Salem Academy and College welcomed more than 300 alumnae and guests to campus April 14 and 15 to celebrate Reunion Weekend 2023. The weekend offered a full schedule for all attendees and particularly honored the classes ending in both 3s and 8s, with the Academy and College both bringing impressive groups to campus in celebration of the classes of 1973, marking their 50th reunions.
Following a registration period on Friday afternoon, reunion goers were given the opportunity to again experience class at Salem—but this time without worrying about grades—through the “My Favorite Lecture” series, presented by Salem faculty both past and present as well as Salem staff and alumnae. This year, Salem Academy offered “The Tale of Two Journeys,” presented by Katherine Knapp Watts C’80, Virginia Hart A’75 and Martha Johnston Manning A’73 and “Remarkable Women of Salem,” taught by Michelle Hopkins Lawrence, current Academy faculty (History). Salem College presented “Vitis Vinifera: The Biology and Chemistry of the Wine Grape” with Dr. Craig Miller and “How to Draw Main Hall” with John Hutton, Ph.D.
Late Friday afternoon, Salem hosted its annual Founders Day celebration, featuring a parade of alumnae representatives from each Reunion class and all members of the 50th Reunion classes A’73 and C’73, as well as a procession of Salem Academy and College seniors donning their graduation caps and gowns. The event’s keynote address was given by Ruth O. Davis, IBM Director of Call for Code, the largest and most ambitious open-source “tech for good” platform, bringing together worldwide developers and problem solvers to address the most pressing societal issues.
Also during Founders Day, the recipients of both Oak Awards were announced. The Oak Award is presented annually at Founders Day to the seniors who, during their four years at Salem Academy and Salem College, respectively, made notable contributions to the quality of life at Salem. The award recognizes both outstanding leadership and scholarship.
This year, the Salem Academy Oak Award went to Kaitlyn Gyamfi and the Salem College Oak Award went to Gregoria Arreola-Meza.
Friday ended for both the Academy and the College with all-class parties that took place on campus. During the middle of the College party, Royse Ann Day C’22 received the call that she had been accepted into medical school at the University of Kentucky, and President McGee, Ph.D., CPH was thrilled to announce this to the crowd!
During Saturday of Reunion Weekend, classes gathered for breakfast and all 3’s and 8’s classes posed for class photos before attending their respective alumnae association meeting and awards luncheons. A special treat was having Genny Beaver Kelly C’48 in attendance, in celebration of her 75th reunion! Also on Saturday, President McGee provided institutional updates including recent enrollment successes, strong retention at both the Academy and College, recent curricular innovations and more.
As is tradition, alumnae awards were presented during these events, and the winners were:
- Distinguished Alumna Award—Jan Stickley Brady A’73
- Alumna Service Award—Ina Blackmore Kamenz A’73
- Young Alumna Award—Molly Mae Potter A’03
- Distinguished Alumna Award—Lisa Herron Bankoff C’73
- Alumna Service Award—Holt Long Morris C’88
- Young Alumna Award—Alex Avril Klein C’08
Reunion Giving was also announced during these luncheons, with impressive results for both the Academy and the College. At Salem Academy, the Class of 1973 took top honors in both percentage and total giving, coming in at 54% and a total of $72,650. For Salem College, the Class of 1973 had the highest percentage of giving at 32%, and the Class of 1968 brought in the highest dollar amount at $339,106!
Saturday afternoon gave all attendees a chance to enjoy campus, visit the Mercantile and shop the “Salem Bazaar,” filled with wares and goods from both Salem alums and current students. Academy alumnae were given a treat when current Salem Academy students served as tour guides of campus and specifically Babcock Hall. Academy alums loved seeing that the “Tag Room” is still alive and well. Additionally, alumnae and their guests were also given several opportunities to view the “Journey to Salem” documentary in Huber Theater, and beloved Salem College Professor of Biology, Steve Nohlgren, was remembered with a beautiful bench dedication at the Lily Pond led by his family.
The weekend’s festivities wrapped up with Golden Alumnae Dinners to honor and celebrate the Classes of 1973 from both the Academy and the College, and all classes then took part in organized evening events held off campus. As it always is, Reunion Weekend was full of hugs, laughs, old stories, new memories and enjoying being together on Salem’s gorgeous campus.