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Reunion 2014 draws almost 1,500 alumnae to campus

On an almost cloudless weekend from May 29–June 1, almost 1,500 alumnae returned to campus to celebrate Reunion 2014. From Thursday evening, beginning with the Alumnae of Color dinner, through Sunday brunch, attendees reunited with old friends and learned about what life at the College is like now.

New among the weekend’s programs was a series of “micro lectures,” designed to give alumnae a taste of what today’s students learn. Four of the College’s professors gave the talks Friday on such diverse topics as “When Black Holes Collide,” by physicist Janna Levin ’88; “Art, Sex, and American Culture” by English senior lecturer Pamela Cobrin; “Confronting Threat When Safety Concerns are Paramount” by psychology professor Steven Stroessner, and “Haiti in the Western Imagination: Of Poverty, Zombies, and Other Contagions,” by French professor Kaiama Glover.

Alumnae also had the chance to visit the newly spruced up the Spirit of the Greek Games statue, often referred to as "the Torchbearer" or "the Runner." It was cleaned and restored this spring, thanks to the senior gift from the Class of 2014. The iconic statue, donated by the Class of 1905 in honor of the 25th anniversary of the Greek Games, now stands refreshed from its pedestal just north of Barnard Hall.

The quad also features a new decorative fountain, dedicated Friday night by President Debora Spar, a gift from the Class of 2009 in honor of its fifth reunion; it includes rocks saved from the McIntosh Student Center. In addition, there was a dedication for the new space to recognize class reunion giving. In addition to the existing plaques Reunion Courtyard outside the Vagelos Alumnae Center, classes who now earn a plaque will have their it displayed on a wall outside Sulzberger Annex, across from Reunion Courtyard.

The weekend featured workshops and panel discussions on topics ranging from how to explore new career options to “Myth vs. Fact: An Alumnae Expert Discussion on Food, Health, and Wellness,” moderated by New York Times writer Melissa Clark ’90. On Friday, after an Alumnae Association lunch and update on the state of the College from President Spar, the Alumnae Association presented its awards for service, feminism, and distinction.

Among Saturday’s highlights was a storytelling show produced by The Moth, in which alumnae told stories about life-changing characters at Barnard; a performance by Barnard dancers; and Talks Across the Campus by Anna Quindlen ’74, and faculty members from Columbia College and the School of Engineering. The day capped off with a gala reunion dinner, at which iconic performance artist Laurie Anderson ’69 received the Woman of Achievement Award; and Elizabeth Kennedy ’99, the Young Alumna Award.

Sunday, a memorial service paid tribute to members of the Barnard community who have passed away this year or since the last milestone Reunion. The weekend concluded with several brunch events, including a Midnight Breakfast-style brunch for the Class of 2009, and a general family-friendly brunch, at which there was face-painting, arts and crafts, and a visit from Millie, the Barnard bear. 

For a photo panorama of Reunion 2014, click on the slideshow above.