This past fall, as I celebrated my 55th reunion, I took time to reflect on how my relationship with W&M has transformed and strengthened over the years.
My first trip back to campus was for my 25th reunion. I worried that after so many years, it might be too late to reconnect. What happened was a delightful surprise — familiar faces, new faces, old friends, new friends, talking with classmates, catching up on their news, laughing at the memories.
I came back for more reunions and became part of planning committees, an excellent way to keep in touch with both W&M and my classmates. New friendships evolved. Different stages in life bring different ways of looking at life, and classmates whose paths hadn’t previously crossed with mine were interesting to get to know — and interested in getting to know me.
Membership in local alumni chapters (now called regional networks) kept me involved when I lived in other states and was a great way to meet alumni from other classes. I still visit with the folks I met in Florida and Oregon. And when I moved back to Williamsburg and worked at the Alumni House, I saw firsthand the hard work and planning that go on behind the scenes to create meaningful events for us and help keep us engaged with W&M.
Probably what most strengthens my relationship with W&M is being a part of the Olde Guarde Council, representing the Class of ’64 alongside representatives from other classes who have celebrated their 50th reunions. Getting to know alumni from different class years broadens my point of view of W&M. I realize friendships last a lifetime, renewed each time we gather together.
I think of the trees in the Wren Yard. When we graduated many of them weren’t there, but now they are huge. If they were trimmed, they would keep growing back over the next 50 years. They remind me of how our relationship with William & Mary grows over the years, changing but always alive.
It’s never too late to stop making new friends. Even if we are disconnected for a while, we can pick up where we left off and look at things in a new way. I encourage everyone to reconnect — via regional networks, social media, and even the good old-fashioned telephone! It’s never too late. Today is a good day to begin.