Stanford alumni arrive Thursday for Reunion Homecoming

The "heart and soul" of the Oct. 23-26 event are class reunion parties and class panels in which alumni share real-life experiences. The annual gathering also features Dinner on the Quad and the 2014 Roundtable at Stanford, "The Climate Conversation You Haven't Heard."

L.A. Cicero reunion balloons

More than 9,700 people are expected to attend this year's Reunion Homecoming, which begins Thursday.

Reunion Homecoming, which opens Thursday, is on track to establish a record-breaking attendance – more than 9,700 people, including 7,000 alumni – for the four-day event, according to the Stanford Alumni Association.

This year's Reunion Homecoming is a gathering of the "4s" and "9s," people who graduated in 1954 and 1959, 1964 and 1969, up to 2009. This year, Stanford alumni will honor the Class of '49 at the Cardinal Society Luncheon.

The oldest alum returning to the Farm for festivities is 102-year-old Dr. Ephraim Engleman, a member of the Class of 1933 who will celebrate his 81st reunion.

More than half of the Class of 2009 are expected to attend Reunion Homecoming.

Alumni will arrive from all over the United States and from 16 other countries: England, Germany, Singapore, Egypt, Ethiopia, Greece, Brazil, Spain, Sweden, Belgium, Australia, Switzerland, South Korea, China, Turkey and India.

Leslie A. Winick, director of alumni and student class outreach at the Stanford Alumni Association, said the "heart and soul" of the annual event are the class parties – which will range in attendance from 200 to more than 1,000 people, and are taking place all over campus – as well as class panels.

"Class panels, which feature classmates sharing their real-life experiences – the good stuff and the challenging times – are a particularly meaningful part of Reunion Homecoming, because they create room for authentic connections between classmates," Winick said.

Winick said the University Multifaith and Alumni Memorial Service, which is held in Memorial Church, is one of the most beautiful events to occur during Reunion Homecoming. The service, which will be officiated by Jane Shaw, dean for religious life at Stanford, will feature choir and organ music and will offer participants a time to honor alumni who have died.

President John Hennessy will welcome alumni and guests on Friday morning in Maples Pavilion. He will be followed by the 2014 Roundtable at Stanford, "The Climate Conversation You Haven't Heard," a panel moderated by 60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl.

The Oct. 23-26 event features a multitude of tours, including a look at the unique art pieces, social spaces and glass-walled laboratories inside the new Shriram Center for Bioengineering & Chemical Engineering, the fourth and final building in the new Science and Engineering Quad.

During Reunion Homecoming the Stanford Book Salon will host an in-person discussion with Stanford lecturer Anthony Marra on his bestselling wartime novel, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena.

Alumni also will take the time to honor four classmates who will be inducted into the Multicultural Alumni Hall of Fame: Emory M. Lee, '59, MA '64; Augustus A. White, III, MD '61; Christy Haubegger, JD '92; and Chris E. McNeil Jr., '70, JD '78.

The Reunion Homecoming program also features the ever–popular "Classes Without Quizzes," taught by Stanford scholars, including:

  • "Cool Hands, Hot Performances – Better than Steroids and Legal," by H. Craig Heller, biology
  • "Listening to Silence, Seeing Absence: The Challenge of Reconstructing Chinese Railroad Workers' Lives," by Gordon Chang, American history, and Shelly Fisher Fishkin, English
  • "Our Freshwater Future: Advancing Earth Imaging," by Rosemary Knight, environmental geophysics
  • "Lights, Nano, Action: New Optical Nanomaterials for Improved Solar Cells, Medical Treatments, and Invisibility," by Jennifer Dionne, materials science and engineering
  • "Medieval Manuscripts in the Digital Age," by Elaine Treharne, English, and Zephyr Frank, history.

Alums will be able to cheer Stanford sports teams, including Women's Volleyball vs. University of California, Los Angeles, on Friday, and Stanford Football vs. Oregon State University on Saturday.

The reunion ends with this year's Founders' Celebration from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday at the Cantor Arts Center. The celebration honors Jane and Leland Stanford, who established the university in memory of their son, Leland Stanford Jr., who died at 15 of typhoid fever while traveling in Italy. Stanford opened its doors in October 1891 after six years of planning and building.

During the Founders Celebration, there will be special docent tours of the newly reinstalled Stanford Family Galleries and a special exhibition of Stanford family ephemera in the Cantor Arts Center auditorium. Visitors also will be able to take advantage of the rare opportunity to visit the Stanford Mausoleum.