Thinking twice about the alumni reunion

Dear Friends,

Did you receive (or send!) any alumni reunions lately? As I write I am travelling to my 25th alumni reunion from my undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto. I zealously sent in my RSVP for several events. For the full nostalgic experience, I am even staying with my old friends at our student residence!

Rewind to 1998. Hundreds of fellow graduates attended our graduation ceremony. Celebration was at its height. Unfortunately, only a handful of my fellow grads will be attending the honoured pub night and other events on campus. For many, the university is firmly in the past. I wonder: does the alumni reunion need a reinvention? What will alumni reunions look like in ten or twenty years?

What would motivate you to attend your next reunion? The word says it all – to reunite, connect – but even for my friends that live only minutes from campus, this isn’t a draw. How can we create curiosity and meet alumni where they are in their lives?

I am heartened by the breadth of programming for the extended reunion weekend. Take a second look at your most recent reunion invitation. Yes, let’s start with reflection and ask: Given my time and resources would I attend this event? Why or why not? (One great modified question from Greg McKeown’s book Essentialism: the disciplined pursuit of less) What are some good reasons to attend? Why not? If it’s on soon sign up or save the date!

As I write I have already had incredible connections and reconnections with fellow alumni. Tonight is my alumni reunion networking event, sold out!
Save the date!

I will be speaking at both CASE Europe in Edinburgh (end of August) and the EAIE Conference (end of September in Rotterdam), and attending the Alumni Career Services Conference in late July in New Orleans. Early bird rates for these events now open!

Yours with alumni reunion nostalgia,

Quote from the book

“Alumni connection is more than a stroll down memory lane. Instead the Alumni Way is a multi-lane highway, dotted with off ramps of creative possibilities along the route.”

The Alumni Way, p.1

Photo below: Reunions everywhere! This is my oldest and dearest friend Elizabeth Clydesdale and I having our own impromptu reunion event taking refuge from the Toronto heat in the subway!