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Commencement and Reunion Guide

Autumn Advice

May-June 2014

Tap into the spirit of the class by involving classmates during, before, and after the reunion in planning or brainstorming about ideas for new events and activities. “Get people involved early, even while they are at the current reunion, while they are saying that everything is great,” says Eva Kampits ’68. And follow up after the reunion to solicit feedback while experiences are still fresh.

  • Don’t be afraid to copy great ideas from other classes.
  • Find a unifying event that will draw people to Cambridge, starting on Thursday or at least Friday night, says Anne Holtzworth ’84. “You want people coming in for the whole long weekend, not just showing up on Saturday morning.”
  • Centralize the planning and plan in consistent, incremental ways during the prior 18 months. Having an “on-site reunion committee able to meet frequently with the HAA is essential,” says Kampits. “The HAA staff is key to making reunion activities work—or not.”
  • Find opportunities to meet with students, or attend student events focused on the arts, sports, or academics, enabling alumni to connect with life on campus life and see firsthand all the changes at Harvard.
  • Be flexible and inclusive. Solicit volunteers and be prepared to hear ideas. “Over 70 classmates participated in the reunion committees,” reports Kampits, including fundraising, attendance, and programming. “And, for good or for ill, the ideas kept coming into September!”

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Author Gabrielle Zevin seated on a sofa in Los Angeles with her dog Nico

A spontaneous photo of Zevin and her late dog Nico taken on a sofa trashed in Los Angeles. “As soon as we were done, a random guy loaded it into his truck.”

Photograph by Hans Canosa

Author Gabrielle Zevin profiled by Nell Porter Brown

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Clockwise from top left: Stephen Cook, Albert Fishlow, Helen Vendler, and Margaret Kivelson. 
Photographs courtesy of Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

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