A Record-smashing Alumni Weekend

Alumni Weekend 2023

Photo by Dan Loh.

More than 1,550 alumni return to campus for multiday celebration

video by Joe O'Neill, article by MaryAlice Bitts-Jackson, photos by Dan Loh

A record number of alumni traveled to campus last weekend to celebrate Alumni Weekend 2023. The event drew over 1,550 alumni from 38 countries and 42 states (plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico), with class years ranging from 1948 to 2022. And why not? With nearly 70 gatherings and activities in store—and that's not counting official reunion-year class gatherings and dinners!—there were ample ways to reminisce, celebrate and reconnect.

Perennial favorites included class-year gatherings, the all-alumni Welcome Reception, lunch at the College Farm, a celebration dinner on Morgan Field, the Alumni Awards ceremony, dessert and music on Britton Plaza, the Dickinson Dance Party and a Sunday champagne brunch.

All Dickinsonians were also invited to savor a food truck festival on Morgan Field, tour the campus, take part in a benefit 5K and golf tournament and attend a Sunday memorial service honoring those we’ve lost during the past year. They bonded over pickleball, visited an alumni-owned native garden and sculpture sanctuary, walked the Gettysburg Battlefield with an alumnus expert and learned about local history during a 160-year anniversary commemoration of the shelling of Carlisle during the Civil War. Student- and department-led presentations, including two student exhibitions, connected alumni with what's going on at campus today.

2023 Alumni Weekend

Dickinson’s Alumni College classes, highlighting the expertise and work of alumni and professors, also drew considerable buzz among Dickinson's community of lifelong learners. This year’s schedule included two sessions led by two alumni celebrating their 10th-anniversary year.

Amanda Jo (AJ) Wildley ’13, who holds a master’s degree in anthropology focusing on Peruvian cacao and craft chocolate, is a founder and curator for the El Cacaotal chocolate boutique. She led a popular chocolate tasting, featuring treats from around the globe. Alex Strachan ’13 has been featured in national news and entertainment outlets, highlighting his work as a police officer and violinist who builds community through music. He offered a music performance and lecture on Saturday morning—the day after he was bestowed a 2023 Outstanding Young Alumni Award.

Class of 2013 members Sarah Ganong and Becky Thompson turned out to cheer on both of these classmates. Ganong, who holds fond memories of shared mealtimes as a Dickinson student, also enjoyed the chance to get together in the Caf once more—this time for a party, led by the alumni band Bradley.

The celebrations continued all weekend long with club and organization anniversary events. Raven’s Claw marked its 125th anniversary year with a Saturday bash. Skull and Key commemorated its 115th anniversary, and Alumni Council observed its centennial. The Mermaid Players theatre troupe is 75 years young this year; Alpha Delta Epsilon and Delta Nu are 55; the Department of International Business & Management, 25; and the Asbell Center for Jewish Life is 20. Alumni involved with all of these groups raised glasses to mark the occasions.

2023 Alumni Weekend

“It’s great to see everybody in person again, rather than on Zoom” said Kali Avans ’11, a Philadelphian who attended the Alumni Council anniversary event.

Multigenerational celebrations like these—including Alumni College sessions—are a big part of what makes the weekend so special for longtime Dickinson volunteers John ’76 and Nanci Fox Taylor ’76.

“The class of 1976 reunions are a beautiful thing, but we also have friendships outside of our class year—people we've met through fraternities, sororities and clubs," John said. "So while at first, we only came back to Alumni Weekend for class-reunion years, now we try to come back just about every year.”

Alumni Weekend 2023


Published June 12, 2023