“It’s the little things,” said Jeff Haidet ’97, as he looked through the window of Curtis dining hall during Reunion Weekend. “Like that pathway wasn’t that wide,” he said pointing to the brick walk that winds past Herrick and makes its way to Curtis and beyond. The walk used to be made of red brick, too.
Shortly afterward, Haidet’s college buddy and Alumni Council president, Casey Chroust ’97, arrived for dinner. Chroust has changed, too, of course, from his days as a star on the Big Red basketball team. Now he arrives with his wife and their two young boys: 2-year-old Caden and 3-month-old Caylor.
A lot has changed in 15 years for the members of the Class of ’97, who were on campus to celebrate their 15th reunion last weekend. Heck, a lot has changed since the Class of 2008, celebrating their 5th, walked across the stage at Commencement. (And for those in the Class of 1963, who were at Denison to celebrate their Golden 50th, the place, in some ways, may look like a completely different school.)
On campus, there are new buildings and new professors and new programs. In their personal lives, there are new jobs and new spouses and new talents and new babies. And that’s part of what the weekend is all about, seeing the ways in which graduates and the college itself have evolved over time. As President Dale Knobel told the audience that assembled in Swasey for the Alumni Convocation on Friday evening: “If you come back to campus and it is exactly as you left it,” said Knobel, “your college has failed you.”
But then there are all the wonderful things that are still the same. The things that never seem to change. David Woodyard ’54 is still teaching in the Religion Department. The Swasey bells still chime. Casey Chroust is still likely the tallest guy in his class (and we’re guessing he’s still pretty good on the court, too.)
The more than 1,000 alumni and families that came to campus for Reunion Weekend 2013 were here to revisit their old stomping grounds, to tour campus and see the ways in which it has grown and adapted to the times. They came to eat and drink and dance. But they also came to see the people that took the journey with them. Because the relationships that were built here seem to be part of the list of things that never change, years—and sometimes decades—later.
(You can also browse and download photos from the entire weekend on Denison’s Flickr photostream.)