This week approximately 3,600 Notre Dame alumni are returning to campus for Reunion 2018. The event spans four days packed with activities, both educational and fun, that give alumni a chance to reunite with friends, find out what’s new on campus, and even stay overnight in the residence halls.
As alumni can tell you, Reunion at Notre Dame is about more than nostalgia—it’s an opportunity to connect with each other, with the University, and with the educational experience that helped make them who they are.
“I’m looking forward to seeing people reunite. We’ll have alumni who haven’t seen each other in five, 10, 20 years, and you can see the joy on their faces as they reconnect,” says Mike Sullivan ’90, Senior Director of Alumni Programs with the Notre Dame Alumni Association. “That joy lasts the whole weekend. It might’ve been 20 years since you were a student, but it’s like you never left.”
The Reunion Refreshment Hub is a popular place for alumni to gather and catch up throughout the weekend and Sullivan says evening conversations often continue into the wee hours of the morning.
The agenda also features programming for both celebration and education. Entertainment includes the one-man play Sorin: A Notre Dame Story and Rocky Bleier: The Play, presented by the Class of 1968. The Laughing Irish Comedy Show, presented by four alumni performers takes place Saturday night. The ND Explores series features events at such campus locations as McCourtney Hall, Duncan Student Center, and Innovation Park, where alumni can learn about campus offices and initiatives.
Alumni also return to campus to keep learning, says Sullivan. “People want to stay connected to the academic mission of the University. Our alumni want to know about the University’s top research initiatives and, additionally, people look to Notre Dame to get insight into the big issues facing our society. Notre Dame’s uniquely Catholic perspective helps our alumni understand the world around them. Alumni want to be engaged academically beyond just the four years that they’re here.”
Reunion offers a wide menu of classroom seminars on topics that range from Memory, Aging, and the Brain to Christian-Muslim Relations in History. In addition, the Alumni Association is debuting a new series titled Fr. Ted Said. The event features TED-style talks given by Notre Dame professors and alumni experts, which, says Sullivan, “speak to Fr. Ted’s legacy around peacebuilding, international security, and human rights.” Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C., affectionately known as “Fr. Ted,” was president of Notre Dame from 1952-1987.
There will also be time for spiritual pursuits, including class Masses, a special service honoring veterans, Log Chapel tours, and time for visits to the Grotto and Basilica. “Many people feel so strongly affiliated with Notre Dame in part because of our spiritual mission,” says Sullivan. “All the opportunities for spiritual engagement make Reunion uniquely Notre Dame.”
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