Alums return to The Woods for Reunion
June 25th, 2014 | Betsy Wells
A weekend of laughter, friendships, reminiscing, joyful tears and warm embraces – that’s what Reunion at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) means to the nearly 300 alums and guests who reunited at The Woods June 20-22, 2014. Many of them said that when they see their classmates again, they pick up right where they left off the last time they were together. It’s as if they were never apart. Reunion 2014 marked milestone celebrations for the classes ending in “4” or “9.”
The weekend began Friday evening with the 1964 Golden Jubilee Reception for those celebrating their 50th Reunion and a welcome dinner for all, followed by a presentation of the May 2014 alumnae trip to Italy. Saturday met alums with a Walk in the Woods tour through the construction of the Jeanne Knoerle Sports and Recreation Center, due to be completed by the end of the year. Alums also received a campus update from President Dottie King, Ph.D. and a tour of the new nursing center in Hulman Hall, followed by the Reunion Banquet.
Each class was recognized at the banquet along with two special award winners. Marcia Reder Schmidt ’72 received the Frances Murphy Rumely Award for demonstrating outstanding dedication to civic, religious or educational organizations and leadership through her volunteer work for such organizations. Gail Thomas McKenna ’63 received the Saint Mother Theodore Guerin Award for possessing similar purpose, devotion, community vitality and leadership as exhibited by the College’s foundress.
A range of alums attended, with the oldest, Dorothy Callahan Heiny ‘39, at age 97 and three alums from the Class of 2009.
“This is my first Reunion, and it’s always good to find an excuse to come home, as we like to call it. It truly is a home away from home,” said Amanda Trimble Lindley ’09, class secretary and member of the Alumnae Board. “It has been such a great time being with all of these incredible women of all generations. And getting to see them all wear the same ring and have very similar stories from different years, it’s just amazing to be a part of.”
Alums traveled from near and far. Tel yo “Christine” Yoshida '64 even came all the way from Japan for her 50th Class Reunion.
“It’s very exciting because this is my first time after graduation to come here,” said Yoshida. “After so many years, it is good to be back.”
The Class of 1964, with over 50 of their alums at Reunion this year, celebrated the weekend by reaching their goal of $1 million in giving to the College over the past year. In the history of the College, a jubilee class has never reached that amount over the course of a year until now.
“When you talk, you get ideas. From ideas, you get excitement. From excitement, you get results,” said Mary Ann Kelly Hellmann ’64 of the success of the campaign, adding that the love for The Woods had a lot to do with it too. “I noticed that connection of wanting other people to have what you have and wanting it to still be here.”
Why did I return to The Woods for Reunion?
“From the first moment I stepped foot on this camp, I felt like I was at home, and that’s why. You got to keep coming back home. It is a beautiful, very special place.”
-Beverly Snyder Thompson ‘64
“The camaraderie of the group. I also went to 16 years of school with the Sisters of Providence, and I feel very close to them.”
-Mary Margaret Monks ‘64
“I was interested to see our school … to see what was here when we were in school survive for 50 years … and to see what’s been done – the growth and the buildings.”
-Mary Murray Booth ‘64
No matter why the alums returned, one thing was for sure - the connections that they made while at The Woods are connections that last a lifetime. For this Reunion weekend, alums took a moment from their busy lives to revisit their past and relive their memories. For this weekend, they came home.