Reunion Weekend 2017

The ’2s and ’7s return.
Commencement was over, seniors had departed from campus, and it was time to put the big white tent on the Upper Field to another use: hosting Reunion Weekend 2017. This year, the much-anticipated event belonged to class years ending in 2 and 7; members of those classes arrived in large numbers to reconnect with old friends and teachers in the Ojai Valley.

The Class of 1967, which was celebrating its 50th reunion, was the first to show up. They arrived at Casa de Piedra on Wednesday and promptly saddled up for the ride to Patton’s Cabin, where they stayed the night together before returning Thursday evening to join the remaining weekend festivities.

On Friday, the rest of our alumni—representing every single 2 and 7 class from 1952 to 2012— arrived for a full slate of campus activities. In the afternoon the 50th Reunion Luncheon and Tour brought folks together in the Library Courtyard, where they received their coveted hats. And the 50th Reunion Horseback Ride, open to everyone, brought alumni out to the barns, fields, and trails that they once knew so well.

The evening continued with a cocktail party for members of the Boot Hill Legacy Society at Michael Mulligan and Joy Sawyer-Mulligan’s home, along with mingling and drinks on the Pergola for the rest of the guests. Class barbecues were hosted at individual faculty homes and at the Dining Hall, depending on graduation year, giving everyone a chance to catch up.

This year, a special tour of the newly-renovated Thacher Observatory was also on the docket; Dr. Jon Swift, the director of the Observatory and a math, astronomy, and physics teacher, led the tour and introduced alumni to his vision for the future of the astronomy program and the Observatory’s role in hands-on, applied learning and research.

Friday closed with dessert, drinks, and live music on the Pergola. Tunes were provided by Thacher music teacher Alan Thornhill and his musical partner Martin Young.   

Saturday brought with it brunch, horseback riding, trap shooting, school tours, lectures, and a co-ed soccer game during the daytime hours. In the classroom, alumni were generous enough to lend their insight and expertise to the following lectures:

  • Teens, Parents, Schools, and Thacher: What We Know That Eludes Others (Head of School Michael Mulligan)
  • Thacher’s First 125 Years: Community and Campus Leadership (John Taylor CdeP 1965)
  • How NASA and the NFL are Transforming Cancer and Autoimmune Disease Care (Dr. Andrew Holman CdeP 1977)
  • National Security Threats and Challenges and the Trump Administration (Dr. John Lenczowski CdeP 1967)
  • “The Greater Good”: A Conversation About Nonprofit Board Service and How Thacher Alumni Can Serve (Gretchen Milligan P ’00, ’02; Phil Pillsbury CdeP 1967; Bob Johnson CdeP 1967; and Guadalupe Nickell CdeP 1992)

Out at the trap shooting range, it was a record-breaking day with 67 alumni and guests shooting on fifteen squads of trap. Steve Kanaly and Chris Van Son P ’15, ’16 oversaw the range and noted that the weather—cloudy and dark, with some drizzling rain and temperatures in the low sixties—was great for shooting. Quinn Hacker CdeP 2007 had the highest trap round of the day with 23/25 and the class of 1977 earned the highest class team score with 72/125 thanks to members Peter Downey, Tim Bowman, Bill Arnold, Tom Crozier, and Steve Hills. Student assistants and Brian Golbère P ’19 were also on hand to help.

In the evening, everyone made their way down to the Upper Field around dusk for the traditional Alumni Banquet. Mike Voevodsky CdeP 1982 served as emcee for the night while the following alumni gave memorable class toasts:

  • Clint Pooley CdeP 1952
  • Roger Coates CdeP 1957
  • Skip Porter CdeP 1962
  • Phil Pillsbury  CdeP 1967
  • Jim Moffitt CdeP 1972
  • Steve Hills CdeP 1977
  • Sophia Julien O’Neal CdeP 1982
  • Jenn Crittenden CdeP 1987
  • Marcus Stokes CdeP 1992
  • Kate Smith CdeP 1997
  • Jane Kwett CdeP 2002
  • Brooke Wharton CdeP 2007
  • Margot Hughan CdeP 2012

The entire gathering also gave an impressive, and heartfelt, standing ovation to Cam and Lori Schryver in honor of their impending retirement after almost 30 years as the heart and soul of Thacher’s Horse Program. After the meal guests made their way to the Pergola for hours of live music and dancing, featuring the musical stylings of Charlie Limousine.

Sunday meant more brunch and horseback riding, along with the Memorial Service led by Reverend D. Andrew Kille CdeP 1967. The attendees, perched in the enclave of the Outdoor Chapel overlooking the Ojai Valley, listened as he spoke of stories—stories of our own lives, of the lives of others, and of our communities—and the ways that they give meaning and shape to our lives. (You can read his full remarks here.) 

Here’s to a fantastic Reunion Weekend—and to the stories written at many future gatherings!
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