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Virtual Weekend Had Something for Everyone

Reunion Weekend 2021 was like none other in the history of McDonogh School. Hosted by the Office of Alumni Engagement from April 22-24, it was the first-ever virtual celebration. Because guests could connect with their classmates and the School from wherever they were, it offered a greater opportunity for participation from alumni across the country and around the world. But, as everyone agrees, there is nothing like a campus crab feast and seeing old friends in person.

The nine Reunion Weekend events and 18 milestone year class parties (including those classes that could not celebrate last year) were attended by hundreds of alumni, representing most graduation years from 1950 to 2020. The class with the greatest attendance was the Class of 2016, celebrating their fifth reunion.

Reunion Weekend Events and Links to Recordings
Reunion Weekend 2021 kicked off on Thursday, April 22 with a Welcome Event featuring a performance by the Upper School Improv Class and a fascinating discussion with award-winning journalists Robin Hamilton ’91 and Luke Broadwater ’98, moderated by Josh Jones-Dilworth ’98.

Friday morning began with an Equestrian and Cavalry Reunion celebrating McDonogh’s unique history on horseback. The day continued with the State of the School presented by Head of School Dave Farace ‘87 with input from Alumni Board President Josh Thomas ’06, President of the Board of Trustees Rob Young ’86, Head of Upper School Merritt Waskey Livermore ’91, and Associate Director of Philanthropy Erika Seth Davies ’94. Later, guests were invited to experience A Day in the Life of Hybrid School. In addition to a fascinating discussion about the transition to distance learning last spring and the hybrid 5-3-2 model used this school year, attendees also got a sneak peek into a live Upper School history class taught by Bridget Collins ‘90.

In honor of their 50th reunions, the classes of 1970 and 1971 enjoyed a trip down memory lane with faculty member and storyteller Jon Aaron ’72. It was followed by an Alumni Memorial Service and Retreat Ceremony which focused on the two milestone years.

Four recipients of the Young Alumni Award: Nimrita Sidhu Bhatia ’07, Joshua Thomas ’06, Terrell Winder ’07, and Courtney Vaughn ’11 were recognized for their achievements and contributions that have positively impacted their profession, community, and McDonogh at an evening ceremony.

The day wrapped up with the classes of 2016, 2011, 2006, 2001, 1996, 1991, 1990, 1986, 1985, 1981, 1980, 1976, 1975, 1971, 1970, 1966, and 1965 reunion celebrations. (The Class of 1956 celebrated several days earlier.)

On Saturday afternoon, guests tuned in for a discussion on the 50th Anniversary of Full Integration. Black alumni representing four different decades (Norman Parker ’73, Kim Chambers ’82, Kimberly Warden Lewis ’91, and Mike Smith ’15 ) spoke about the journey and shared their perspectives on the past 50 years in a panel discussion moderated by Erika Seth Davies ’94.

The weekend concluded with a virtual gathering of visual and performing arts alumni who enjoyed the opportunity to reminisce with each other and members of the arts faculty including Jon Aaron '72, Kevin Costa, Oletha DeVane, Suzi Eldridge, Ilona Kessell, Don New, Philip Olsen, Toni Stefano, Sue Tanury, Kara Zimmerman, and Match Zimmerman '02.

Reunion Weekend Giving
Many thanks to the following classes for their generosity to McDonogh School in honor of their milestone reunions:

The Class of 1976 established a scholarship in honor of their classmate Howard S. Klein. Prior to Reunion Weekend, Klein’s classmates surprised him with the announcement that more than $105,000 has been raised in his honor. It was a gesture they were compelled to make for their beloved friend who has been a cheerleader for the School since his days as a student. The 45th reunion effort, led by Doug Silber, Mario VillaSanta, Steve Breeden, Stacey Boyer, and Kip White topped the previous record-setting gift from the Class of 1976 five years ago. 

The Class of 1975 raised $105,000 for the T. Patrick Dulany '75 Fund. They reached the $100,000 minimum to establish the fund and will receive a $50,000 matching gift from the grandchildren of Irv Naylor ’54: Leah Naylor-Ickes, Chet Naylor ’02, and Sarah Naylor ‘07.

The Class of 1970, in the second year of their 50th reunion celebration, raised over $850,000 for the McDonogh Fund and scholarship.

In honor of their 55th reunion, the Class of 1966 offered a generous $55,000 match during the April Gratitude Challenge to show appreciation for their McDonogh education. Their gift inspired others to give.