Reunion Weekend Is a Growing Tradition

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Gathering for a reunion panel on communication were, clockwise from left, Bill Roth, long-time and legendary Voice of the Hokies; Jummy Olabanji Sands ’06, news anchor at NBC New York (soon to be at NBC Washington); Matt Arden ’99, head of content and media for the NBA 2K League; and Moose, celebrated Virginia Tech therapy dog.
Gathering for a reunion panel on communication were, clockwise from left, Bill Roth, long-time and legendary Voice of the Hokies; Jummy Olabanji Sands ’06, news anchor at NBC New York (soon to be at NBC Washington); Matt Arden ’99, head of content and media for the NBA 2K League; and Moose, celebrated Virginia Tech therapy dog.

A new Virginia Tech tradition recently expanded when more than 400 Hokie alumni from 23 states descended on the Blacksburg campus for the university’s second annual Reunion Weekend.

“This weekend we doubled our attendees from last year,” Matthew M. Winston Jr., senior associate vice president for alumni relations, told a crowd at the Moss Arts Center.

Virginia Tech held its first summer reunion weekend last year. Rather than holding class year reunions on weekends in the fall, the university now gathers Hokies on campus for one weekend in the summer because it allows alumni to explore campus and even stay in residence halls.

“Our second summertime Reunion Weekend is a new tradition for us, and one that is off to an amazing start thanks in part to our amazing Hokie alums,” Winston said.

Participants enjoyed behind-the-scenes campus tours, children’s activities, happy hours, presentations from university leaders, a welcome from university president Tim Sands, a special presentation for the 1979 Men’s Basketball Metro Conference Champions, and much more.

Hokies from all nine anniversary class years, seven colleges, dozens of student groups, and all giving societies were represented during the weekend. The College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences had the highest showing among the colleges.

“This weekend was so much more than I expected it to be,” said Dorothy Long ’79, reunion committee member who earned her bachelor’s in communication and master’s in housing, interior design, and resource management, both in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. “The programming was exceptional and I look forward to coming back next year!”

This year’s attendees also included chapter leaders, alumni association board members, reunion committee volunteers, Old Guard Society of Golden Alumni members, and more.

Participants also generously gave back to the university. During the past 11 months, alumni from the nine anniversary years celebrating during the weekend gave $7.1 million to the university, and more than 50 percent of those who attended made a gift to Virginia Tech.

Next year’s reunion is set for June 4-7, 2020. Reunion Weekend 2020 will celebrate milestone class anniversaries from 1975 to 2015, but all Hokies are welcome. Anniversary class reunion committees for Reunion Weekend 2020 are already being formed. For more information, visit alumni.vt.edu/reunion2020.

Written by Annie McCallum and photographed by Leslie King

We started the 2019 Reunion Weekend out with great anticipation. With a schedule full of great events, one of the first offerings was a communication workshop, Bridging Difference: The Art of Connection, led by Patty Raun, director of the Center for Communicating Science at Virginia Tech and a professor of theatre arts.
We started the 2019 Reunion Weekend out with great anticipation. With a schedule full of great events, one of the first offerings was a communication workshop, Bridging Difference: The Art of Connection, led by Patty Raun, director of the Center for Communicating Science at Virginia Tech and a professor of theatre arts.
During The Art of Connection workshop, Donna Potter, Nancy Moga, and Ben Brown introduced themselves to the group.
During The Art of Connection workshop, Donna Potter, Nancy Moga, and Ben Brown introduced themselves to the group.
Patty Raun took the workshop participants through a series of exercises borrowed from the improv tradition.
Patty Raun took the workshop participants through a series of exercises borrowed from the improv tradition.

 

 

 

Nicole Gabe '19 moderates a communication panel with, seated from left, Bill Roth, long-time and legendary Voice of the Hokies; Jummy Olabanji Sands ’06, news anchor at NBC New York (soon to be at NBC Washington); and Matt Arden ’99, head of content and media for the NBA 2K League.
Nicole Gabe ’19 moderates a communication panel with, seated from left, Bill Roth, long-time and legendary Voice of the Hokies; Jummy Olabanji Sands ’06, news anchor at NBC New York (soon to be at NBC Washington); and Matt Arden ’99, head of content and media for the NBA 2K League.
From left, Matt Arden ’99, Jummy Olabanji Sands ’06, Bill Roth, and Nicole Gabe '19.
From left, Matt Arden ’99, Jummy Olabanji Sands ’06, Bill Roth, and Nicole Gabe ’19.
Nicole Gabe '19, a newly minted multimedia journalism graduate, prepared to brave the rain after moderating the communication panel.
Nicole Gabe ’19, a newly minted multimedia journalism graduate, prepared to brave the rain after moderating the communication panel.
The Marching Virginian tubas section leader, Dalton Hare, led a tour of the Spirit of Tech’s training facility, where he met one of the original band members, Chris Bishop ’79.
The Marching Virginian tubas section leader, Dalton Hare, led a tour of the Spirit of Tech’s training facility, where he met one of the original band members, Chris Bishop ’79.
What is the true mark of a Hokie? Its being able to have a great time no matter whether the sun is shining or rain is pouring down.
What is the true mark of a Hokie? Its being able to have a great time no matter whether the sun is shining or rain is pouring down.
Perhaps seeing friends from the past at Reunion Weekend seems like a given, but Beth Farner and Pauline Donato met during one of the sessions and became instant new friends.
Perhaps seeing friends from the past at Reunion Weekend seems like a given, but Beth Farner and Pauline Donato met during one of the sessions and became instant new friends.

 

Reunion Weekend 2019 provided many opportunities for Hokie friends to reconnect with one another.
Reunion Weekend 2019 provided many opportunities for Hokie friends to reconnect with one another.
Deseria Creighton Barney (Communication ’87), president of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, and her husband, Gary Barney, join the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences’ luncheon.
Deseria Creighton Barney (Communication ’87), president of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, and her husband, Gary Barney, join the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences’ luncheon.
Rosemary Blieszner, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, spoke at the luncheon.
Rosemary Blieszner, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, spoke at the luncheon.
Reunion weekends are a great way to introduce future Hokies to the college!
Reunion weekends are a great way to introduce future Hokies to the college!

 

We always laugh a lot and cry a little with James "Bud" Robertson Jr., an Alumni Distinguished Professor Emeritus, as he recounts his memories of his time at Virginia Tech. 
We always laugh a lot and cry a little with James “Bud” Robertson Jr., an Alumni Distinguished Professor Emeritus, as he recounts his memories of his time at Virginia Tech.