Dear Alfred University students, staff, and faculty:
On Monday, August 23rd, classes commence for the 2021-22 academic year, the 186th in our University’s history. After having completed the 2020-21 year with 55 percent of our classes held in person and 25 percent in hybrid fashion, we are looking forward to being back almost fully to the Old Norm of in-person classes while maintaining the safety of our campus community.
That optimism was buoyed last weekend, when we hosted our annual Alumni Reunion festivities. After last year’s Reunion was cancelled due to COVID, it was a joy to see several hundred alumni and their loved ones return to campus.
Reunion 2021 featured a number of events, including:
- A presentation by Kian Merchant-Borna ’07, a faculty member with and head of industrial-based research for the University of Rochester Medical Center’s (URMC) Department of Emergency Medicine, who discussed his team’s role in the development and clinical trials of the now popular and widely used FDA approved COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test.
- A “State of the University” address.
- An ROTC/Veterans/Military breakfast program. Dillon Smith ’19, MS ’21, military/veterans affairs director and academic coach at Alfred University, spoke about our University’s efforts to grow programming for veterans as well as active duty members of our nation’s Armed Services. Following the breakfast, we dedicated a bench underneath our carillon in honor of alumni who have served in defense of our nation.
- A “flash mob” dance, choreographed by Katie Barlow ’11, which popped up during the alumni cocktail hour Saturday afternoon.
- A sand-sculpting lesson taught by Eric Jones ’97 that created a distinctive, albeit ephemeral, feature on our quad.
The weekend was inspiring in many ways, none more so than by the generosity of the Alpha Kappa Omicron sisters, who announced their commitment to underwrite 30 new student Saxon Circle members over the course of this academic year. The Omicron sisters also challenged fellow Alfred graduates who were part of other sororities or fraternities to meet or exceed their philanthropic culture-building efforts on behalf of our University. Thanks to the Omicron commitment, we now have 715 founding members of our Saxon Circle leadership-giving society, including 106 students and 57 employees.
Please join me in thanking all those who made Reunion 2021 so successful a gathering, especially Janet Marble and the other members of our University Advancement team. We now look forward to planning Reunion 2022, when even more alumni and friends will return to our Magic Valley.