Williams College Alumni Reunion 2014
Over two years ago our daughter Leila Jere asked us to reserve the first weeks in June, 2014. She was considering starting
a long apprenticeship to serve as president of the Williams College Society of Alumni and wanted us to be there when/if.
It reminded me of when she phoned to tell us that she was named Head Girl at Wispers School. We had little idea of what
it meant … definitely an honor, but … We spent a week in Williamstown, wandered around the campus, attended meetings
and sampled many local draft beers. We learned a lot about the importance of alumni associations and philanthropy for
for independent colleges. Thanks to the Williams College Alumni Relations Office for their hospitality and tourist advice.
These are pictures that we took during the week. Lots more official photos http://alumni.williams.edu/reunion-2014-recap/
Williams College was established in 1793. The oldest building is West College.
The 192nd annual reunion for Williams College Alumni took place June 12 – 15. The Society of Alumni was established on
September 5, 1821, during a campus crisis, with the aim to ensure the college would not close and to raise enough money
to ensure its future survival. It is the oldest continuous alumni association in the world and nearly 60% of all alumni
contribute to the annual fund. Endowment and gifts cover 60% of the cost for each student, and allow Williams to select
the best applicants each year, about 17% of all applications, and guarantee financial support if there is demonstrated need.
In 2014 Williams College was ranked 1st of the 266 liberal arts colleges in the US (US News & World Report).
This year around 1600 persons attended the reunion. They graduated a multiple of 5 years before 2014. This was
the first reunion for the Class of 2009, and the 50th reunion for the Class of 1964. The college offered dorm rooms,
and each class had its own home area. This campus map show where the different reunion years were accommodated.
Registration was done at the alumni building. This picture was taken the day before.
The buildings where people stayed were clearly marked. This is Dodd Annex for the classes celebrating a 50+ reunion.
The area for the all-campus picnic after the annual meeting. Paresky Center, the student union building is on the left.
One of many tents for dinner and party. This tent was probably for the Class of 1999. Wind and rain removed many signs.
Most people come to meet friends and party from Friday evening, but the big day is Saturday. It starts with a parade of all
alumni with their families. Everyone joins the parade, which starts at 09.30, provided they wake up after Friday’s activities.
The parade comes down North Street, turns on Main Street and passes the President’s House,
where he stands with the alumni association president, incoming president, and the incoming
vice president. They are almost no other observers since everyone else takes part in the parade.
Review from the front of the President’s House: Alumni President Dennis O’Shea, Williams College President Adam Falk, Incoming Alumni
President Leila Jere and Incoming Alumni Vice President Jordan Hampton. A member of the Class 64 breaks ranks for a photo opportunity.
The reunion is an excellent opportunity to meet former classmates and teachers. It is a great event for the entire family.
Many families with children.
Alumni celebrating 50+ anniversaries were offered a ride from Dodd Annex. There was one participant from the Class of 1941.
The Williams mascot, a purple cow. The school colors are purple and gold.
Williams Reunion Jazz Band played during the annual alumni meeting and in the evenings at the Williams Inn.
The Congregational Church. Later a memorial service for deceased classmates was held at Thompson Chapel, the next church down the road.
Ephraim Williams, founder of the college, caught in the traffic jam as the parade turns onto Spring Street.
Spring Street, Williamstown. People in orange shirts and backpacks are reunion rangers, current students
who stay on campus after the end of the academic year. They were always around to help and lead tours.
The Annual Meeting of the Alumni Association was held at 10.30 in the Chandler Gym.
The 50+ reunion classes were led in by a bagpipe band.
Alumni President Dennis O’Shea opened the 192nd Annual Alumni Meeting and handed out awards
before the alumni and college administration. Dennis was the 144th President of the Alumni Association.
Twelve awards were handed out, for example Class Raising Largest Dollar Amount or Post-50th Class with Highest Performance
Factor. On stage are representatives for the Class of 2009 receiving the award for Classes One to Ten Years out with Highest Rate of
Participation, over 80%. There were 253 attending, although only about 20 sitting in their section in the gym. Most had not got up yet.
Handing out the Alumni Fund Chair Award, awarded to an alumni for extraordinary Alumni Fund Lifetime Service.
Inscription on the award cups with the different year’s class winners.
Following the alumni meeting classes celebrating their 50 or 50+ reunion were invited to the Joseph’s Coat Luncheon.
The college began to accept woman students in 1970, but alumni wives are as active and supportive as their husbands.
Alumni Association President Leila Jere awarding the Joseph’s Coat to Hugh Germanetti, Class of
1954, for his outstanding devotion to the college, including cycling all the way from Texas to his 50th
Reunion. The coat is the supposed to be the loudest, flashiest coat of many colors available. An earlier
coat winner, in the center with his back to us, commented that there are not many places you can wear it.
The college has many beautiful buildings, many of which are new or renovated. This is the Center for Theater and Dance.
Inside the Center for Theater and Dance.
The Paresky Center, with a restaurant, snack bar and the college post office.
The Morgan Building, dormitories, on the corner of Main and Spring Streets.
The Science Center and the new Schow Library that links the different science buildings.
Williams College Museum of Art. Commissioned sculpture and landscape work by Louise Bourgeois. At night the eyes glow blue.
The Alumni Relations Office is in Mears House on Park Street.
Every zebra crossing in town has this text. When you cross the street, stop, look and wave. At first it was a
mystery, but we saw that anyone crossing a street in front of a car always gave a friendly wave to the driver.
The college has invested large amounts in new buildings and renovations. Old Stetson Hall is
attached to new Sawyer Library. The building was opened to visitors during Reunion Week.
Part of the old building that has been remodeled and is now linked to the new library.
There is a very good visual contact with the outside surroundings.
One of three levels for book storage. The college has around 600,000 books in its
library, in addition to all new IT systems that students can use for their research.
The library has a section with very old books, a museum part as seen here, and a laboratory for book conservation.
A side view of the new library addition, with the red brick wall of Stetson Hall at the left edge.
US$ 23 million is invested to reconstruct Weston Field.
On a guided tour. This is a new team support building with changing rooms, offices for coaches and a large multipurpose room.
One of two fields, with the team support building to the right, the second field to the right behind, and a re-cycled grandstand
in the far back. This is the third home for the grandstand on campus. The two fields with the team support building between
will be used for field hockey, football, men’s and women’s lacrosse, and men’s and women’s track. Other sports will continue
on their home grounds around the campus. A good part of the funds were raised through an active campaign among alumni.
Spring Street, the main part of the town, with a very large Williams Shop.
A bicycle tire pump and repair stand at the bottom of Spring Street, painted in Williams’s traditional colors.
Spring Street looking towards Main street. Barbara Prey is a graduate of Williams, and serves as art expert on national boards.
One of the more prominent watering holes in Williamstown, the Purple Pub. When this picture was taken, it was too early and too cold.
Williams has a very good international reputation, and around eight percent of students come from other countries.
The Taconic Golf Club is considered as one of the best in the USA. It borders and shares a parking lot with Weston Field.
There are many old traditional wood buildings in Williamstown like this one on the corner of Latham and Water Streets..
Elm Tree House on Mount Hope. The building is used on special occasions such as alumni board meetings and receptions.