Reunion Weekend 2023: Welcoming Home Alumni and Friends

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Last summer, on the heels of Reunion Weekend 2022, the planning for a whole new reunion began. Behind the scenes, the alumni office pondered what the weekend could look like—the new traditions to carry forward and moments of excitement from the Bicentennial to offer variety for alumni and friends in a “normal” celebration. The Class of 1973 began planning for their 50th Reunion with an eye toward togetherness and something. And, as the fall and winter seasons progressed, each class year ending in 3 and 8 began to check in with their alma mater; volunteers rallied their classmates on social media, through letters, and with numerous phone calls, rebuilding their connections as the schedule of the weekend took shape.

A fresh homecoming

This year’s Reunion was unique in many ways. Events were initially planned to kick off on Friday afternoon. Still, soon, requests came in for new events on the schedule—a formal dinner in honor of former faculty member Thomas Diehl, adding the Athletic Hall of Fame induction (formerly held once every two years during Homecoming), dedications, toasts, and other class-driven celebrations. Crafting the schedule made the event very personalized to the classes present. Whether people preferred a relaxed time while socializing or a more structured weekend with leisurely games, a class, or workshops, there indeed was something for everyone. 

The famed history tour from last year’s reunion returned, led by our New Hampton history experts Kent Bicknell ’65 and Jerrica Blackey P’19, and the annual summer Alumni Association meeting welcomed numerous alumni in for discussion before the State of the School address. Dr. Kim Duncan led a class on “Teaching Today’s Students,” while Karl Kimball ’74 and Steve Perry ’74 offered guidance in a workshop on estate planning. Alumni and guests were among the first to set foot in the Bicentennial Amphitheater—a new feature on campus constructed to honor all leadership donors of the ongoing Further Together Bicentennial Campaign. Following the campaign’s completion next year, donors’ names will be inscribed on bricks, interlocking together in the amphitheater to commemorate the support and strength of the New Hampton community.

Recognitions and meaningful moments

The four days of Reunion 2023 saw people returning to campus for many reasons. We were honored to recognize several individuals throughout the weekend’s programs for their service to the school, achievements, and continuing leadership.

Former faculty member Tom Diehl was honored on Thursday evening, celebrating his legacy as an educator at New Hampton School from 1965-1993. Joining Diehl included his children Emily ’87 and John ’87 and his granddaughter Elena. Featured speakers Karl Kimball ’74, Jeff Tulis ’68, Harrison Golden, and Phil Sawyer ’68 praised Diehl for creating deeply meaningful experiences for his students, his commitment to his role as an educator, and his love of community. The Class of 1968 established an endowment in Diehl’s honor in 2018, recognizing his impact as an inspiring teacher, coach, and advisor to students during his career at New Hampton School, with the goal of providing ongoing funding for new educational programs and scholarships for highly qualified students.

The Class of 1972, who celebrated their 50th Reunion gift last year, returned to the Class of 1972 Blueberry Hill Patio behind the newly renovated Lane Hall to officially dedicate the completed space. This beautiful vantage point on campus is significant to the class and knits together their historic moment with a gift that many generations of Huskies will enjoy. Students this past year have already discovered its sense of serenity for studying or relaxing in the Adirondack chairs.

The whole weekend brought together decades of New Hampton School community members, from Friday night’s casual dinner to Saturday evening’s reception honoring several community members—complete with dancing, fabulous music, food, and conversation. And also an important time of healing for those seeking a moment to remember lost classmates, friends, family, faculty, and heads of school. We were especially grateful to welcome those who attended the remembrance of former head of school Jeffrey Pratt Beedy, including his family, friends, colleagues, and alumni. The messages filled with warmth, humor, and inspiration, and the music that once again filled McEvoy Theater, were a welcoming experience in a bittersweet celebration of life.

Thank you to all of our volunteers, attendees, and the greater New Hampton School community; without you, this weekend wouldn’t be possible. We look forward to announcing next year’s reunion dates soon.

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