Reunions 2004 – Gathering of Kirkland College Alumnae

Reunions 2004 was an occasion for alumnae of Kirkland College to reconnect with one another. A range of activities were held and included a Kirkland reception hosted by Professor Doug Raybeck at his home which was attended by President Joan Stewart; an Open Mic event entitled "Changes – A Kirkland Conversation"; an Alumni College, "Nation Building - Winning the Peace," featuring expert panelist Maria Zammit K'74; recognition for retiring Alumni Trustee Sue Morgan '72 and renewed personal connections supported by class reunion planning chairs Maria Zammit and Tasha Panarites Coconis '79. An e-article about the Open Mic event, authored by Kate Faison Spencer '79, follows:

We had a very energetic meeting about Kirkland, reconnecting with each other and with Hamilton, at the recent Reunion '04. Twelve women from the Class of '79 registered for the weekend, and there were ten who attended this discussion, joined by three Kirkland '74 graduates and a male '79 class member. There were two Hamilton contacts at the meeting, Erin Martinovich, who organized the reunion events for our class of '79 and Doug Raybeck, currently a Hamilton anthropology professor and fondly remembered as one of the outstanding Kirkland faculty members.

The intention of the meeting was to explore the impact of the Hamilton/Kirkland merger on each of us. As we spoke, it was immediately apparent that issues raised were largely due to poor communication between Hamilton College and Kirkland students since 1978.

By bringing our various perspectives to the meeting, with the assistance of written communication from Sam Babbitt, we were able to finally understand the chronological course of events in their wider historical context. Each direct communication was met by the group with the spirit of cooperation, as we heard about experiences of Kirkland student, faculty member and alumna from 1978 forward. Erin fielded questions about contemporary processes at Hamilton. Her presence was invaluable, and has already proved instrumental in the construction of possible responses at the college. Some simple but meaningful changes are anticipated in the Hamilton database, website and magazine as a result of being heard.

As Sam Babbitt describes the current situation in writing: "Many of us who were at Kirkland have had conflicted feelings about all that transpired in the difficult years when you were students on the Hill. The good news is that Hamilton College is, today, so welcoming to Kirkland people and so open in their acknowledgment of the part that Kirkland played in the evolution of Hamilton over these past decades. It was not always so, and to find it there now is a matter of great delight - and it augurs well for the health of the institution."

For those alumnae who are still looking for a glimmer of Kirkland in the Hamilton institution, some exciting new prospects now exist. Without prescription or expectation on my part, allow me to invite you to come back through the open door.

Kate Faison Spencer '79

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