumnae and 800 guests to campus this past weekend for Reunion 2017. The three-day event brought together graduating classes ending in 7 and 2, from 1937 to 2012.

“Alumnae came from 47 states and the District of Columbia, 24 countries, and one territory. We were especially thrilled to welcome an alumna from the class of 1937, who turned 102 years old last week!” said Ilyssa Greene Frey, director of communications and marketing for the Wellesley College Alumnae Association (WCAA). “We also had a tremendous showing from the class of 1967, which celebrated its 50th anniversary, and from the classes of 2007 and 2012.”

class of 2012 at reunion

Our youngest alumnae at Reunion, the Class of 2012, awaiting the classes of 1952 and 1957

This year’s reunion featured many new offerings, such as several multiclass social events; an interdepartmental academic open house; and a celebration of The Wellesley Hive, an innovative mentoring platform that launched on May 30.

Alumnae and their guests also were invited to tour several recently renovated spaces on campus, including the new art and music studios in Pendleton West; the upgraded lower level of Harambee House, which has served students of African descent since 1970; renovated living areas in Freeman Hall; upgraded work spaces in Schneider Center, now housing offices of student services; the new fitness mezzanine in the Field House; and the total transformation of the permanent collections of the Davis Museum.

Activities included perennial Wellesley favorites Stepsinging and eating s’mores, plus a variety of faculty lectures on newsworthy topics—from the importance of relaxation to Russia’s impact on the 2016 election—and insights from staff on student life today.

Many attendees also enjoyed the botanic gardens and Hunnewell Arboretum, participated in the dedication of the College’s outdoor labyrinth, and admired the renovated Butler Boathouse, which reopened in 2015 as a brighter, more functional building.

“Your return to your alma mater for reunion shows how much you value your connections to the College and to your fellow alumnae,” wrote President Paula A. Johnson in a welcome letter to attendees. She reinforced the importance of Wellesley connections during her first state of the College address at the WCAA annual meeting on Saturday morning.

President Johnson with Desiree Urquhart CE/DS '99

President Johnson waits for the alumnae parade to begin, with WCAA board member Desiree Urquhart CE/DS '99

An all-class, multifaith service on Sunday—“In Gratitude and Remembrance”— celebrated the blessings of the Wellesley community, past, present, and future. And of course, the alumnae parade on Sunday morning elicited smiles, tears, and loud cheers as the eldest alumnae were driven up College Road in antique cars; successive classes walked behind them. Hundreds of alumnae and their families lined College Road in traditional white attire accessorized with class colors: red hats, purple flower wreaths, yellow scarves, and green boas, to name a few.

“Seeing our alumnae invigorated by their return to campus and reconnecting with friends is why we do what we do…,” said Missy Siner Shea ’89, executive director of the WCAA. “Reunion is our annual celebration of the remarkable connections Wellesley alumnae forge as students, and renew here this weekend.”

Class of 2002 at reunion

Members of the Class of 2002 cheer on the alumnae who came before them

Alumnae of all ages celebrated with spirit and energy, as when several members of the class of 1947 kicked up their heels at the Dance Your Class Off all-campus party on Friday night. The next day, they asked if they could sit in a crew shell on Lake Waban. (The answer: Of course!) Then the group partied with the classes of 1997 and 2002 at the Chapel Lawn tent that night.

Mary Hastings ’37, the 102-year-old alumna, was the celebrity of the weekend, in real life and on social media. At one point, a group of 2012 alumnae found Hastings in the midst of a photo shoot on the Academic Quad and gathered around her for their own group photo. A delighted, sprightly Hastings, said, “I almost didn’t come, but I’m so happy I did!”