(Peter Elias offered these thoughts about our Class Coming Home gathering this past weekend.)
As I entered Hanover from the north, having spent several wonderful days hiking and eating at the Ravine Lodge, I truly felt that I was returning home. Driving past Baker, Rollins, Robo (Robinson Hall) and the Green, I recalled how I felt the first time I saw Hanover on a similarly glorious Fall day while touring New England with my father to look at possible colleges: this is my kind of place.
A few hours later I sat on the porch of Collis to absorb the sights and sounds of the campus, chat with random students, and reflect. It’s clear that the intervening nearly 6 decades have changed both me and the College. Though we are both works in progress (for instance, the Hop is currently closed for reconstruction), I think the changes have been both substantial and good. As I conversed with students, I was struck by their diversity, not just of language and skin color (and, of course, gender) but also the breadth, depth, and wide variety of their experiences, interests, and perspectives. That 4000 proto-adults without prior connections can live, learn, grow, and play together is quite a testament to the spirit and culture of Dartmouth.
My feeling of Coming Home is not based just on the visuals of campus or the memories they elicit, but is primarily related to current connections and relationships. I made a new friend and several new potential friends during my stay at the Ravine Lodge. I knew I would soon be with classmates whom I see or hear from mostly at these events, but with whom I nevertheless feel connected. Our Class has evolved from a group that mostly talked about ourselves (and, too often, about our imaginary past exploits) into a group that is curious and very caring about each other. Over the course of the weekend at our gatherings to eat or converse, I looked around and noted that my good classmate friendships are mostly with people I don’t remember knowing as an undergraduate. Over the nearly 30 years that I have been participating in Class events, I have become part of a community I cherish. (I was estranged until the 25th Reunion, but my estrangement and return are stories for another time.)
Over the weekend I listened to Dona and Norman talk about the plans for our coming 55th Reunion in June of 2024 and it got me to thinking about how much my many Dartmouth friends and connections have enriched my life. I decided to share a suggestion aimed at the many classmates I don’t yet know, or know well. Join us:
- Come to the 55th Reunion.
- Participate in some of our multiple (and award winning) virtual events.
- Look at your Green Book, Aegis, or The Book from our 50th and then reach out and check in with a classmate. Ask them how and what they are doing.
- And, of course, come to the 55th Reunion!
As Dona Heller so eloquently said when reporting on the plans for our 55th: “If not now, then when?
For myself, I look forward to our 55th in June of 2024, confident that I will meet more than a handful of ‘new-to-me-classmates’ and make some new friends.
Peter noted that he added a link to his photos from the Ravine Lodge, his ascent of Moosilauke, and Coming Home on the Photos page of our web site.