Campus welcomes 7,500 alumni and guests during Reunion Homecoming

The four-day celebration of all things Cardinal will include the fourth annual Roundtable, moderated by Charlie Rose. It also is expected to attract record attendance for a 50th reunion class, and a significant number of recent alumni. 

Some 7,500 Stanford alumni and their guests will return to campus beginning today, Thursday, Oct. 22, for the annual Reunion Homecoming.

The four-day celebration of all things Cardinal includes such highlights as the fourth annual Roundtable on Saturday, Oct. 24, from 9:30 to 11 a.m. in Maples Pavilion. Renowned interviewer Charlie Rose will moderate the discussion, "The Road Back: From Economic Meltdown to Renewal."

Roundtable panelists include:

Tickets for the event are free for faculty, students and staff with a university ID and for Reunion Homecoming participants with a Reunion nametag.

50th-reunion record

Although overall reunion attendance will likely be down from last year's 8,729, the Class of 1959 is expected to break a 50th-reunion class record with nearly 800 alumni and their guests returning to campus.

Leslie Winick, director of alumni and student class outreach in the Stanford Alumni Association (SAA), attributes the 33 percent increase in 50th-reunion interest to the fact that the Class of 1959 has historically been one of Stanford's most remarkable classes in all realms – strong class leadership, heavy involvement in high-level university volunteer roles and a sense of class community that is exemplary.

"One member of the Class of '59 told me, 'You know, Leslie, the thing about life is that you become what you experience. We all want to know who we have become and can’t wait to see each other for the reunion.' The Class of '59 has created a special bond and incredible connection," Winick said.

Young-alum interest increases

There's also been an increase in interest among young alumni. A special program created five years ago to encourage their attendance has resulted in a skyrocketing in pre-registration. More than 400 alumni from the classes of 2005 to 2009 have pre-registered for Reunion Homecoming, and even more are expected to attend events this weekend.

Howard Wolf, '80, vice president for alumni affairs and president of the Stanford Alumni Association, attributes the jump in attendance among young alumni partly to efforts to communicate about reunion on social networks, including Facebook and Twitter. SAA has responded to the needs and interests of young alumni with new programs, including programming supporting networking and career development.

This year's Reunion Homecoming also features efforts at increased sustainability. SAA has emphasized online registration and information and is working with caterers to ensure that as many sustainable products as possible are used and then composted. Reunion updates will be available on a special iPhone application.

Campus volunteers thanked

Wolf said SAA is grateful to the 1,960 faculty, staff and students who will volunteer during Reunion Homecoming. Especially important are faculty members who will teach about 70 Classes Without Quizzes – a popular staple of Reunion Homecoming for many years.

Activities will wrap up Sunday with the annual Cardinal Society Luncheon, during which Howard Wolf will induct the Class of '44 into the Cardinal Society, which honors alumni who have celebrated their 65th anniversary of graduation from the university. The Classes of '39 and '34 also will be honored as they celebrate their 70th and 75th reunions.

For more information, visit the Reunion Homecoming site.