Alumni Pins: A Moment of Commemoration Became Tradition

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The journey from student to alumna or alumnus is quick. While it takes one to four years to graduate, the moment from when you are a student to when you are not happens in seconds. After the whirlwind of ceremonies, awards, recognitions, finals, and last moments together, students depart campus as alumni. Their two familiar physical signifiers of this achievement are the hard-earned diploma and an alumni pin. If the diploma represents their effort and passion, the pin itself represents their lasting connection to our community.

Alumna Katie George captures a moment with her alumni pin.
Alumna Katie George ’17 shares the moment she received her alumni pin.

Honoring a class

Traditionally, the pin is shared by the Alumni Office at New Hampton School. Each year, the Head of School along with the alumni relations and advancement team host this special event to honor the class’s achievement and their bond.

Compared to our school’s two-hundred-year history, the alumni pin is relatively new. To help share the history, we checked in with Former Director of Alumni & Parent Relations Cindy Buck. She explains that the suggestion to add the pin came in the mid-90s from an alumna interning in the English department. Buck shares, “she felt having something symbolic like the pin would help instill school pride and spirit, as well as offering a meaningful keepsake for each graduating class.” Simple and packed with meaning, soon, the pin emblazoned with the school seal came to life. Buck notes it became an annual tradition to distribute the pin during Senior Brunch, held the day before Commencement in Alumni Hall at Smith House.

After receiving the pins, the graduates wear them proudly as part of their graduation attire. It represents a common bond for their class as they begin their lives as alumni, whether worn discreetly on their clothes or boldly on their gowns and sashes.

Graduates wear their pins on Commencement Day.

Becoming alumni

This year, with the adjustment to a virtual Commencement, the pin will still have its moment even through distance. Director of Alumni Relations Katie Wardrop and Young Alumni Relations Coordinator Alison Kirk ’90 made arrangements for the pins to be delivered to the graduates in June. Wardrop shares, “As a beloved tradition, we want to welcome the Class of 2020 in kinship with our alumni network, which is over 7,000 members strong. During their time at New Hampton School, they’ve met and learned from alumni through programs like Alumni in Residence, visitors to their classes, speakers and panelists, and at events like the Powder Keg, however, now they are one of them. This is a moment to commemorate. We want to take every step to help them remain connected both to their school and the alumni body in the years ahead.”

Passing on a tradition

As the pin started many years after the founding of our school, the pin itself is something not yet common to all alumni. To help bridge the difference, each year during Reunion Weekend, the 50th Reunion Class members receive the alumni pin. For them, the pin may symbolize reconnecting to their alma mater, to their classmates, and to alumni since their own graduation. So while this year may be different for our graduating class, we look forward to welcoming the Class of 2020, celebrating all of their achievements, and following their steps forward into their new lives as graduates of New Hampton School.

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