The seed for an all-school reunion – the first of its kind in Saint Mary’s history – was planted more than two years ago during the first Centennial visioning groups.
“Alumni came up with the idea of have one big event. It became clear that a major finale was what fit the Centennial year’s schedule of events best, and it was decided that we would invite all alumni to Winona for a weekend of activities,” said Meg (Leuer ’97) Richtman, Centennial event coordinator and assistant vice president, Alumni Relations.
And the planning hasn’t slowed down since.
A bevy of activities are slated, with something for outdoor adventurers, music lovers, party seekers and even those looking to kick back and relax! The event, Richtman explains, is different from Homecoming in several aspects. For example, although reunion classes are getting together, other cluster reunions are also being organized. In what has become a national trend, university alumni are announcing their preferences for cluster reunions because they were friends with other alumni from more than just their graduating year. With new cluster reunions, teammates and classmates from surrounding graduation years can gather to reminisce.
Also new this year, class pics will be taken during the Friday evening gatherings and not at the picnic on Saturday.
Additionally, academic and athletic partners have created open houses for alumni to see how the university has grown and changed — and they will provide an opportunity to catch up with former faculty members and coaches. Student and faculty research will be presented, so alumni can see firsthand the academic accomplishments of our SMU community.
Yoga classes are planned so participants can reconnect with their spiritual selves in front of Saint Mary’s Hall, and a variety of outdoor activities are planned to capitalize on the beautiful natural surroundings of the Winona campus and the surrounding community.
Trolley tours of Winona will hit many of the old “hot spots;” a trip to SMU’s new Prairie Island Field Station is planned; canoeing and bluff tours are on the agenda; and the Goodview Gallop will once again wind through the wooded trails. The annual golf outing will be changed slightly this year with a shotgun start at 10:30 a.m. and new contests and games.
The Brothers will be recognized for their contributions to Saint Mary’s, and a special gathering is planned for all the current and past Brothers. And, the Centennial Gala Saturday evening will be an event like nothing SMU has ever seen before.
“To have this many people converging on Winona will generate a lot of excitement,” Richtman said. “Together we will make some amazing memories. At the end of the weekend, I want us to be able to say, ‘That was amazing, and I’m so proud to be a part of Saint Mary’s University.’”
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