Spring Reunion and MiniU events thrill participants
Participants at Queen’s first Spring Reunion and second-annual MiniU applauded the weekend’s celebration of all the university has to offer – from reminiscing with old friends to stress-free learning with first-class researchers.
"I could never attend the reunion in the fall," remarked Helen Menbus (Arts ’74) as she strolled down University Avenue with her classmates. "It's great that it’s in the summer. This is the first time in 35 years I've been able to come.”
On Saturday morning, members of Arts’49 gathered to plant a tree to honour former Principal R.C. Wallace. The class had 352 students, and many of them were veterans, who completed their degree after military service in WWII.
“This is a great day for us, to be able to come back after 60 years,” said George Toller. “The memories just flood through us all and we’re all so happy to be able to do this today in memory of Dr. Wallace,”
Re-convocation provided alumni an opportunity to relive the ceremony associated with attaining their Queen’s degree, or, in the case of both the oldest and the youngest participants, of experiencing it for the first time.
At 99 years old, Graham Thomson (Non-alumnus’34), received a Certificate of Attendance from the university during the ceremony. The certificate recognizes a university career cut short – in Mr. Thomson’s case – by a need to contribute to the family business during The Great Depression. Mr. Thomson went on to a very successful real estate and insurance sales career in Kingston.
Mallory Hendry (Artsci’08), the youngest member of the re-convocated Class of 2009, missed convocation when she graduated from Queen’s. But she didn’t need to wait half a lifetime to set things right.
“It felt really good,” she said proudly. “Grant Hall is such a symbol of what it means to be at Queen’s. I actually liked it better to see all the other generations; it really put it in perspective. They were talking about the Great Depression. It makes you think – it is such a privilege to go to such a great Canadian institution, with so much history.”
Bob Black (Arts’59) delighted in the enthusiasm and interest of student volunteers who helped organize the weekend.
“There was more interaction with young people and volunteers than at fall reunions,” he said. “The students were really into what they were doing and really keen.”
Following class photos, Mr. Black was looking forward to attending MiniU sessions throughout the afternoon.
MiniU provides a learning experience that had some participants returning for the second time.
"I was at MiniU last year and liked it so much I brought my daughter with me this year,” says (Gail Williams, Arts’83/MPA'84.) “It was such a great weekend. I went out of my way to visit places and buildings I didn't know about when I was a student, and I learned something new. To me that's what the weekend was all about. All the speakers are so passionate and enthusiastic."
“MiniU was great again!” says Brian Showler (Artsci’81). He attended the weekend with his daughter Melissa, a member of the Class of 2011 who served as a student volunteer for the weekend. “Both of us enjoyed our time there. It gives us some father-daughter time as well as being a fun learning experience.”
Spring Reunion/MiniU weekend will be held again next spring from May 28 – 30.
For detailed coverage of Spring Reunion and MiniU weekend 2009, see the June 15 issue of the Queen’s Gazette.