Dianne Beebe Barske
Reunion chair, Ginny Wheeler Jones, M.A.’88, in encouraging each of us to return to the Hood campus for our 50th class reunion, promised it would be “a very big deal.” It was, and it was wonderful! At our Class of 1966 50th Reunion Dinner in the Whitaker Campus Center, I asked those there to share a thought about the reunion. Common themes in their quickly written notes were how much it meant to be together again, how beautiful and well-maintained the campus is, how much joy was found in laughing, hugging and sharing stories. And gratitude was universally expressed to our reunion committee: Ginny, Chair; Sarah Bruce, Class Gift; Judy Messina, Class Gift; Susan Worth Fiala, Chapel Service; and Pat Vozar Bailey, Commemorative Book. (What an amazing job Pat did in putting that memory book together.) The standing ovation for the committee at the dinner was so well deserved. Thanks were also expressed to Linda Roth, Senior Director of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving, and the staff in the Alumni Office. What a well organized event! For me, I was reminded of why I chose Hood College over a half century ago – the friendliness on campus. It still prevails! And then there is quality. We were able to meet the new college president, Andrea E. Chapdelaine, Ph.D., sense her warmth and commitment, and hear her plans for the college. She continued to pop up at various reunion events as did Immediate Past President, Ron Volpe, who was there at the new Volpe Athletic Center for Saturday’s Alumni Luncheon. Pride prevailed when we were able to present our class gift at this luncheon – $102,326.54– and were told that over the 50 years, our class has given over one million dollars to the College. Ginny commented, “The luncheon, like all of the weekend, was full or reminders of our special days at Hood, the things we did as students, and what good things continue to keep Hood of today a special place.” Other moments of great pride were the presentation of the 2016 Excellence in Service to Hood College Award to Judy Messina; remembering that Terri Petrillo Connolly had been named the ’66 White Blazer Girl; and that over the years both myself and Pat Chapple Wright, H’90 had been given the Distinguished Alumni Award. As a testament to her service, Judy Messina has been on the Hood College Board of Trustees since 2004 and is now Vice Chair of the Board. More pride occurred at the Sunday morning chapel service. Two classmates led the service: Rev. Geneva Butz and Rev. Alice Coffman McDermott. I am grateful for the happy moments I had to visit with both of them during the weekend and will long remember a quote shared by Geneva that seemed so fitting for the reunion – “The time that was continues to tick in the time that is.” Past and present came together for all of us back on campus. As part of the service, the names of the deceased members of our class were read in remembrance. There were 31 of us there: Pat Vozar Bailey, Dianne Beebe Barske, Laurie Wheeler Brown, Sarah Bruce, Geneva Butz, Dottie Moore Byerly, Anna Buhr Cole, Terri Petrillo Connolly, Gail Mancke Curtis, Carolyn Embree Drake, Sue Agnew Elter, Joy Mc Neely Engel, Sara Wislar Farneth, Milli Towner Fazey, Susan Worth Fiala, Beth Harlow Foster, Kandy Kiefaber Higinbotham, Ginny Wheeler Jones, Ann Johnson Kupferberg, M.A.’90, Carole Ann Kemp Lovett, Susan Esterline Markey, Betty Schmidt Martin, Alice Coffman McDermott, Faith Parker Mentzer, Judy Messina, Cheryl Carlson Peyton, Carolyn Wyckoff Platt, Nancy Frederickson Sherlin, Linda James Stewart, Patricia Kehoe Tylander, Harriet Rudman Weiner. When meeting these classmates again on campus, it seemed as if what first appeared as a fuzzy photo would click into focus and memories of that person would come flooding back. Along with people memories came food memories. I was not able to be back on campus for a Thursday evening reception on the Beneficial-Hodson Library Reading Porch, but I’m told that the favored spring salad was served – bacon, lettuce, tomatoes – along with apple butter and cottage cheese and cranberry crunch for dessert. Then there was Sunday’s Strawberry Breakfast, bringing back that long-standing tradition. It should be noted that all the meals were delicious, whether served in the beautifully renovated Coblentz Dining Room, the Commons of the Whitaker Campus Center, or the Volpe Athletic Center. Space considerations will only allow me to share one of the written comments I received. It comes from “The Terrace House girls” – Dottie Moore Byerly, Kandy Kiefaber Higinbotham, Linda James Stewart, Milli Towner Fazey and Cheryl Carlson Peyton. “We had a great time seeing all the new improvements to Hood and our old friends who didn’t need any improvements.” We were a fine bunch indeed, especially as we paraded into the Alumni Luncheon as honored guests, dressed in our sunshine yellow and carrying bright yellow flowers – to the tune of “Pretty Woman.” Many of us shared that we were surprised by how much being together at the reunion meant to us and vowed to return for our 55th!