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Alumni revisit stomping grounds

Nov. 6, 1998

BY CINDY SZELAG

City Editor

Cynthia_Szelag@baylor.edu

Every year many alumni trek back to Bear Country from all over the world for homecoming weekend.

And every year, the Alumni Association welcomes them back with open arms. The association has planned many activities to entertain and honor alumni this weekend, including the traditional reunion dinners.

The Alumni Association holds reunion dinners for each class celebrating an anniversary that is a multiple of five. Special dinners are also planned for the 25th anniversary class, the 50th anniversary class and those classes that graduated over 50 years ago.

About 1,000 alumni attend the dinners each year, although some who come for homecoming don't attend the dinners, said Brenda Ramey, special events coordinator for the Alumni Association.

'Most of them decide to come back to see their old friends,' Ramey said. 'We try to do as much as possible on campus. It has changed so much and they're so excited to see the changes, and maybe interact with a few of the current students while they're on campus.'

Recently, the Alumni Association has had difficulty drawing recent graduates to homecoming incomparison to the number of older gradutates who return for homecoming.

'The trend that we have begun to see is that more are coming from the earlier classes,' Ramey said.

'They (the more recent classes) are in and out so fast, they don't feel the same relationship as the earlier classes who had to work a little harder for their degrees.'

Ann Stricklin, permanent class secretary for the class of 1958, said more alumni from the 1950s classes return because the stricter rules they followed while attending Baylor brought them closer together.

'It's because of the way it was in the 50s,' she said. 'We didn't go home on the weekends, we all lived in the dorms . . . there was a real camaraderie in the whole class. We bonded as lifelong friends.'

Many recent graduates also feel more loyalty to sororities, fraternities and other student organizations than to Baylor as a whole, and often spend homecoming with these groups, Ramey said.

However, class officers have numerous activities in the works for alumni who do attend the dinners.

Kathy Hillman, permanent class secretary for the class of 1973, said her class will celebrate its 25th anniversary at 6 p.m. Nov. 7 in the Barfield Drawing Room of the Bill Daniel Student Center.

The dinner will feature a video presentation of photos from the classes' college days, set to 1970s music, and a class photograph will be taken. Attendees will also display their senior year Round Up photos on their name tags.

Some of Hillman's class members return to Waco for homecoming because they have children at Baylor or are trying to convince their children to attend Baylor, but the majority come just to spend time with each other, she said.

Stricklin said she and her classmates have two events planned for the weekend -- an open house from 5:30 to 7 p.m. today at the Dr Pepper Museum and a dinner at 6 p.m. Saturday on the fifth floor of the Cashion Academic Center. Organizers are expecting at least 180 members of the class of 1958.

'We have a lot of people who are coming back who haven't been back, as well as the old faithful,' Stricklin said.

In addition to 1958 and 1973, the classes of 1953, 1963, 1968, 1978, 1983, 1988 and 1993 will be honored at dinners this year. The Golden Diploma Dinner, for those who graduated between 1912 and 1947, will be held at 6 tonight at the Harrington House Faculty Center.

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