By Kiera Reilly, C’93
Twenty-five years ago the Penn Class of 1993 celebrated their last week on campus as Penn students with a wonderful slate of activities for Senior Week. Then we participated in our first Alumni Day by marching down Locust Walk in the alumni parade of classes. After individual school graduation ceremonies during the weekend, the Baccalaureate service, and dinners with family and friends that were in Philadelphia for the celebration, we gathered in Super Block, processed through campus and down Locust Walk, and entered Franklin Field for the University’s 237th Commencement ceremony.
Classmates shared many photos with us, and this is only a selection from the day. It was the last Commencement ceremony for Penn President Sheldon Hackney as he left Penn to serve as the head of the National Endowment for the Humanities. He and wife Lucy were awarded honorary degrees. Our Commencement speaker was the new First Lady of the United States, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
We were blessed with beautiful weather, a celebratory atmosphere and memories to last a lifetime.
As many of us are returning to campus this weekend to celebrate our 25th Reunion, we are looking back fondly at photos that trigger happy memories of our time at Penn and the lifetime friends we made at this very special University.
Classmate Brian Newberry stated beautifully why this time in our lives was so special and why we are returning to campus this weekend:
Reading the postings in this forum (our Penn Class of 1993 Facebook group) over the past several months and especially over the past few weeks as more and more people began sharing memories got me thinking about why a reunion like this has such appeal to so many. We had about 2,200 graduates in our class and close to a 1,000 or so are in this forum alone. I remember once years ago, it may even have been just after graduation, flipping through the yearbook and doing a very rough count of how many people in our class I actually knew. It was around 300 – and I used a very generous definition of “knew” – so it isn’t because most of know most of us.
Even the postings in here show how different so many of us were and are, with our lives taking all kinds of various paths since 1993 never mind the fact that an urban school with 9,000 undergraduates has so many silos it was easy to get lost in them as students and never cross paths with most of your fellow classmates in the first place.
So what is it? Why the appeal to suddenly get together for a few days with some old friends plus a cast of strangers? That age, late teens to early 20s, regardless of background, is the crucible of what makes someone into who they are for the rest of their lives. Each and every person you experience that with becomes, in their own way, special to you, even if you never see them again. Likewise, anyone who shared that same environment with you, even if you didn’t know them, shares a kinship forever and that bond has some type of magical appeal.
Relationships and experiences. That is what matters most in life, something I hope we all realize by this age. … It is inevitable in the human experience I suspect regardless of what you spent your time doing at that age. All of us, even if we have never met each other, share our own common experience from that same crucial era and what are memories except a chance to relive an experience, preferably a pleasant one and what is a reunion but a chance to make those experiences come back to life for a few days?
So I want to thank everyone who has contributed here and I genuinely hope to meet all of you at some point next weekend.
Enjoy this stroll down memory lane.
Maceo Grant shared this photo of him and his mom at the College graduation ceremony.
After gathering in Super Block, we began to walk through campus on our way to Franklin Field. We passed by the reviewing stand with Penn President Sheldon Hackney, the honorary degree recipients and the Commencement speaker, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.
We can’t believe it’s been twenty-five years, and we can’t wait to celebrate with classmates and fellow alumni from across the decades this weekend.
Meet me at the Button!
Penn Class of 1993 25th Reunion Countdown
The weekend of May 4 – 5, marked 1 week until the 25th Reunion of the Penn Class of 1993 (May 11 – 14, 2018)! Meet us at the Button!
Join us we count down the weeks to our reunion #93tothe25th:
- Follow us on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram.
- Classmates are invited to join our Facebook and LinkedIn groups.
- Donate to The Penn Fund in honor of our reunion! We want to break the 25th reunion participation giving record and every gift matters!
- Book your hotel room or AirBnB now! See our class website for details.
- Tag all of your social media posts #penn1993 and #pennalumni!