On their connecting flight from Washington, D.C., Dale Kaiser '78 and Sheila Lamont '78 reminisced about their Oswego days en route to their 30th college reunion. It was a pretty typical ride for the old friends traveling from Knoxville, Tenn., and Boulder, Colo., until another passenger chimed in.
"SUNY Oswego?" he said. "I'm Class of '78!"
It was a classmate from California on the same flight.
The Oswego Alumni Association's annual Reunion festivities drew a record-setting 1,100-plus to campus June 6 through 8. Classes, clusters, Greeks and friends came from all over the country and world to revive the good vibes from their collegiate experiences.
Kaiser and Lamont joined their pals Jack Ottomanelli '78 and Sean Denvir '78 as the four have done every five years since they graduated.
"It's the great experience I had here," said Kaiser while attending the "Come as You Were" barbecue and bonfire at Fallbrook. "I've had a pretty good life, but those were the most fun four years."
Major events like the Fallbrook barbecue, "Picnic on the Lake" and "Taste of Oswego," drew several hundred members of all classes while the Golden Alumni Society, Class of 1968 and silver anniversary Class of 1983 had more intimate get-togethers.
Many attendees came to catch up with friends or catch a sunset on the lake. Even for circles that have stayed close since graduation, gathering on campus makes for a special experience.
"It's nice to come back here and be together in a familiar setting," said Sherrie-An Brutsman Nacke '98, who spent most of her weekend with former roommates Cheryl Webster Crounse '98, Molly Casey St. John '98 and Kate Monroe Follen '98.
John '58 and Pauline Blanchard Hamann '57 met as students and married, as did their friends Liz Durie Bakenhus '58 and her late husband, Warren '58. John, Pauline and Liz returned for Reunion 2008 together.
"We've stayed in touch all these years," Bakenhus said at the Bon Voyage Breakfast.
In addition to special events for the classes of 2004, 2003, 2002, 1998, 1983, 1979, 1978, 1977, 1968, 1963, 1958, 1953, 1948 and 1943, Greek organizations held cookouts, receptions and other events for their members of various years.
Many Greek alumni coordinators reported large crowds during events that ran concurrent with Reunion Weekend. Alpha Sigma Chi celebrated its 85th anniversary while Alpha Delta Eta, Beta Tau Epsilon, Delta Chi, Delta Kappa Kappa, Phi Lambda Phi, Sigma Tau and Theta Chi Rho all hosted reunion events that often draw current members and those with more distant pledge years together.
"It's one thing to see their face on a composite photo, it's another to meet them in person," current Delta Kappa Kappa President Tom DiRoma '10 said.
Fraternity and sorority brothers and sisters also made for a memorable Saturday night at the Elks Lodge in the city of Oswego. More than 500 turned out for a performance by Edge of Darkness, a reunited band of 1960s alumni.
A full Reunion photo gallery is available online here.
- Shane M. Liebler and Michele Reed
Upper photo: There was plenty of time to reconnect and reminisce with old friends at events like the "Picnic on the Lake."
Lower photo: Fun and games were included on the menu at a Caribbean-themed "Taste of Oswego" event.
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