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Virtual Alumni Week: Connecting, Celebrating and Learning From the Comfort of Home

A "Raise Your Glass (or Mug)" event brings Dickinsonians together onscreen for a toast to the college during Virtual Alumni Week.

A "Raise Your Glass (or Mug)" event will bring Dickinsonians together onscreen for a toast to the college during Virtual Alumni Week.

With on-campus class reunions postponed, online get-togethers keep Dickinsonians connected

by MaryAlice Bitts-Jackson

Every spring, as Alumni Weekend draws near, Dickinson brings alumni from around the world together to connect, learn and have fun  That's still true in 2020—but instead of hosting a variety of on-campus events, the college is hosting a Virtual Alumni Week that Dickinsonians can enjoy from the comfort of their homes.

Held June 8-12, the Virtual Alumni Week provides a welcome chance for Dickinsonians to celebrate and connect safely through online events and webinars that fully comply with social-distancing guidelines set forth during the global pandemic. The full schedule of events is available online.

“A lot of the programming was originally planned to happen on campus, and since we aren’t able to meet in person, we just adapted it,” says Associate Director of Alumni Relations Andrew Calnon.

A cornerstone Virtual Alumni Week event is President Margee Ensign's livestreamed State of the College address for which alumni can submit questions ahead of time to There are also six webinar-based events, including a presentation on how to navigate the college-admissions process during the pandemic; how to forge a career in entertainment with television series writer-developers Eric Garcia ’90, Alex Carver ’95, Ed Ricourt ’95 and Lauren Ashley Smith ’06; and what it's like behind the scenes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. All participants will be able to ask questions during these lifelong-learning webinars.

Other highlights include a McAndrews Fund-sponsored silent auction and a community virtual 5K walk/run. Several affinity groups are also working with college staff to organize Zoom reunions.

And on Spirit Day—Friday, June 12—Dickinsonians are encouraged to share photos and/or videos of themselves "raising a glass" (or mug) in a toast to Dickinson, accompanied by the hashtag #DsonProud. (To jazz up your post, be sure to snag some discounted Dickinson glassware, mugs or clothes during the 20%-off sale at the online College Bookstore, from now until June 12.)

Virtual Alumni Week is part of a greater effort by the college to maintain ties among alumni, and among alumni and their college during this unprecedented time, which also includes the recently launched Dickinson at Home resource site. The Virtual Alumni Week is not a substitute for the postponed on-campus class reunion, now in the planning phase. The college will refer to state and local guidelines and will deploy an abundance of caution throughout the planning process.

“We promise to keep you updated once on-campus plans have been arranged, but until then, take care of yourself and your loved ones,” says Calnon. “Meanwhile, although we are all disappointed that we will not be together on campus this June, we can’t wait to join you online.”

Read more stories about how members of the Dickinson community near and far have responded to emerging needs and challenges during the coronavirus pandemic.



Published May 13, 2020