Every October heralds something more than just Halloween candy and costumes. High schools and universities around the country celebrate homecoming and class reunions, and that’s no different at Mount Saint Mary’s. This year’s virtual Homecoming Alumnae Weekend included class reunions, thought-provoking lectures, a celebration of Founders Day and the Mount’s first virtual 5K race. A total of 280 alums from the class of ’51 to the present registered for one or more of the events hosted by the MSMU Alumnae Association.
The tradition of inducting the 50-year reunion class into the Golden Graduate Society continued, with the Class of 1970 enjoying an afternoon tea with President Ann McElaney-Johnson. The class received a special reunion gift box with a scarf, fair trade tea and a copy of “That All May Be One,” published by the Association of Colleges of Sisters of St. Joseph.
And of course, there were class reunions featuring classes with years ending in 0 or 5, including the class of 2020, which normally wouldn’t have an official reunion for five years. “We wanted to welcome the Class of 2020 into the MSMU Alumnae Association with this special honor,” said Tom Arteaga, director of alumnae relations. “They have experienced a lot, and we didn’t want to wait five years before we had the opportunity to celebrate this class.”
Each reunion class was treated to a slideshow of their time at the Mount, taken from both yearbook photos and pictures submitted by alums, and there were many “ooh” and “aahs” and laughter throughout the playing of the slideshow followed by many minutes of the sharing of memories related to what they had seen. “Remember when” quickly became the evening’s most popular phrase.
There were some benefits to being virtual. Since no one had to travel, participants from 22 states attended various parts of the weekend. “I have been to a couple of reunions and I would never get this up close and personal with this many classmates,” says Mary Lillig Koenig ’70, a new member of the Golden Graduate Society. “I very much enjoyed hearing from my friends, each and every one of them. This just doesn’t happen when everyone is seated at different tables.”
“It was really great to be able to participate virtually,” says Joanne Kennedy ’90, “since I am not sure I would have come in person all the way from New York City even if it wasn't for COVID! I am really impressed with the way the Mount continues to be on the leading edge of women's education, and I appreciate all the amazing experiences I had there — not to mention the most excellent people I met!”
Kennedy invited her friend, Jeanne Yugar ’91, to attend the reunion for the class of ’90 because Yugar had many friends from that year. “I think this virtual zoom option is one to keep for the future for alums who are unable to travel but would like to experience some of the benefits of the reunion,” says Yugar. “I loved my time at the Mount and it does not seem that it was almost 20 years ago.”
Just before attendees joined their reunion classmates, they were welcomed by President Ann McElaney-Johnson, who gave them updates from the Mount community and expressed appreciation for the amount raised in the year-long campaign for contributions by members of reunion classes. This year’s campaign raised $448,224 from 235 donors. The campaign for the classes ending in 1 and 6 is now underway and can be accessed on the alum website.
Alums enjoyed making the Mount-inspired cocktails and raised a glass to each other in a toast to their class. Several reunion attendees discussed plans to attend homecoming and reunion during the 100th anniversary of the University’s founding in 2025. It’s not too early to put the event in your calendar’s “future dates” section! As for next year, Alumnae Weekend will be held October 16-17.
The 2020 weekend will be remembered for its multitude of virtual events, class reunions and the countless times someone said, “You’re still on mute.”