Come As You Are

As I write this, it still feels like winter in New England, and I am dreaming of the summer, which for me, will kick off in Williamstown during Reunion Weekend, June 8-11. I can’t wait to see those of you in classes ending in 2s and 7s—including my class, the great Class of 1987—back in the Purple Valley.

In June, please come as you are, in your dirty car and with whatever baggage you have—don’t worry about where you are and what you’ve done.

If it’s your reunion year, I’m sure you have received several updates about the weekend. The one memo you won’t be getting is the one that says you should come back only if you have the perfect life—none of us does. We’ve all gone down different roads; we’ve all had adventures and setbacks, and it’s interesting to see: Gray hair or no hair? Family or plenty of time to yourself? Mansion or cheap-to-heat studio? Career or still trying to figure out what you want to be when you grow up? Paying off student loans or managing investments? Me, I finally bought a starter house that will probably be my only house, with hand-me-down furniture that I’ve had since my first apartment. I was a late bloomer, and I feel lucky to now have a 7-year-old daughter whose energy and antics keep me young. For three decades, it has been the support of my Williams friends that has enabled me to weather the ups and downs of life.

While reunion is a time to get back to our roots and reconnect, it is also a time to branch out—to renew and rediscover. You will be surprised to find that you will meet new people and make new friends. Just as you are not the same person you were five, 15 or 25 years ago, neither is anyone else. Things that may have separated us years ago—where we went to high school, where we lived on campus, what team we were on—have faded away, and in their places is an opportunity to connect in a whole new way, to discover the diverse experiences we have had and the similar stages of life we are going through. You might find that as you age, you talk about different things, and it is often surprising what the unifying forces are—success, failure, heartbreak, passion. What is it that you are dealing with right now? I can bet that others in your class are in or have been in a similar spot.

Although a lot has happened since graduation, the ties that bind us as alumni and classmates are stronger than the forces that may have swept us apart. In June, please come as you are, in your dirty car and with whatever baggage you have—don’t worry about where you are and what you’ve done. Come back, with all the mixed emotions you might have returning to any of the places you have called home. Let’s get together under the tent, face to face, to catch up, re-meet each other and share some laughs. Let’s celebrate the times we shared and the people we were, and let’s find out who we have become. See you there.

—Jordan Hampton ’87, President, Society of Alumni

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