This past weekend, hundreds of Muhlenberg alumni returned to campus to celebrate the College’s annual Alumni Weekend! Muhlenberg’s Alumni Affairs team spent nine months planning three days filled with entertainment, memories and opportunities to reconnect with both fellow classmates and the current Muhlenberg community.
The Alumni Affairs department found ways to comply with varying comfortability levels in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring that Alumni Weekend would remain a safe, fun experience for everyone involved. Alumni were given a choice of having either a red, yellow or green name tag lanyard which indicated how comfortable they were with social distancing and interaction. The Muhlenberg Alumni Weekend app used when the event was completely virtual in 2020 was used again this year to offer alumni who could not attend in-person the opportunity to participate virtually in events such as the Alumni Art Show and the State of the College session with President Kathleen Harring. Muhlenberg trivia, “The Mule Marketplace” and an alumni-owned business feature were also included in the app for anyone’s use.
Both the Alumni Tailgate and the Homecoming Fair were held on Saturday Sept. 24, providing alumni with countless opportunities to reconnect with their peers and engage with life on campus once again. The tailgate included reunion year tents as well as student organization tents for groups such as Emerging Leaders, Greek life organizations, athletic organizations and “Graduates of the Last Decade.”
“The tailgate is really fun because it’s a chance to see old classmates and just be in a relaxed environment. It’s great to relive the great experiences we had here,” said Ellen (Polakoff) Gesner ‘82. Gesner is the Reunion Chair for her class and was celebrating the class of 1982’s 40th anniversary at the Alumni Tailgate. Gesner indicated that this was the largest turnout for Alumni Weekend that the class of 1982 has ever seen. She spent a year using social media for outreach and assisting in planning for this weekend. Gesner continued, “It just feels really good to give back. I spent four years here and it gave me the gift of a wonderful education. It just feels good to really give back in any way you can.” Linda Wallburg ‘82, the president of her class, also could be found at the tailgate under her reunion tent. “It’s fun seeing friends, it’s fun connecting with classmates older and younger. It’s just feeling that feeling on campus I get when I pull up, it’s a great feeling,” said Wallburg.
“The tailgate is really fun because it’s a chance to see old classmates and just be in a relaxed environment.”
“It feels pretty darn good to be back because right this second, I am with all of my former teammates. We were invited back because this is the 30th anniversary of us winning the MAC conference championship for volleyball… It’s really cool to be back with some amazing athletes,” said Jenny Sherwood ‘95 on her way to watch the second match of the volleyball tri-match. Linda Hicks ‘94, Sherwood’s teammate, said, “I haven’t been here since I graduated from Muhlenberg and the fact that I’m seeing my teammates is the reason I’m back… I really appreciate the experiences I got from Muhlenberg as far as my team[s], basketball and volleyball. It really helped me grow as an adult and I met some really wonderful people.”
“My experience is that in addition to the annual events that are held every year, the creative [Alumni Affairs] team both comes up with interesting programming as well as responds to the needs and interests of alumni”
The Homecoming Fair offered endless entertainment for everyone, including performances from student groups, a petting zoo, glitter tattoos, inflatables, cotton candy and popcorn stations, the Marti Zone and giveaways of ‘Boundless’ beach balls. The Alumni Affairs staff noted that they hosted over 55 events this weekend, which also included a name reveal for the new Parkway Boulevard Building–now called Fahy Commons in honor of Gerald P. Fahy ‘79 and Cathleen A. who donated $7.5M in 2020, a Polar Bear display case dedication, campus tours and virtual “Classes Without Quizzes” led by current faculty and staff.
“My experience is that in addition to the annual events that are held every year, the creative [Alumni Affairs] team both comes up with interesting programming as well as responds to the needs and interests of alumni,” says Jessika Parra ‘19, the assistant director of Alumni Affairs. This weekend would not have been possible without the work of the Alumni Affairs department and several other organizations on campus. The Office of Alumni Affairs’ work extends from Alumni Weekend to events such as Mulementum, Toast Heard Around The World, Scholarship receptions, first year Candle Lighting, Senior Champagne Brunch and more. Next year, class years ending in 3’s and 8’s will be celebrated on Sept. 8-10. The department’s events and programs are always communicated in their biweekly email bulletin and online at muhlenbergconnect.com/events.