Reunions weekend raises $65 million
3,500 alumni return to Charlottesville
About 3,500 alumni returned to Charlottesville for Reunions the past two weekends. The classes of 1957, 1962, 1967, 1972, 1977, 1982 and the Thomas Jefferson Society, made up of alumni who graduated more than 50 years ago, returned for their reunion June 1-4. The classes of 1987, 1992, 1997, 2002, 2007 and 2017 had theirs June 8-11. Attendance totaled around 5,200 people, including alumni and their guests.
Reunions weekends are a time for alumni to reconnect with classmates and the University. Returning alumni have lots of options about what to do while visiting the University. Cate Liverman, the Alumni Association’s director of reunions and class activities, helped plan the weekends.
“There are always academic programs, different faculty and alumni speakers talking about all sorts of topics,” Liverman said. “There are opportunities to reconnect with classmates — a lot of social activities, different receptions for student organizations and different class specific events, opportunities to reconnect with the University, whether that is a tour of the Rotunda or an opportunity to visit with President Sullivan at a special reception.”
One of the programs for alumni was a cocktail reception at the Rotunda. For many of the alumni, it was their first time seeing the renovated building.
“The first weekend we kicked off the weekend on Thursday night, which was June 1, with a Rotunda-side cocktail reception that President Sullivan helped host,” said Liverman. “She was there to welcome everyone back to the newly renovated Rotunda. We had student guides inside the Rotunda to talk about the renovations and just a really beautiful opportunity to invite everyone back to the heart of Grounds and to see all the changes there.”
Reunions are also a big time for alumni giving. According to Beth Bishop, the director of Reunion Giving, 5,532 alumni donated a total of $65,257,158 leading up to Reunions.This is a large increase from the donations the last time this group had a reunion.
“Five years ago this same group raised $45.9 million,” Bishop said.
The class of 1997 donated the most amount of money, with $25,006,361 raised. However, the class of 1962 had the highest class participation with 38 percent of the class donating.
Each individual alumnus can designate what his or her donation will be used for at the University, according to Liverman.
“My team is just really excited about how everything went and were receiving nothing but positive comments from alumni,” Liverman said. “There's nothing more magical than being on the Lawn with this beautiful full orange moon ahead and the beautiful lighting up and down the Lawn surrounded by your classmates. There's just really not a better feeling and we really captured that these past few weekends.”