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Middlebury alumni enjoy the fireworks on Saturday evening during Reunion.

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Middlebury Alumni Return for Reunion

June 11, 2018

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – More than 2,100 alumni and their family members returned to campus June 8-10 to reconnect with classmates, see what’s new on campus, and share memories of their Middlebury College experiences.

President Laurie L. Patton marched with the procession of classes during the traditional alumni parade to Mead Chapel for Reunion Convocation. Inside the chapel, Patton escorted the oldest attending alumni—Stuart Walker and Dumont Rush, of the class of 1943— down the aisle and to their seats in the front. Walker and Rush were celebrating their 75th Middlebury reunion.

“It’s such a delight to be among you all, walking into the Chapel together to the sound of rapping canes,” said Patton to the alumni gathering. “This is my third opportunity to celebrate a Reunion at Middlebury, and the thrill of walking up to Mead, and down this aisle, is unlike any other alumni experience I’ve had. Welcome back, and welcome home to Middlebury!”

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Robert Sideli ’77, past president of the Middlebury Alumni Association Board, and Meg Storey Groves ’85, associate vice president for Alumni and Parent Programs presented five awards during the convocation. First was Corey Reich, a member of the Class of 2008, who received the Young Alumni Achievement Award. While a student at Middlebury, Reich was diagnosed with ALS and advised by his doctors to not return to school. Reich defied that advice and graduated in 2008 with honors. In the years since graduating, he became an advocate and highly successful fundraiser for those with the disease. Under the banner of “Corey’s Crusade,” he has raised $8 million for the cause.

Members of the Class of 1968, celebrating their 50th reunion, arrive at Mead Chapel for Convocation.

Frank Pallone, a member of the Class of 1973, was one of two recipients of the Alumni Achievement Awards. Pallone, who majored in history and French, was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, representing New Jersey, in 1988 and has served their ever since. During his time in Congress, Pallone has made healthcare access and environmental issues his hallmark issues.

Charlotte Sibley, of the Class of 1968, received the second Alumni Achievement Award. Sibley, who majored in French and German at Middlebury, accepted what was for her an unlikely internship on Wall Street the summer before her senior year, and learned how in-demand her language-speaking skills were in the business world. She ended up pursuing a career in the pharmaceutical industry, retiring as senior vice president of leadership development at Shire Pharmaceuticals.

President Laurie Patton escorts two members of the Class of 1943, Dumont Rush, left, and Stuart Walker to Reunion Convocation at Mead Chapel. Rush and Walker were celebrating their 75th Middlebury reunion.

Conrad Ambrette, a member of the Class of 1968, and Mary Farley, a member of the Class of 1973, received the Alumni Plaque, which is awarded annually in recognition of service to the College.

President Patton also received a surprise honor during Convocation. The Class of 1983 "adopted"  Patton into their class at the end of the reading of their class history during Convocation. Patton, a 1983 graduate of Harvard University, was surprised and thrilled to become an honorary member of the class.

Members of the Class of 2013 gather outside of Mead Chapel for a photo during Reunion.

In a new event for this year’s reunion President Patton moderated a panel titled “The Middlebury Experience: What Endures and How It Evolves,” that included alumni from five decades, including Magna Leffler Dodge ’68, Ted Truscott ’83, Leilani Brown ’93, Tyler Lohman ’08, and Barbara Ofosu-Somuah ’13, who reflected on some of the forces that shaped their experiences as undergraduates.

The 50th reunion class achieved a 68 percent participation rate in gifts to the College, raising more than $12.8 million, including documented bequest intentions. The 25th reunion saw a 40 percent participation rate and raised more than $2 million in gifts to Middlebury.

Alumni families enjoyed picture-perfect spring weather during Reunion weekend.

    The weekend’s events also included numerous class gatherings, tours, a veterans’ gathering, college admissions workshop, hikes and fun runs, readings, open houses, and class photos. There also were musical performances, yoga, an ice-cream social, golf tournament, lectures, and panel discussions.

    The highlight of the weekend, as always, was the reunion dinner, organized by class, under the tents behind the Mahaney Center for the Arts, followed by fireworks and dancing, with music provided by local favorite The Grift.

    Photos by Todd Balfour and Jennifer Kiewit.