As our 3s and 8s arrived on campus to celebrate their alma mater, this year's Reunion Weekend claimed the honor of the largest reunion ever at Western Reserve Academy! The annual event welcomed back the classes of 1943 for their 75th reunion all the way to the class of 2013 for its 5th year. Attendees slept in the dorms, gathered to dine in Ellsworth Hall and participated in a weekend of fun under the festive tents across the lawn's wide sweep. With a total of 412 people in attendance, Reunion was bigger and better than ever.
Assistant Head of School for Advancement Mark LaFontaine said, "Welcoming back our alumni is an honor for the school. I believe this year's attendees felt confident that the school is not only preserving its past as represented by Seymour Hall, but also embracing the future, as evidenced by our world-class Wang Innovation Center. Overall, there is so much to be proud of at Reserve and we were thrilled to share it with our alumni, as we always are."
Starting with the annual Scholarship Golf Classic on Friday, June 8, Reunion Weekend officially began. Congratulations to the winners who include: Simon Demion '84, Conal Demion '18, Bill DeSantis, and David Ducas '84.
A highlight of the weekend was The Class of 1968, celebrating its 50th Reunion. Always a memorable class (Volkswagens in Seymour anyone?) the class of 1968 enjoyed special events like a throwback Friday lunch. The lunch, inspired by the meals served 50 years ago by Chef Spinney during their time at WRA, included BLT's, corn fritters, and a special dessert called Spinney-whip.
Ellsworth Hall, which was busy with registration all day, stayed lively for the evening's Welcome Back Reception and All Class Dinner. The Graduates enjoyed delicious food and buoyant company as they caught up and as basketball fans watched the NBA Finals game just down the hall. It is fair to say the food and company were better than the game's outcome.
The Annual Señor Fun Run and Memorial 5k took place the next morning for an energetic kickoff to Saturday's events, while other Reunion-goers participated in the Quad Talk to enjoy a sneak peek of the various projects transforming the school including Seymour Hall, President's House and the Wang Innovation Center. Seymour will reopen in August, welcoming students for a second century. The weekend's tour offered a sneak peak.
Also on Saturday, the WRA Today Chapel Program recognized the esteemed Ellsworth Award Recipient, Ambassador John D. Ong. When accepting his award, Ambassador Ong delivered moving sentiments, saying, "Reserve is a small school, and people love it. The products of Western Reserve Academy are the young men and women who walk out of our gates generation after generation well prepared to meet the challenges of higher education and, more importantly, deal with their wider role in the world that lies beyond college. These are people who will make a difference in the lives of everyone around them. There is no higher calling than this." View the WRA Today program here.
Congratulations to Ambassador Ong and the following WRA Alumni who were also honored with very special awards:
- Alumni Association Award Recipients -- Dr. Philip "King" MacBride '50 and Mr. Peter D. Hellman '68
- Waring Prize Recipient -- Mr. Lee D. Williams '79
- Morley Medal Recipient -- Dr. George T. Spencer -Green '65
Following the awards ceremony, alumni and their families enjoyed the Celebrate Reserve Family Picnic as they mingled together enjoying the day with friends, great food and music by Rubber City Retreads. Just beyond the picnic tent, graduates of all classes came together for an alumni soccer game under the afternoon sun on the Varsity Field.
The Reunion Gala filled the evening with cocktail receptions, class photos and a delicious dinner. After dinner, everyone gathered to watch the beautiful fireworks before the rain storm moved in, like clockwork. With live music from The Bottom Line Band filling the air, no one seemed to notice the weather, and alumni filled the dance floor for hours.
As always, the farewell brunch in Ellsworth Hall wrapped up the weekend events. We thank all of those who returned to Reserve to celebrate wonderful company and memories across campus. We would also like to express our gratitude for all faculty and staff for their hard work and dedication that continues to make this annual weekend, one of the very best, a reality.