Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Celebrating Reunion at Carleton College

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of celebrating my 25th college reunion at Carleton College. Carleton has always done a terrific job of organizing reunion weekends. They bring back one class every five years to a reunion, so the class of 1986 was joined by the classes of 2006, 2001, 1991, 1981, 1976, 1971, etc. I think that people from the class of 1936 were present.

My reunion experience began when I received a call from a football teammate. I was buying an anniversary card when he called “out of the blue.” I almost didn’t pick up the call as I didn’t recognize the area code. Paul Wetherbee was calling. He wasn’t sure if I remembered him. Remember Paul? He, Paul Liimatta and I anchored the left side of Carleton’s defense for two years. The three of us listed weights and played hand ball together. I’ll never forget #89.

Because of a way-too-busy weekend I was only able to participate on Saturday, one of the three days. Unfortunately the alumni parade was thrown into disarray from a sudden thunderstorm. Most of us abandoned the parade and ran into the Chapel for a ceremony. The class of 1986 sat directly behind the speakers (See above picture). At the ceremony the 25th and 50th anniversary classes presented special financial gifts. The class of 1986 gave $414,000 and the class of 1961 gave 7.1 million. I was astounded at both figures.

I had the opportunity to hear new President Steven G. Poskanzer speak for the first time. I was impressed by his commitment to a Liberal Arts education and the story he shared about his daughter trying to decide on whether to attend Carleton. After her dad was selected as President, she took a trip to Carleton. She queried many of the students about how it would be for her to attend a college where her dad is President. One of the students told her, “no one really cares who the President is!” She is going to be a freshman at Carleton this fall.

One special highlight was attending the C-Club luncheon. At the luncheon five people were inducted into the Carleton athletic Hall of Fame. It was very moving to learn about these five athletes’ stories and to listen to the passion of the people who introduced each inductee.

I had the privilege of connecting with Coach Bob Sullivan—my football coach when I attended Carleton. He took me over to his house and gave me a plaque from my playing days. Just seeing Coach Sullivan was worth in itself the drive to Northfield. He is one of the most optimistic, positive, and hopeful people I’ve ever met. It’s a privilege for me just to spend time with him in a car.

Twenty-five years goes by too fast. It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was receiving my diploma on June 6, 1986. I’ll always be grateful that I attended Carleton College. Spending time with some of my classmates this past weekend was a gift that I regret only happens once every five years.

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