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Sunday, May 9, 2010

50 years of memories (ECW, part 4)

For the past several years, I have had the privilege of helping plan the 50-Year Undergraduate Business and College Reunion. And I really do consider it a privilege--it is my favorite reunion to plan (meaning no offense to my wonderful 20- and 25-year reunions!).

It is traditionally held during Emory Commencement Weekend in early/mid May, when the 50-Year class is inducted into Corpus Cordis Aureum, an honorary group for all of our 50+ year alumni.

We start building the committee in the summer/fall of the year prior to their reunion. My first introduction to the committee is usually through their yearbook pictures. When I finally meet them in person, it takes just a minute for the 50-year old photos and the person in front of me to merge together!

These committee members tend to be very laid back and relaxed. Our meetings often include wine and cheese. During the planning process, we actually become quite good friends--I am privy to bits of scandalous gossip from 50 years ago, they tell stories about the professors (particularly George Cuttino), and how tough the classes were (Some things never change!).

I feel their sadness when they view the “In Memoriam” list for the first time, and realize how many of their classmates are gone. I hear the wonderful stories about the impact that Emory had on their lives.

One of my favorites was the value of the old “drown-proofing” class to one of our alumni. He was the sole survivor of a patrol craft that went down in the South China Sea, and swam for seven hours before being picked up. I also remember one alumnus who admitted to being Dooley, and was captured by students at Georgia Tech, and left naked on a rural country road.

Many of the couples tell stories about meeting their husband or wife-to-be at Emory, and there are many 50-year golden wedding anniversaries celebrated in the summer following the reunion.

One of the funniest stories was from a 1960 alumna. She told me about how her dorm (either Hopkins, Smith, or Thomas) was being built, and would not be finished in time for the fall semester. So the ladies had to be moved into Dobbs Hall and share with the men! (First coed dorm at Emory).

The woman had so many electrical needs (hair dryers, etc) that they kept blowing the power. They also did not know what the urinals were actually used for, so they washed their socks in them.

Panty raids were another fun aspect of campus life, but somehow Dean Reese always knew about them, and would step out of the shadows at the last minute to put a halt to the raid. When women were pinned by a Sigma Chi, they were serenaded by the song, Sweetheart of Sigma Chi.

Saturday night, the Class of 1960 celebrated their 50-Year Reunion--with a record turnout! They had a wonderful reunion gathering, and will continue tomorrow with a reunion brunch, and then induction into Corpus Cordis Aureum. What a great weekend to celebrate 50 years as Emory alumni!

-- Gloria Grevas, director, alumni programs, EAA

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