This past weekend, Calhoun College hosted a reunion for its alumni — the third residential college reunion ever to take place at Yale.
Over 200 Calhoun alumni, with graduation years spanning more than 60 years, gathered from Friday to Sunday to reconnect with their old home.
Calhoun is the third of Yale’s residential colleges to have a college-wide reunion, with Ezra Stiles College and Pierson College having hosted individual residential college reunions last year.
According to Stephen Blum, senior director of strategic initiatives at the Association of Yale Alumni, the AYA plans to coordinate two residential college reunions each year in the future. Blum also said these reunions put no extra financial strain on Yale, as the costs of the entire event are covered by the existing budgets of the AYA and of the hosting residential college.
Attendees were invited to a host of workshops and panels, ranging from “Calhoun in Washington: A Panel Discussion with Calhoun Alumni Who Have Distinguished Themselves in Public Service” to a lecture titled “A Brief History of Calhoun.” According to Calhoun Master Jonathan Holloway, the event “really worked beautifully” and gave alumni from as far away as Paris and Hawaii an opportunity to remember their college days.
“We wanted to [let alumni] build and rebuild the community on their own terms,” Holloway said.
When planning the weekend’s activities, Holloway said he and the Association of Yale Alumni took care to organize programs that would interest the diverse group of alumni attending the event, though they also wanted to allow the alumni to have enough unscheduled time to socialize with old peers.
Holloway also said he found it important to take a step back and acknowledge Calhoun’s name and identity, especially as Yale prepares to name two new residential colleges. This interest was reflected in Saturday’s panel discussion, “What’s in a Name? A Panel Discussion of the History and Legacy of the Name Calhoun.”
Holloway said the death of Calhoun Dean Leslie Woodard last fall was mentioned multiple times throughout the weekend, though the weekend was not necessarily focused on her legacy.
Matt Krinz ’83 described the experience of being back in the college as “déjà vu all over again,” adding that although he enjoyed seeing how much of Calhoun has remained constant, he was struck by the removal of a beloved tree in Calhoun’s courtyard, which used to house a tire swing and be affectionately known to students as “the tree.”
Leo Stevens ’05 said the best part of the event was running into people in different classes who he had not seen at University-wide class reunions. This sentiment was echoed by Barbara Burt, assistant director of strategic initiatives at the Association of Yale Alumni, who said inter-class mingling was one of the primary goals of planning college-wide reunions.
Erin Johnson ’08 said her favorite part of the weekend was the “dinner-dance combo” for alumni on Friday night, which featured a dinner in Commons and an after-party in the Calhoun dining hall. Johnson said the event was “a nice way to tie [everything] together.”
Morse College will be the next residential college to hold its own reunion — an event that will take place this spring.