After 25 years as a professional or volunteer in alumni relations, I still get weepy when we sing the alma mater. It doesn’t matter what university or whether I’m participating live or watching on video, whether it’s the band or the orchestra, a chorus or a cappella: There’s something about large groups of people whose strongest bond is a deep affection for their university, all singing together, that gets to me. Especially when it’s during an event as steeped in tradition as the Alumni Parade, which I got to experience for the first time last month during Alumni Weekend.
I also get emotional when I see friends who met 10, 20, 50, 70 (!!!) years ago come back together and goof around like they’re 19 again – it’s as if they had never been apart. Observing those reconnections was the highlight of reunion for me, and based on the feedback we got from the 1,500+ alumni and friends who attended, reconnecting with old friends and classmates was the highlight for them as well.
On the other side of the college experience, we’re about to start welcoming our newest Lehigh family members via our nationwide Sendoffs.
This July and August, in addition to the 30 parties we do every year in more populous areas, we’re also working with some alumni volunteers in smaller areas to invite incoming students and their families for coffee or lunch. Regardless of the format, we believe it’s critical to connect alumni with future alumni and their families as soon as we can, to demonstrate to them that the journey they’re about to start won’t end in four years; rather, it’s a lifelong relationship – as you who care enough to be reading this well know!
Assistant Vice President, Alumni Engagement
P.S. Here’s a video of the alma mater from the Freshman Rally 2015…grabbing my tissues now! Also, don’t forget to save the date for the 2016 Freshman Rally on August 27.