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John Dickinson Society Members Gather in NYC

Alumni pose with President Margee Ensign at the Grand Central Terminal in NYC. Photo by Carl Socolow '77.

John Dickinson Society members pose with President Margee Ensign at Grand Central Terminal in NYC. Photo by Carl Socolow '77.

John Dickinson Society scavenger hunt reveals treasures beneath the city

by MaryAlice Bitts-Jackson

Adventurous members of Dickinson College's John Dickinson Society (JDS) put on their sleuthing caps April 12 and explored little-known tunnels deep underneath Manhattan, searching for the treasures that awaited. The JDS scavenger hunt brought approximately 50 NYC-area alumni and parents together on their home turf—or, rather, beneath it—to enjoy one of the city’s most-visited tourist sites in a way that residents typically never do.

They gathered at Grand Central Terminal, a U.S. National Historic Landmark and architectural marvel constructed in 1913 at the intersection of 42nd Street and Park Avenue. All NYC-area members of JDS, Dickinson’s leadership donor society, were invited to attend, along with three upper-level students as well as Dickinson leadership and staff.

The event began with brief remarks by Julie Schoenberg Jacobs ’90, chief development officer at Watson Adventures Scavenger Hunts, and by President Margee Ensign, who welcomed the JDS members to the Palm Court, a palm-tree-bedecked space in Grand Central’s jazz-age Campbell Bar. “This evening is a celebration of the John Dickinson Society,” Ensign told the attendees, noting that JDS gifts support scholarships, internships, the McAndrews Fund for Athletics, The Trout Gallery, the Career Center and more. “As donors who contribute at least $2,500 a year, you provide the fuel for the college’s mission to provide a useful education for the common good.”

Then it was time to divide into seven Dickinson-themed groups—such as Team Mermaid and Team Red Devils—and for each group to find its starting point in the terminal. And they were off!

Each team had one hour to use an app to find points of interest in the terminal, like the iconic four-sided clock, dazzling painted ceiling, “whispering gallery” and hidden passageways. When the hour was up, participants gathered in the glamorous Campbell Bar to tally up their points.

"It was a great way to build relationships with other like-minded alumni," said La'Dell Peton ’09, "and I think I’ve made some really good lifelong connections as a result."

“It’s always good to see a mix of alums getting together to celebrate Dickinson,” agreed Elena Takacs ’04, who added that she attends every JDS event that she can. “I truly believe that every opportunity I've had is because of the unique, global education I received at Dickinson, and I want to give back to the college in every way possible.”

View a gallery of photos from the event on Facebook.

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Published April 19, 2018