Many Happy Returns

June 1, 2006
Cosy chat and confetti flurry at Big Dance

Cosy chat and confetti flurry at Big Dance. Chris Hildreth

More than 3,800 alumni and family members gathered on campus for Reunions Weekend in April.

Here's a roundup of attendance: Class of 1956, 277 attending; Class of 1961, 168; Class of 1966, 175; Class of 1971, 162; Class of 1976, 238; Class of 1981, 398; Class of 1986, 721 (a record for 20th reunions); Class of 1991, 302; Class of 1996, 616; Class of 2001, 661.

By the end of the weekend, class gift records had been set for the 55th, 45th, 25th, 20th, and 10th reunion classes. The Class of 1981 set a new overall record for giving, and the Class of 1956 set a record for percent participation.

Throughout the weekend, alumni were offered tours of the Nasher Museum of Art and other new campus buildings, as well as old favorites like Duke Forest and the Duke Primate Center; treated to a PRISM concert in Baldwin Auditorium; and invited to take in lectures ranging from "Ethics in the Workplace," with John Hawkins, a business-ethics consultant at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, to "A New Way of Tackling Global Health Problems: HIV Vaccine Research at Duke," with Barton Haynes, Frederic M. Hanes Professor of medicine and immunology. They heard from Sam Wells, the new dean of the Chapel, and Victor Dzau, chancellor for health affairs and president and CEO of the Duke Health System.

Local and national media outlets were on campus covering the men's lacrosse team, and President Richard H. Brodhead set aside time to answer questions about the incident from concerned alumni.

Thunderstorms punctuated Brodhead's State of the University address in Page Auditorium on Saturday and led to the cancellation of the traditional procession to Cameron Indoor Stadium. But, despite continuing showers, thunder, and lightning, the evening's Big Dance went off without a hitch--with the sky clearing long enough for the annual display of manmade fireworks.