Emory Report
My 30, 2006
Volume 58, Number 31


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May 30 , 2006
Emory Weekend salutes alumni young and old

BY eric rangus

From Thursday to Monday, Oxford to Midtown and every corner of the University in between, Emory Weekend 2006 brought together the entire Emory community to send off the academic year—and the Class of 2006—in great style.

Emory Weekend is the Association of Emory Alumni’s (AEA) most comprehensive program of the year and involves coordination with schools and units from all over the University. It’s an ambitious undertaking (the schedule of events runs 10 pages), with a broad agenda, but with the work come rewards.

“This was our third Emory Weekend and the most successful one yet,” said Gloria Grevas, AEA assistant director of programming for Emory Weekend and reunions. “We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback so far. Not only were we able to reconnect alumni to the University, but I think we also instilled a lot of Emory pride in our new graduates.” Many more students attended Emory Weekend activities than in previous years, Grevas said, something AEA will encourage in the future.

Beginning on Thursday, May 11, with an Emeritus College award ceremony and a reception for Oxford College continuees, then running through Commencement on Monday, May 15, the Emory campus buzzed with activity.

The theme of Emory Weekend 2006, “The Eagle Has Landed,” came to the forefront on Saturday at the Block Party on McDonough Field. The Department of Athletics was another of AEA’s partners, and Emory Weekend was the venue for the campuswide debut of Emory’s new mascot, Swoop. (Emory’s old mascot is also named Swoop, but the 20-year-old bird has been showing his age and was in need of an update.)

With an estimated 1,800 attendees, including a raucous core of several hundred Guster fans (the event’s headlining band) packed together near the stage, the Block Party was the largest single event of Emory Weekend. The Friday night Soirée drew some 800 graduating seniors to the Emory Conference Center—many of them graduating students with their families—for a night of dancing.

Some of the smaller gatherings were no less enjoyable. The GALA (Gay and Lesbian Alumni) Blue Jean Brunch on Sunday was a friendly blend of alumni, students, staff and faculty; also on Sunday, the Classical Concert featured Emerson Professor of Piano William Ransom, several alumni performers and nearly 100 guests and was an artistic highlight; and President Jim Wagner was all over campus: hosting an open house at Lullwater, meeting with guests at a Town Hall meeting, toasting the Class of 2006 at the Soirée and making other appearances.

Several classes from across the University held reunions, chief among them the Class of 1956, many members of which were inducted into Corpus Cordis Aureum. Members of the 1996 reunion class numbered about 100 strong and, following their formal event in the Carlos Museum, adjourned to Midtown Atlanta where assorted reunion activities continued on into Sunday morning.

New events included a reception for the Alumni Presidents Club, an organization of past presidents of alumni organizations of Emory’s various schools. The club’s first meeting, a standing-room-only affair at the Houston Mill House on Thursday, preceded the Candlelight Crossover. More than 800 graduating seniors (double the number from the initial event three years ago) carried candles over the Houston Mill Road bridge, symbolizing their transition to alumni status.

Sunday’s Legacy Reception was not a new event, but it did introduce a new element. For the first time, alumni presented graduating family members with specially designed medals. This was rarely accomplished without emotion and proved to be one of the highlights of the entire weekend.

“We are thrilled by the success of Emory Weekend 2006,” said Allison Dykes, vice president for alumni relations. “It is wonderful to see the many faces of the Emory community—alumni, students, parents—all celebrating together. This University is such a diverse place with a remarkable variety of personalities, but that makes for a wonderful blend, and I think we saw that over Emory Weekend.”

For the first time this summer, a full review of Emory Weekend 2006 complete with photos from many of the events will be posted to the Association of Emory Alumni’s website at www.alumni.emory.edu.