Commencement weekend is also reunion weekend, and in past years many classes got together in country clubs and hotels all around Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts. Some classes visited campus only to march down the hill during the Commencement ceremony itself. “Two years ago, there was one class that never came to campus for a single event,” says Todd Andrews ’83, vice president for alumni relations. “It was our goal this year to end these kinds of situations and welcome everyone back to campus.”
So on Memorial Day weekend this year, for the first time in recent memory, all twelve reunions took place on the Brown campus. Forty-four tents were scattered about, and auditoriums usually used for lectures were transformed into cafeterias. Brown Dining Services, along with a few outside caterers, provided all the meals. “Going to reunion is about reconnecting not just with your friends, but with your institution,” Andrews says. “What better way to do that than being on campus?”
Andrews says the success of Brown’s new approach can be measured by the attendance numbers. Although ideal weather may have had something to with it, an all-time high of 16,000 people attended Campus Dance on Friday night, 3,500 more than last year. Alumni Field Day drew 7,000 people, another all-time high. “We’re seeing exponential growth in people coming back to reunions,” Andrews says. —L. G.