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Record number of visitors return for Alumni Weekend

Over 4,000 visitors, including almost 3,000 alumni, came to Alumni Weekend this year, marking the highest number ever, Alumni Association officials said.

"We're expecting next year to be even larger," said Jason Life, Alumni Association class director of trustees and reunions.

The Class of '89, with 21 percent in attendance, had the highest percentage of participation, Assoc. Director of Alumni Affairs Wayne Cozart said.

"Over all, 18 percent of the total who could come of all classes attended," Cozart said. "This is very high."

Life attributed the increasing number of participants to several factors, including alumni themselves and increased numbers of events, as well as activities for children.

"Alumni tell their classmates they had a great time and next time they come and bring their friends-it's a growing tradition," Life said.

The Association offered a number of children's programs this year due to feedback from the 15th and 20th reunion year alumni "that wanted to come but needed help with their kids," he said.

Children were able to watch movies, play sports and participate in other activities with the help of programs by IM Rec Sports, the libraries and the Bailey Art museum, he added.

The most popular events during the weekend included class dinners, Lawn procession reenactments by class year, and a barbecue in Mad Bowl, Life said.

Prominent alumni visiting that weekend included former Virginia Gov. George Allen and CBS Correspondent Wyatt Andrews, from the Class of '74. Also in attendance were Michael Vitez, 1997 Pulitzer Prize winner for Explanatory Journalism, and Today Show Anchor Katie Couric, from the Class of '79, he said.

"I've attended and given a seminar at virtually all of the Reunion weekends, but this one was special to me since it was my own 25th reunion-CLAS '74," said Larry J. Sabato, government and foreign affairs professor. "While I wondered who all the senior citizens were at my class gathering-turns out they were my classmates-we had a terrific time catching up and poking fun at one another."