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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Williston-Northampton 2018 Reunion

Dear Headmaster Hill,

I can’t remember when I first began thinking of my 50th Reunion at Williston. Maybe June 7, 1968. I never expected this great event of 2018 to turn into such a big disappointment. Williston is in my blood. I was one of those rare 8th grade five-year students, one of two in the class of ‘68 to return as a faculty member, and am in continual contact with classmates.  I have always loved reuniting with classmates in Easthampton in June. Why was the reunion changed to May?

I am not adverse to change; heck we were the class of change in a decade of change. Girls were gradually merged into Williston Academy during our senior year. In 1968, the world was changing around us at a rapid rate with too many assassinations, a war, a divided nation, and drugs.  Williston had been our constant in an ever-changing world, our sanctuary as we were changing, too. Change is not the issue with the decision to have Alumni weekend held on a weekend in May instead of June; it is the decision, that’s the problem. Students will be on campus. It is Mother’s Day weekend. Other schools in the area will be celebrating graduations. That’s not Alumni Weekend. I am very disappointed in the decision. I don’t remember being asked about the change as an alumnus about Alumni weekend. Were alumni involved in this decision about changing the date?

In past reunions, we stayed in the dorms, we wandered the dorms, revisited rooms we lived in for a year, roamed the passages that began our journey in life. It was affordable housing, too. Now we can’t do this in our 50th year. The campus is not ours on Alumni weekend. Dorms will be off limits, as will other places to congregate or stay. Where will we gather if not the common rooms, classrooms, nooks and crannies of our old school on reunion weekend? Distant hotels? It’s called Alumni weekend for a reason. It is for the alumni to gather on a shared ground to reminisce and reunite; it is a reunion, a retreat.

Finally, what has the turnout been like for reunions since this decision was made? I’m curious if the numbers of returning alumni in May is lower than prior reunions that were held in June? I would suspect so and attribute the low turnout to this poor decision of moving our reunions from the tranquil quiet weekend in June to the hectic chaotic weekend in May.  I won’t be there. I won’t be contributing to the Alumni Fund. After all, this isn’t personal; it’s business. I hope the school reverses it’s ill-advised decision and reschedules reunions to June so I can return to my beloved Williston on Alumni weekend. I look forward to that.


Theodore D Nellen ’68 F ‘79

I will be posting this letter on my Blog. Classmates, this missive and/or blog address may be shared with other Willies and others in the W-N community as appropriate via email or Facebook.  I don’t have Facebook.


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