As I write this letter, planning for Reunion ’06 is well underway. Lately I have given a great deal of thought to the meaning and value of reunions, since I deal with reunions as both a volunteer and a professional. The Oxford American College Dictionary (Putnam, 2001) provides three definitions of “reunion.” The one I like best, and the one I certainly believe characterizes Sage is: “...the act or process of being brought together again as a unified whole.”
Last September, as has become custom over the last seven or eight years, our Association Board of Directors met with Reunion class leaders—officers, correspondents, class agents—during Leadership Day, to kick off Reunion planning. Now details are falling into place, “save the date” cards, newsletters and class surveys are in the hands of the classes who will be celebrating in June, this year the “1s” and the “6s.”
If only all of you could have been with us during Leadership Day, it is so much fun. For me, the stories, the memories are the best part of the day. We begin by asking everyone to introduce herself, tell briefly about her current life, and to include a memory or story about her class, her time at Sage, or a past Reunion experience. The stories that pour forth are wonderful. We learn about the ordinary and extraordinary things Russell Sage women are doing. And we remember. Usually the first few people are not sure what to say; then, as we listen to each other memories are jogged and the room is filled with women who span the decades, and yet know they have shared an experience critical to their lives, that we are all, indeed, part of a “unified whole,” the whole that is Russell Sage College alumnae.
If you are a “1” or a “6” and Reunion 2006 is your celebration, as you get your newsletters and invitations, please remember your own stories and what fun it is to tell them again, how much strength and joy can be found in telling them out loud and hearing others tell their stories. As you remember, decide to come to Reunion, even if you have never done so before.
If your class reunion is not this year, but next year, or a few years away, I ask the same of you. Remember your stories and decide now to share them once again with other Russell Sage alumnae at your next Reunion.
During Leadership Day we also have an opportunity to hear about what is happening at Russell Sage and The Sage Colleges now. This year, Dean Sharon Robinson told us about a new tradition that has begun, the Matriculation Book. Each incoming student will sign her name in the book, according to class year. And, to ensure that this book will link all the generations of Sage students together, one of our younger Board members, Andrea Laurencell ’05, spent the summer entering the names of all the past graduates of Russell Sage. So, each of us is part of the new tradition. Perhaps we should add to it by having a Reunion Book, that each of us signs as we come back for our own class reunions, showing that we are indeed, once again, “part of a unified whole.”
Enjoy the rest of winter and may a joyful spring come early. I look forward to seeing and hearing many more stories of Sage at Reunion 2006, June 2,3,4!
Mary Ann Oppenheimer