“My little campus has grown up.“
That was what my wife Suzi said yesterday as we walked through the new dining hall at her alma mater, Mount Holyoke College.
We’re at Mount Holyoke for Suzi’s 25th reunion, and like any other college (including my alma mater, Utica College), things have changed over the years.
We’ve seen a lot of scaffolding over the years, but I think we were both pretty astounded by the dining hall, which replaced the tradition of serving meals in each of the dorms.
But the college didn’t just change tradition, it went big about it. The dining hall is huge, beautiful and has so many options that Suzi said I’d be able to find something. (I’m a notoriously picky eater.)
From what we heard, it also sounds like the college also axed its tradition of nightly milk and cookies, which caused considerable consternation among the late-night gaterhing at a nearby bar.
In a few years, a central dining hall will be all Mount Holyoke students will ever know, and milk and cookies will be something older graduates talk about.
The weather’s supposed to be pretty terrible today, but yesterday was great.
As we were walking around the lake, Suzi said this time of year, when the weather is good, was always her favorite on campus.
It’s pretty easy to see why.
Mount Holyoke reunions are serious affairs.
They’re held graduation weekend, and include a parade, and while any alum can come, they’re geared toward grads in five-year intervals, including dorms set aside for members of particular classes. Twenty-five years still rates a dorm on the edge of campus, but it’s not that far of a walk.
Every time I’ve come, it feels like at I’m a distinct gathering, rather than a series of loosely joined events.
As the spouse, I mostly just hang in the background, even though I’m friends with several of Suzi’s friends. It’s her gig; I’m along for the ride.
But it’s fun.
Suzi was in a couple signing groups in college, so she decided to take part in the alumni choir singing last night.
During rehearsal yesterday afternoon, I was amazed at the detail with which the conductor, Jim Carpenter, who was Suzi’s choral director in college and lives in Wisconsin now, was leading the group, given that he had a little more than an hour with a group which was performing that night.
He even talked about how long they should break for a comma in the music. Imagine how much he could have dug in if he had another hour.
Here’s a bit of the finished product.
The concert was in Abbey Chapel, which will always be the linchpin for me of any trips to Mount Holyoke.
The college is part of my life because it’s part of Suzi’s, but the chapel is even more so because that’s where we got married in July 2002.
The college’s organist, Larry Schipull, was our organist, and we had our reception on campus at Willits-Hallowell Conference Center.
And I’d do it all over again.