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50th Reunion - June 2014

50th Reunion: 

What a time it was!

See the Reunion Photo Gallery

The results are in: It’s official – we had the most glorious 50th reunion – truly a weekend to remember!

Everyone returned home filled with good memories, savoring the moments we shared: the time we spent with friends, the places we visited on campus, and the three days’ worth of convivial meals and events we enjoyed together.

A record number of classmates and guests showed up to celebrate the big milestone – around 530! This great turnout was largely due to the diligence and skill of our affinity chair, Nancy Taylor Butler, and the enthusiastic volunteers she enlisted to encourage classmates to attend.

Bruce Wagner
, our wizard webmaster, organized and sent out periodic witty and inspiring reunion email blasts. Carolyn Stewart Whitman, our publicity chair, and Nancy Taylor Butler oversaw the Class of ‘64 Facebook page. Bruce also provided copious information about the reunion on our class website. Linda Cohen Meltzer managed every detail of the reunion with tireless dedication.  

The fun started three days before the reunion when a team of classmates headed  by co-chairs Linda Cohen Meltzer, Joan Melville, and Bruce Wagner arrived on campus and set to work transforming our headquarters --  Court/Kay/Bauer, the largest dorm on campus -- into a festive place of celebration, strategically placing banners, balloons, red geraniums, and posters everywhere. Music from the ‘50’s and ‘60’s played softly in the background while photographs taken during reunion (thanks to Bob Friedenson, head of photography and his able volunteers) appeared in a slide show in the lounge. Seven enthusiastic undergraduate clerks offered invaluable help with our preparations and weekend events.

Our volunteer greeters, organized by Carolyn Chauncey Neuman, were on hand in their red aprons, to welcome each new arrival. Registration flowed smoothly, overseen by the capable Barbara Lutz Brim, our registration chair. Each classmate received a copy of the beautiful and compelling 50th Reunion Yearbook edited by Janet Spencer King and Elliot Gordon and the impressive JFK Memorial Award book of essays, along with 500 Cornell 50th Reunion caps donated by Mark Colman and his Beta Sigma Rho fraternity brothers.

Class president Susan Mair Holden organized volunteer hosts and checkers for our meals and events, with the help of Carolyn Stewart Whitman and her husband Steve Whitman. These hosts were welcoming presences who added much warmth and delight to our schedule.

Frigid weather blew in on Thursday evening, as the thermometer dipped into the 50’s, motivating a trek to the Cornell Store for jackets and sweaters for some, but fortunately the weather gods smiled on us the rest of the weekend. We proved ourselves as rugged as we were during the 1961 snowstorm by surviving capricious Ithaca weather.

Thursday’s after-dinner slide show presentation given by Bruce Wagner and Joan Melville -- a humorous meditation on the way we were and are – revealed us as optimistic and durable while poking fun at our foibles. The ice cream social introduced us to the new Cornell  flavor “Triple Play,” inspiring many classmates to hike out to the newly renovated dairy bar at Stocking Hall to obtain more of this chocolate treat the next day.

Glenn Altschuler and Isaac Kramnick, two dynamic faculty stars, opened our Class Forum with a fascinating account of the history of Cornell in the early ‘60’s. The second half of the Forum consisted of a lively panel discussion among three of our awardees, led by JFK Award chair Cindy Wolloch.  

Along with the many University-sponsored events offered was the exhilarating class-sponsored program organized by Steve Einhorn in which Cornell’s talented debate team argued the pros and cons of intellectual diversity on campus.

The Fabulous Greaseband performed at our gala class banquet on Friday night, accompanied by musical favorites from our adolescence. Watching the stage show inspired some of us to dust off our dancing shoes and demonstrate our old moves on the dance floor. We danced again after Saturday night’s buffet dinner to the tunes spun by DJ Bob Higgins’81, proving that you are only as old as your joints.

Saturday morning our moving Classmate Remembrance ceremony, organized by Nancy Lore Einhorn, began with a performance of violin solos by Eileen Corwin Mason on the shores of Beebe Lake. Rev. Kathleen Peterson presided with gentle warmth over a service which contained readings from scripture and a recitation of our departed classmates’ names.

The Sherwoods, led by Paul Reading, sang at the picnic lunch that followed, performing some of our old favorites.  Our perpetually youthful and energetic Alice Dannett Friedenson led us in an exploration of Beebe Lake via canoe afterward.

On Saturday H. Michael Newman, in perfect pitch and with great enthusiasm, represented our class in his Glee Club alumni solo at Cornelliana Night in Bailey Hall.

All too soon Sunday morning arrived, and we found ourselves saying good-bye in our class tent outside the dorm while enjoying a convivial and nourishing brunch. At the class meeting immediately after brunch, a quorum of classmates approved the slate of class officers for the next five years.  Susan Mair Holden passed the baton to Bruce Wagner, our new class president.

We left campus taking happy memories with us, making plans to gather again for our 55th reunion, and to keep in touch with each other in the meanwhile.

Linda Meltzer
Joan Melville
Bruce Wagner
50th  Reunion Co-Chairs