Williamstown Mini-Reunion October 2015

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Mini-Reunion 2015: Executive Summary

Climb high, Climb far… and we did! Hopkins Gate and West College

Williams created its annual fall Mini-Reunion primarily for classes approaching their 50th, but any alum can attend the excellent presentations scattered throughout this fall football weekend. (Williams 16, Bates 14. For classmates more familiar with golf than football…Williams won.)

The ’68 Reunion Fund Committee took advantage of the number of classmate members gathered in Williamstown, holding a lively and information-packed meeting Saturday morning.

Thursday evening, ’68 locals and earlybirds finely dined at Mezze on Cold Spring Road. Friday, our classmates mingled with four other classes for a Williams Inn reception and dinner. The ’68 Saturday evening tour, reception, and dinner at Field Farm was the weekend’s crown jewel.

Mini-Reunion 2015: Campus-wide Presentations

Provost and professor of philosophy Will Dudley and deputy director of admissions Liz Creighton tag-teamed their mind-opening presentation Access & Affordability: Admission and Financial Aid at Williams Today. Highlights:

Williams is more than just “need-blind.” Unlike most colleges, Williams is also “need-seeking,” search nationally and internationally for high-achieving, low-income (HALI)students
The actual annual per-student cost to Williams: $100,000
The annual cost to students with no financial: $61,000
Because of Williams significant financial aid commitment, the average annual net cost to students: $15,000
The annual net cost to HALI students: $0
Faculty lectures assured that the Mini-Reunion featured something for everyone. Professor of Russian Darra Goldstein described The Visual Culture of Food, and Professor of English Alison Case contrasted with From Narrative Theory to Practice: The Writing of Nelly Dean. (Who was Nelly Dean? If you non-English-majors promise to read to the end of this Mini-Reunion wrap-up, we promise to reveal the answer.*)

Mini-Reunion 2015: Presentation to the ’68 Reunion Fund Committee

Dean of the College and professor of physics Sarah Bolton talked candidly about (1) sexual violence and dating violence, and (2) the College’s initiatives to assure that every student understands how to take full advantage of their years at Williams.

First, Dean Bolton explained the impressive programs Williams has initiated to prevent sexual violence and to protect and counsel victims. One example: training faculty members about what to say and what to do if a trusting student confides that she or he has been a victim of unwanted sexual aggression.

Second, the Dean described students who don’t take full advantage of their Williams experience because, for example, they

don’t speak up in class.
don’t develop personal relationships with faculty.
don’t register to take tutorials.

Williams is working with faculty and administrators to identify and work with students who, for whatever reason, appear not to be taking full advantage of the educational opportunities available to them.

Breaking news…On July 1, 2016, Professor Bolton will become President Bolton of the College of Wooster. Her bright presentation to the Reunion Fund Committee made it clear that Ohio’s gain will be Williams’ loss.

Mini-Reunion 2015: Field Farm Follies

Tom Nicholson serves on the board of The Trustees of Reservations, the stewards of Field Farm. Classmates who attended Saturday evening’s exclusively-for-68 festivities were delighted to explore this treasure of a property: http://www.thetrustees.org/places-to-visit/berkshires/field-farm.html

The evening began with a tour of The Folly, the smaller house on the 316-acre Field Farm nature preserve. The whimsically charming structure was designed with curves centered on a central silo. Classmates were lured up the hill to the larger Guest House by the promise of traditional refreshments and a refreshing docent lecture on Field Farm’s history. The catered dinner was served, avec camaraderie, under a cozy tent.

The Toms (Nicholson and Pierce) and the Joneses (Bart and Sherm) and E.J. Strassburger, Ned Perry, and spouses Cathy Nicholson, Lu Ann Dillon, Debbie Jones, Erma Jones, Mona Strassburger, and Cynthia Wood opted not to spend the entire night in the tent. Instead, that less-than-hardy crew lodged in the warmer Guest House for the weekend. Their unanimous review of Field Farm, the breakfasts, the natural landscape with modern-art statues, and the entire experience: “Just do it!”

*Who was Nelly Dean? Ellen Dean is the main narrator in Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. Nelly, as most people in the novel call her, gives the reader her account of interactions among the characters.

Reflecting on our past and future – the new entrance to the Clark Art Institute

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