Tuesday, May 16, 2006

SJLA reunion recap

This past weekend's SJLA reunion was less traumatic than I had expected. There were only a handful of representatives from my class - five of us, I believe. Overall attendance was down a bit from last time. I think there were fewer than 60 alumni present this year, while at our last reunion in 2001 there were over 80, at least as far as I can tell from this photo.

With most class reunions you find yourself reunited with many people you know, once knew, or sort-of knew, all of whom shared common experiences at the same time. The SJLA reunion is a different sort of animal: alumni were present from many different years, from the early eighties to the class of 2005, and through these years the program had been constantly changing and evolving. Classes had been added to or dropped from the program, professors had come and gone (and in some cases, died of old age), and the overall tone of the program had varied slightly as the precise mix of students, professors, and subjects had changed.

We had "Back to the Classroom" sessions, our choice of three half-hour mini-classes out of six that were offered. I chose the three that were being presented by my former professors. They were all-too-brief, and while I was the only representative of the class of 1989 present at any of my sessions I came this close to meeting several interesting younger women who were in the same groups as me, including an M.D. who deals with geriatric patients and a newly-minted kindergarten teacher. Alas, the half-hour sessions didn't give enough time for interaction and we quickly found ourselves travelling in different directions for our next sessions.

Our lunch (on the fifth floor of Brennan Hall) was followed by several more presentations by professors and alumni, which led to a discussion session that I had to skip to attend a memorial Mass for my uncle who died last year. (Scranton is only 25 miles from Nanticoke.) I returned for cocktails and dinner, which I mostly spent in the company of my fellow members of the class of '89.

So in the end the reunion was not as traumatic as I expected, but at the same time it was less stimulating than I had hoped. (The stimulation would have been a function of the trauma, so the two go hand in hand.) Still, I walked away with some ideas (most of which can be summed up with the words "SJLA blog") that I'd like to work on a bit before I relay them to Father McKinney, head of the SJLA program. And I'm definitely looking forward to the next reunion in 2011!

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