Penny Watras Dana K'78 after Reunions Letter
October 26, 2007
It's been several months since our All-Kirkland Reunion. The organizers, in concert with those who have since joined the group, have been working to synthesize all that happened and hammer out our next steps.
The weekend was a great success – 231 Kirkland alumnae, friends and faculty attended. Since the college graduated 1,100 women, the turnout was phenomenal. There is so much to say about the Reunion. The quick version is that attendees fell into two groups:
- Women who have maintained some relationship with Kirkland-turned-Hamilton professors or the Hamilton Alumni Association over the years.
- Women for whom this was the first time back.
For those who renewed a relationship with Hamilton some time ago, the feelings of anger and alienation have mostly or entirely vanished. These women want to maintain a relationship with Kirkland alumnae and Hamilton College, recognizing the ways in which the Hamilton of today reflects the Kirkland we remember.
For those who haven't been part of anything related to Hamilton since 1978, the weekend was bittersweet and more emotional. Of this group, some left the Hill with no desire to be part of Hamilton or a yet-to-be-defined alumnae working group. Others found the weekend to be a great catharsis, expressing interest in being part of some sort of affiliation. Sam Babbitt probably summed it up best when he said, "some people chose door number one; others chose door number two."
This letter is written on behalf of those of us who chose door number one. We are in the midst of creating a group of women who want to stay connected to one another and craft a visible, enduring, official and vibrant Kirkland presence on the Hamilton campus. To date, our agenda includes:
- Building Bridges, Making Connections: Kirkland Alumnae can serve as important mentors and advocates for women who want and need our wisdom and support. In that spirit, Wendy Lefsetz Morris, K'77 and Cassandra Harris-Lockwood, K'74 recently led a group of women students at Hamilton to the National Women's Hall of Fame for the induction ceremony. How fitting that the birthplace of the women's suffragette movement, Seneca Falls, N.Y., was the site for creating linkages between women who were once educated on the Hill and those currently studying there! The trip was underwritten by the Kirkland Endowment and has sparked the interest of other Hamilton women.
- Setting goals for the Kirkland Endowment and other Kirkland-related sources of funding, and work with the Hamilton administration toward implementation.
- Crafting ways to contribute our thoughts on upgrades to Kirkland buildings and grounds.
- Organizing, identifying and growing the Kirkland Archive, with its own dedicated physical space.
While we have tossed around other ideas, we are cognizant of the many commitments each of us have. Therefore, we are planning projects and events that can be realistically attained.
This email is going to all Kirkland alumnae, whether or not you were able to attend the Reunion. We do want to include as many as possible in the information chain. From the perspective of cost and time, email is the practical way to stay connected to one another. We have dedicated space on the Hamilton website www.hamilton.edu/alumni/kirklandcollege and plan to develop this as another option for staying updated. Please check the site regularly. In addition, we have the foundation of our own independent internet group, established during reunion planning. If you'd like to join our "Mac group", please send me an email and I will happily forward an invitation to you.
The 43 women who comprise the Committee for Kirkland College are keenly interested in building upon the momentum generated at our most recent Reunion. We are open to offers of help and your input is welcomed.
- Please forward this email to Kirkland friends who have not been in touch. When you do, please copy me, so these names can be added to our expanding list.
- Please let me know if you would like to be part of organizing any of the initiatives described above.
- If you have not updated your information with the College recently, please consider doing so through the on-line Alumni Directory or by calling the Alumni Office at 866-729-0315. Should you choose to phone, you will be able to specify whether you would like to receive ONLY Kirkland mailings or both Hamilton/Kirkland materials.
In a very real sense, we are shaping the future of our Kirkland legacy on the Hill, and we want to include everyone who wants to participate in this exciting process.