Simmons Welcomes Alumnae/i for Reunion 2018
Alumnae/i from classes ending in "3" and "8" returned to campus for a weekend of reuniting, reconnecting and reminiscing.
From May 31 to June 3, 272 alumnae/i from classes ending in "3" and "8" returned to campus for Reunion, a weekend of reconnecting with classmates, exploring Boston, and anticipating the future of Simmons. Attendees and their guests participated in a variety of events on and off campus including group tours, mock classes, and class-specific meetings and dinners.
Alumni explored both new and familiar sites throughout Boston. They reacquainted themselves with the Fenway area through tours of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and Fenway Park. Evening activities comprised of a sunset Duck Boat tour of the city as well as a Boston Pops performance of the Broadway hit, On the Town at Symphony Hall.
Saturday evening, alumni socialized and reminisced with members of their respective classes in a series of dinners held all over campus and Boston. Our recent alumni gathered at Bleacher Bar in Fenway for the annual GOLD (Graduates of the Last Decade) party.
Becoming a student again
Alumni had the opportunity to see Simmons from the perspective of current students with walking tours of the academic and resident campuses. On Saturday morning, they revisited the classroom for two Boston course sessions taught by Professor Lena Zuckerwise and Professor John Lowe. Alumni familiarized themselves with Simmons PLAN, the updated general education curriculum, and the new university structure, which will become effective in Fall 2018.
Later in the afternoon, Susan Antonelli, Dean of Students, and Professor Gary Bailey, MSW, ACSW facilitated an interactive discussion on the history of activism at Simmons and invited alumni to share their insight and questions on social change and leadership.
Envisioning the future of Simmons
President Helen Drinan '75MS, '78MBA presented her State of the College remarks on the naming of Simmons University and other campus news, establishing the vision of what's to come.
Friday morning, Judy Beal, dean of the new College of Natural, Behavioral, and Health Sciences, moderated a panel discussion on women in STEM and how Simmons is set to prepare future generations of engineers, scientists and mathematicians to excel in male-dominated fields. The panelists included members of the Simmons community from various STEM backgrounds: Mathematics Professor Donna Beers; Chemistry Professor Jenna Canfield; Connie Lewis '63, Analyst with the Mitre Corporation; and Kimberlee Hixon '17, Novartis Fellow.
A highlight of Saturday was a screening of the tribute video of the late Gwen Ifill ‘77, ‘92HD. Attendees gathered to watch the tribute in the Main College Building, which will house the Gwen Ifill College of Media, Arts, and Humanities wing, scheduled to open in Fall 2018. Following the viewing, Judy Phair King ’68, Terri Messer ’68, and current communications student Nasyria Taylor ’19, led a discussion on the significance of naming the new College after Ifill.
"Gwen Ifill has left a legacy for students that look like her to follow her lead and be unapologetically who they are," said Taylor. She hopes the College's name will remind its future students of Ifill's impact on the communications field. Fiftieth Reunion classmates King and Messer also shared remarks of pride in the naming and admiration of Ifill as a trailblazing journalist.
Saturday's program culminated with the Alumnae Recognition Luncheon in the Linda K. Paresky Center to acknowledge the philanthropic and volunteer support of our alumnae/i community. This year's Reunion classes raised over $1.1 million in support of the Simmons Fund and scholarships. Luncheon attendees then warmly welcomed the Class of 1968 into the Half-Century Club during the traditional Daisy Chain.
The weekend concluded with a heartfelt Alumnae/i Awards Ceremony in Alumnae Hall. Exceptional alumnae nominated by their peers were presented awards in recognition of their service to Simmons and other causes. Lenore Epstein Blum '63 received the Alumnae Lifetime Achievement Award for her extensive work in getting more women and girls in math and science fields. The following recipients were also recognized:
Community Service Award: Nicole Bowen Hardy '91
Alumnae/i Service Award: Janet Trafton Tobin '67 and Nancy Sandler Gavrin '58
Recent Alumnae/i Achievement Award: Melissa Gersin '10
Thank you to all our attendees for celebrating the cherished memories made at Simmons!
You can view our Reunion 2018 photo album on Flickr.