It was a weekend of reminiscence, friendship, and sunshine as about five hundred—alumni and family members—convened on the Circle for Reunion 2019.
Alumni from graduation years ending in 4 and 9 returned on May 10–12, spanning the years from 1949 to 2014. Three returned for their seventieth reunion and thirteen for their sixty-fifth, while fifty reconvened for their fifth.
An important highlight of Reunion Weekend is the headmaster’s welcome and the presentation of Groton's two most esteemed honors, the Cui Servire Est Regnare Award and the Distinguished Grotonian. Sarah Sewall '79, P'19 received the Cui Servire Award for her career of service, including her work as Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights during the Obama Administration.
She accepted with humility, explaining that her life’s work never seemed like a sacrifice. “The award feels large and heavy and shiny, like a helmet that is too big or an overly dramatic garment,” she said. “That is because I think of service as demanding sacrifice, which is not how I have experienced my professional life.”
Sarah said she never had to search for her passion. “Problems and puzzles sought my attention and captivated me: The place of violence in international politics. If we can’t eliminate the state’s reliance upon military power, how can we make it less awful? The institutionalization of prejudice, hatred, and oppression across the globe. If it remains part of the human experience, how can we expose, educate and reduce it? . . . I was simply lucky or blessed to be steered toward what others might one day label a contribution,” she said.
Distinguished Grotonian Gardner Mundy '59 delivered a humorous speech, recalling comments by his Latin teacher, Hugh Sackett, who diplomatically referred to him as a “useful” member of his class. To Groton School, he was indeed useful, and then some. Gardner spent forty-two years as a form agent, writing letter after letter to keep his fellow 1959 graduates engaged with the school. And after he stopped, he became a sounding board for Headmasters Rick Commons and Temba Maqubela, frequently providing feedback on material they would send him.
Other Reunion Weekend highlights included a Groton Women's Network panel, the traditional Triangle Run, athletic games, receptions, and a gallery talk by former art teacher Beth Van Gelder, whose exhibit, "Gathering Beauty: Tribal Artifacts & Textiles," currently is on display in the de Menil Gallery.
Saturday afternoon also featured the annual Athletic Hall of Fame induction, this year welcoming cross country and track standout Aaron Cooper '94, as well as members of the undefeated 1950 football team, the 1978 boys varsity soccer team, and the 1994 girls varsity squash team.
Thanks to all the alumni who returned to the Circle for Reunion Weekend! Forms ending in 5 and 0, mark your calendars for May 8–10, 2020.