Connecticut College Magazine · Fall 2012


Jennifer Evans '06 trains Dillon, a capuchin monkey, how to be an assistant and companion to individuals with disabilities. Photo courtesy of Helping Hands.

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Reunion 2012

Reunion 2012
The class of 1962 makes their grand entrance into Alumni Convocation. Photo by Bob MacDonnell.

A little rain can't dampen alumni spirits

By Melissa Bennett, Barb Nagy and Phoebe Hall

The weather was less than ideal, but the mood was sunny throughout Reunion weekend in June, when more than 1,000 alumni, friends and family members returned to campus.

Though heavy rains on Saturday forced the cancellation of the traditional Parade of Classes, the Class of 1962 made the best of it with a spirited entrance into Alumni Convocation, accompanied by a jazz band.

The festivities commenced the day before with the Sykes Society Luncheon, which honored the class on the occasion of their 50th Reunion. More than 200 alumni and guests gathered, fittingly, in the 1962 Room for the reception. Linda Lear '62 delivered the keynote address.

“The length of time that has elapsed between our graduation and now has certainly not changed the bond that we shared,” said Joyce Finger Beckwith '62, a member of the Reunion Planning Committee.

Social events ranged from a lobster feast on Tempel Green, a microbrewery beer tasting and a performance by 1980s cover band Orange Crush to
several receptions hosted by President Lee Higdon.

Many events were tailored for specific classes, such as the Class of 1957 breakfast, when Bradley Maykow '12 gave a brief overview of student life today — prompting spirited discussion among alumnae who remembered a much different time on campus, one when they enjoyed linen service and weekly housekeeping.

Lectures and discussions offered further opportunities for alumni to reconnect with their alma mater.

Seth Solway '07 was excited to be back in the classroom with Gene Gallagher, the Rosemary Park Professor of Religious Studies, who led the discussion “The End of the World? 2012 and Beyond.”

“I took a class with Professor Gallagher my junior year,” Solway said. “It was wonderful to hear him speak again.”

Alumni of the Toor Cummings Center for International Studies and the Liberal Arts (CISLA), which celebrated its 20th anniversary over the weekend, joined many Reunion events as well as a special dinner and reception on Larrabee Green. With faculty, staff, and current and former CISLA directors, they reflected on the importance of their center experience.

“To go somewhere and face a challenge on my own and be in a new environment is definitely something that is transferable to any situation — not just a new country, but a new company,” Gili Ben-Yosef '09 said.

See more photos, watch a video and listen to
podcasts from Reunion here.


Alumnae from the Class of 1942 like to say they blew in with the Hurricane of 1938 and out with the draft in 1942. Seven of these feisty alumnae blew onto campus again for their reunion in June, one of the highest turnouts ever for a 70th reunion.

The hurricane and World War II bookended their years on campus. The storm took everyone by surprise. Franny Hyde Forde was walking across campus and was stunned to see the roof of one of the residence halls tear away.

The wind blew Jane “Woodie” Worley Peak over. But she was most distressed by the fact that she couldn't do her homework that night. “There was no power,” she said.

Three years later, the war changed their lives dramatically. Many had brothers or boyfriends who went off to fight.

There were blackouts at night, and the Navy put a chain across the Thames River to keep enemy submarines out, said Mary Elizabeth “Pete” Franklin Gehrig, whose daughter Suzanne Gehrig Kranz '68 and granddaughter Kathryn Kranz '03 were with her.

Her mother worried that New London would be bombed, but Gehrig wasn't concerned. “I was young,” she said, shrugging.

Other members of the class at Reunion were Barry Beach Alter, Justine Clark and Connie Hughes McBrien.


At Alumni Convocation, Connor Donohue '07 was posthumously awarded the Mach Arom '89 Alumni Award, which honors service to the College and professional achievements. His parents, Patrick and Jane Donohue, accepted the award in his memory.

Donohue, who died in 2010, was formerly dean of students at Prep for Prep, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving educational opportunities for underserved youth in New York. In 2009, the Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University selected Donohue for a Fellowship for Emerging Leaders in Public Service.

Shortly before his death, he took a job at Single Stop USA, an organization working to end poverty.

Donohue, an English and music major, earned the College's Lavinnia Hull Smith '23 prize for excellence in music and graduated magna cum laude with distinction in music. The percussionist practiced on the marimba, xylophone, tympani and many other instruments so tirelessly that he developed tendonitis and had to cancel his senior recital.

“He had great potential,” recalls Margaret Thomas, associate professor of music and chair of the department.

During his senior year, Donohue established New London Music Tutoring to share his love of music with underprivileged students in local schools. He recruited volunteers from the College and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy to tutor elementary school children and worked with school and district administrators to implement the program.

As a young alumnus in New York, Donohue served on the board of YNPN-NYC, a networking organization for young nonprofit professionals in the city. After his death, the group posted a tribute to Donohue on its website, which read in part: “Leadership, when truly possessed, is humble, ingenious and transcends the boundaries of time and age. … His commitment, work ethic and passion to serve others made him an exemplary board member and an amazing friend.”


Elizabeth “Sue” Rockwell Cesare '52
Alumni Association President's Award
for Distinguished Service in Education

Adam Boros '02
Harriet Buescher Lawrence '34 Prize for outstanding contributions to society

Carol Blake Boyd '72
Agnes Berkley Leahy Award for outstanding service and participation in class, club or Board of Directors activities

Priscilla Geigis '87
Alumni Tribute Award for sustained and extraordinary service to the College

Deborah Murray Sloan '67

Goss Award for a member of the Alumni Association who has made a significant contribution to the Connecticut College community

Leslie Rosen '02
Connor Donahue '07*
Mach Arom '89 Alumni Award for service to Connecticut College and for distinguished achievements in his or her professional field or within society

*Awarded posthumously.

Connecticut College Magazine

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