Our Bicentennial Reunion Weekend arrived at the end of five years of strategic dreaming, careful planning, and endless adjustments. The hours of our faculty, staff, and volunteers culminated into a spectacular schedule and grand Bicentennial Gala which lived up to its “once-in-a-lifetime” goal. One theme remained the same throughout the weekend: this was a true celebration of community spirit, our history, and the joy of being together again.
A homecoming at last
In 2020, Reunion was postponed, and in 2021, it was held virtually. While small events have taken place over these past few years on occasion, this year’s Reunion marked the first extensive homecoming for many of our alumni. Events dotted the schedule seemingly every half-hour, making the experience for each person quite unique and personalized. Whether people preferred a relaxed time while socializing or a more structured weekend with tours and classes, there truly was something for everyone. Small group dedications, gatherings, and celebrations enlivened the campus setting over the four-day weekend, marking moments to cherish and savor.
One such homecoming included our alumnae and alumni of the Class of 2020. This class departed campus in March of 2020—and while some believed they would be back in a matter of days or weeks, the reality became a loss of time together on campus for their senior spring. Head of School Joe Williams, Class Dean Nate Saler, families, faculty, and staff gathered with the Class of 2020 to dedicate their class bricks, find wisdom in each other’s words, re-graduate, and share their senior brunch together. With regalia including honor cords, sashes, and graduation caps, this class was able to close a chapter together at last.
Recognitions and meaningful moments
All told, more than 700 alumni, faculty, and friends came to celebrate during Reunion 2022. We were honored to recognize several individuals throughout the weekend’s programs for their service to the school, their achievements, and their continuing leadership.
The Class of 1970, 1971, and 1972 began their weekend with a celebratory dinner in the tent beside Kennedy Field. As is traditional for the 50th Reunion group, this time together provides an intimate venue to reconnect and share memories about their place in the school’s long history. And with three classes represented, the conversations extended a number of years in their history. The Class of 1972 also attended a ceremony hosted in honor of their 50th Reunion gift—the Class of 1972 Blueberry Hill Patio behind the newly renovated Lane Hall. This beautiful vantage point on campus is significant to the class and knits together their historic moment with a gift that will be enjoyed by many generations of Huskies.
The arts were ever-present in the schedule, with music rehearsals echoing across campus ahead of Saturday’s alumni music collaboration during lunch, and in Galletly Gallery as an exhibit of alumni artists welcomed curious attendees with looks at paintings, and photography, architectural designs, film clips, and much more. Some alumni glimpsed the backstage walls of McEvoy Theatre, while another joined a former ceramics teacher—Richard Sanderson—in the studio for a quiet moment honoring a mutually loved medium.
Whether alumni returned to visit one friend or the whole community, to hike Burleigh Mountain once more or to ease away their afternoon with deep conversations in the Adirondack chairs around campus, this time together was welcomed in a way we haven’t been able to experience in years.
Celebrating 200 years of history
The culminating event of the weekend, which is too small a phrase for such a gathering, was the Bicentennial Gala. Emceed by Gara Field ’87 and Derek Forrest ’99, and featuring myriad speakers— including Kent Bicknell ’65, Jerrica Blackey P’19, Diana Meservey P’13 (great-granddaughter of Atwood Bond Meservey, NHLI alumnus, former teacher, and Headmaster from 1862-1898), Elibet Moore Chase ’75, Jennifer Shackett Berry ’83, P’07, ’10, ’15, H’19, Trustee Peter Galletly ’73, Chairman Karl Kimball ’74, and Head of School Joe Williams P’22—the evening’s program was clear. We were gathered here to celebrate togetherness, to remember those who came before us and moved New Hampton forward, and to honor the spirit of what makes our community richly bonded across decades of history.
Hosted in Jacobson Arena, the space was transformed into an epic stage to honor our school and its people properly. From the program to the dance party to the fireworks, we are grateful to all who were able to join us and who helped make this night possible. We will remember this Reunion for many years to come.
Thank you to all of our volunteers, attendees, and the greater New Hampton School community; without you, this weekend wouldn’t be possible.