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Alumni Weekend 2017

Photos by Kathy Atkinson, Evan Krape, Kevin Quinlan and Doug Baker

Video by Jack Roberts and Jason Hinmon

Blue Hens of all ages flock to UD for the ninth annual Alumni Weekend

From Friday through Sunday, June 2-4, more than 5,500 alumni, friends and families of all ages returned to the University of Delaware’s campus for a weekend filled with nostalgia, fun and Blue Hen pride during UD’s ninth annual Alumni Weekend.

Friday, June 2

As alumni and families arrived on campus -- many donning UD gear -- they were greeted at the Trabant University Center and found many ways to demonstrate their Blue Hen pride. At the Gratitude Gazebo, volunteers offered donors a sincere thank you along with a “Proud Donor” pin to wear throughout the weekend. Couples who met at UD were recognized at the “Double-Del” station with a pin displaying intertwined hearts. And as messages of philanthropic impact and gratitude were shared via video, alumni were given their 2017 Alumni Weekend T-shirts and mugs, further extending the Blue Hen spirit in the air.

After picking up their registration materials, many guests headed straight to the residence halls on North Campus and East Campus. Greeted by enthusiastic UD staff, eager alumni settled into their rooms for the weekend and found their friends before heading down to The Green for Alumni Weekend’s most popular attraction, Dela-bration.

“Dela-bration is always a special time,” said Lauren Simione, interim associate vice president of alumni engagement and annual giving and a member of the Class of 1995. “It’s great to see everyone come back to campus to celebrate their love of UD and the difference it has made in their lives.”

Before Dela-bration, colleges, departments and affinity groups hosted receptions to welcome their alumni back to campus and offer opportunities for Blue Hens to reconnect with peers and faculty members.

Former football player Matthew Arenz of the Class of 2012 attended the Student-Athlete Alumni Reception at the Deer Park Tavern, an event he has attended almost every year since graduation.

“Last year I met a guy who played in the ’50s and ’60s and it was incredible just to talk to him,” said Arenz. “In general, it’s great to come back and relive college for a weekend. It’s like a taste of home again.”

At the College of Engineering Reception in Harker Lab, Dean Babatunde Ogunnaike shared his vision for the future of the college and all that has changed over recent years – from new faculty professorships to capital improvements. Ogunnaike credited many of these developments to the generous alumni who support the college through their service and generosity.

“When you left here as a new graduate, you took all of your UD experiences with you out into the world as you started careers and families, traveled or continued your education, and Alumni Weekend is a wonderful opportunity for you to bring your new experiences back to campus,” Ogunnaike said. “A Nigerian proverb says that no matter how far a river flows, it never forgets its source. We’re very glad to have you return to your ‘source’ for this annual event.”

Saturday, June 3

Saturday was a day for alumni to explore campus, engage in activities and reunite with their classmates. All seven colleges hosted showcase events, demonstrating their current work in fun and creative ways.

During “Chocolate Composites,” Melissa Jurist, an academic program manager in the College of Engineering, used chocolate to represent how different composite materials function and break under pressure, followed by a tour of the Center for Composite Materials. Up the street, alumni and children dined with YoUDee and Baby Blue at the family-friendly “Dining Hall Brunch with the Mascots,” and across campus on the Harrington Turf and Laird Turf, guests practiced mindfulness during a relaxing yoga session.

Marvin Stouffer, of the Class of 1964, attended the “Your Brain in Action” tour at the Center for Biomedical and Brain imaging. Stouffer, a retired engineer and avid UD donor, was impressed by the functional magnetic resonance image (fMRI) machine.  

“I support the Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering because that’s where I come from,” said Stouffer. “It’s interesting to see what the latest technology looks like and what it’s practical uses are.”

Reunions were held throughout the day, celebrating those in the 11 reunion class years, ranging from recent graduates returning for their one-year reunion to those who graduated 50 years ago. Many individuals celebrating reunions chose to make a gift to the University, cumulatively raising $1 million.

Double-Dels Susan and David Hutton of the Class of 1967, pictured in the photograph carousel below, were delighted to celebrate their 50th reunion back on campus, the place where they met three weeks into their freshman year.

“We’re really looking forward to reminiscing about old times and seeing people we knew when we were in school,” said David Hutton.

In addition to catching up with friends, they were especially excited for the bus tour of campus and to hear from Student Alumni Ambassadors about how campus has changed and what types of programs and research are housed in the new buildings on campus. “We’ve seen some of these new buildings, but it will be interesting to see everything all at once,” explained Susan Hutton.

Sunday, June 4

The closing day of Alumni Weekend brought out early risers, who gathered at 9 a.m. to run the Blue Hen 5K and Kids Fun Run. After coming up short to the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics last year, the College of Arts and Sciences reclaimed the Dean’s Cup, awarded to the college that has the greatest percentage of alumni participants. After the race, alumni packed up their cars and said good-bye to campus until the next time they return.

Overall, Alumni Weekend offered Blue Hens of all ages the opportunity to connect not just with each other, but with the University as a whole. To commemorate their love for UD and play a role in its advancement, many attendees chose to make a gift to the University. Click here to learn more about Alumni Weekend or here to make a gift in support of UD.

For additional Alumni Weekend images, see the UD in Photos galleries.

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