Over the last ten days, Marta and I have had the pleasure of spending time with members of a “baker’s dozen” of Yale College classes. From the Class of 1951, marking the milestone of sixty-five years (not to mention the senior alumni—as far back as the Class of 1938 this year!—who are invited annually), to the Class of 2011, gathering for their very first reunion celebration, all around us we saw smiling faces of alumni and their families eager to reconnect with classmates—and with campus.
It’s sometimes hard for me to believe that this year is such a big Yale anniversary of my own—three decades since I earned my Ph.D. in psychology and joined the faculty—or that the alumni who attended their five-year reunion this past weekend matriculated at Yale when I was dean of the college … or that the graduates who returned to campus this year have known the university under the leadership of eight of my predecessors in the presidency! The reunion weekends have a way of both highlighting and slowing the passage of time.
This year, the two weekends also shattered previous records for total reunion attendance, a fitting capstone to a year in which Yalies have come together in unprecedented numbers to work toward making our university stronger. After all, at the root of the word reunion is the Latin for “one”—a reminder that this community of unique, diverse, and talented individuals is, in the end, one Yale.