A Marvelous Party

June 1, 2002

 

Where else could you throw a three-day affair for nearly 3,300 people that includes season-perfect spring weather and flowers, Friday evening events beneath tents for individual classes, and a rousing procession of alumni across the quad for a luncheon in Cameron? Or successfully serve an elegant Saturday-night buffet to 2,200 at the Big Dance, within a tent the size of a football field, while entertaining with three bands--from a jazz quartet to a swing orchestra to the famous Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs--plus a fireworks display? And then offer a Sunday champagne brunch in Duke Gardens before Duke Chapel services?

On Duke's campus, of course, for Reunions 2002 in April.

"Duke came back to life again for us that weekend," wrote one alumna. All aspects of university life were celebrated in an amazing variety of activities. Duke Directions, a two-day roster of lecture sessions, featured outstanding faculty and alumni--from writer Reynolds Price '55 to historian Anne Scott--and such timely topics as the war on terrorism, integrative medicine, ethical leadership, and global climate change led by deans and other experts in their fields. Art Sparks, now in its third year, examined the artistic life, with the opera Don Giovanni, a Duke Dance performance, a glimpse at plans for the new art museum, and an interactive introduction to writing for the theater by playwright and Theater Studies professor Erin Cressida Wilson.

There were five scheduled tours of Duke Gardens, three bus tours of campus, six tours of the Primate Center, two tours of the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, two Project W.I.L.D. High Ropes courses, two Alumni Admissions Information sessions, and two shifts for a community service project. There were individual receptions or luncheons for the nursing school, the Pratt School of Engineering, the William Preston Few Association and the Washington Duke Club, the Heritage Society, the Wesley Fellowship, the Freeman Center for Jewish Life, the Episcopal Center, Black Student Alliance, Navy ROTC, the Asian Students Association, the association of Latino Students Association (Mi Gente), and the Center for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Life.

On Saturday, a "Conversation with President Nan Keohane" followed a presentation by each class of its Annual Fund class gift and the senior class gift in Page Auditorium. That afternoon, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist discussed the lives and contributions of his predecessors, in a program sponsored by Duke Law School.

At Sunday's Half-Century Club luncheon, nearly 200 members of the Class of 1952 in attendance were inducted.

Plans are under way for Reunions 2003 for the classes of 1953, 1958, 1963, 1968, 1973, 1978, 1983, 1988, 1993, 1998, and the Half-Century Club.