At a class reunion, inspired by the lives of others to keep learning, leading, challenging, innovating and contributing
Posted in , Jun 9, 2017
We are deep in the heart of college reunion season. I feel very fortunate to have been able to attend my 25th reunion this past weekend. The campus looked stunning; convocation was informative and inspiring, providing an overview of the past year and the presentation of alumni awards; a Q&A with the college president was impressive; the meals and comradery were deeply welcomed; and the memories of my four years on campus were satisfying and appreciated.
One of my favorite parts of the weekend was learning about the lives of my classmates. Their personal lives—families, relationships—and also their professional work. There’s the classmate who is an organic farmer in Maine and a leader in the effort to educate other farmers about organic farming techniques; the classmate who is a neurobiologist researching proteins; the classmate who is principal of a magnet school she founded; the classmate who took over her family’s power plant in the Midwest; the classmate who owns her own company and has been running her husband’s company after he had multiple strokes; the classmate who was a financial analyst then went to nursing school and now works as a delivery nurse. All are inspirational. What they also share is a commitment to learning, leading, challenging, innovating and contributing, all things we learned the value of in college.
"Thank You all. Every book, magazine, and letter means a lot to us when we are away from home. It gives us hope, confidence, happiness, strength and pride that someone is there for us." - Former Navy Sailor, Part of Operation Gratitude
Then there is our classmate who passed away in January 2015. He shared the commitment to all the qualities listed above, as well as to the value of adventure, positive thinking and mentoring. He was missed beyond words this weekend. As a class, we honored him on Saturday evening and as a college, we paid tribute to him, along with other alumni who have passed away in the past five years, at a memorial service on Sunday morning. I was honored, on behalf of our class and our college, to read his name and light a candle for him at the service. This classmate was an inspiration throughout his shortened life.
I have been reflecting on my 25th reunion and on my college days and all the days since. I am grateful for the lessons I have learned so far. And I am inspired by the lives of others to keep learning, leading, challenging, innovating and contributing. Here’s to our 30th, a short five years from now, and all that experience will hold.