A Look Ahead into a Virtual Alumni Weekend

For the safety of the students, alumni, and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, Lawrenceville is hosting this year's Alumni Weekend virtually starting on Wednesday, April 29, and ending on Sunday, May 2.

For the safety of the students, alumni, and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, Lawrenceville is hosting this year's Alumni Weekend virtually starting on Wednesday, April 29, and ending on Sunday, May 2.

To start off Alumni Weekend, all members of the Lawrenceville community, including alumni and parents, were invited to an Earth Week chat this past Wednesday hosted by Tia Nelson, the Director for Climate Programs for the Outrider Foundation and the daughter of Earth Day founder, Gaylord Nelson. Many members of the school community joined Tia Nelson in celebrating the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.

Alumni also have the chance to participate in a Body By Derrick (BBD) workout on Thursday, April 30, hosted by Director of Dance Derrick Wilder.

The majority of the virtual events will take place this Friday, beginning with a campus update at 4:00 PM by Head Master Stephen Murray H'54 '55 '65 '16 P'16 '21. Alumni will then have the chance to "go back to class" and attend a multitude of webinars hosted by faculty members on Zoom. There will be three different online classes, including "The Times They Are a-Changin': Dylan's Nobel Prize in Literature" with English Master Pier Kooistra H'14 P'20, "Abraham Lincoln and the Election of 1864" with History and Economics Master Regan Kerney H'49 '95 '98 '99 '03 '11, and "Is Biology Destiny? The Relationship Between our Genes and the Environment" with Chair of the Science Department Ilana Saxe.

Reflecting on the importance of these classes, Kooistra said, "When they come back to their beloved alma mater, one of the things they want to experience again is the academic dimension...interestingly, they really want to go back to school."

While the number of events has been cut down, Kooistra remains positive for the upcoming weekend. "Generally, I don't anticipate problems...because our alumni are such warm, bright, curious and enterprising people, and they tend to be so generously disposed to others. No matter what happens in one of these Alumni Weekend get-togethers, great things will still happen," said Kooistra.

Finally, alumni will join members of their class in a "Virtual Class Happy Hour" to celebrate their reunion. "They will get a chance to go around the class and tell everybody what they've been doing," explained Director of Alumni Relations John Gore Jr. H'61 '64. Reflecting on certain benefits to holding an online Alumni Weekend, Gore said, "Actually, one of the fun parts about this is people will have an opportunity to show somebody their pet dog, or cat, or introduce somebody to their children online, things that they wouldn't have done if they had gone to alumni weekend...So there's some upsides to this as well."

Looking ahead to future Alumni Weekends, Gore said, "We've asked them to come back next spring in May to join with the class that ends with 1s and 6s. I'm often asked, as the Alumni Director, 'I'd like to come back to campus and I wish the neighboring classes would be there too, so I can see my friends that are a year above me, or below me'...So giving them a chance to have a reunion together [has] been an upside of this."

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