May 09, 2011


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By Gigi Marino

LEWISBURG, Pa. - This past weekend, more than 2,000 Bucknell University alumni and families from around the world returned to campus to connect with each other, and with retired and current professors and students. Reunion, a four-day series of events, featured Alumni University classes, receptions for alumni with common interests, and celebrations of alumni achievements and giving to the University. || Photo galleries and videos.

Attendees represented classes celebrating their fifth through 60th reunions. The Class of 2006 had the greatest ratio of participants with 37 percent attending, as well as the most classmates attending: 341.

"Our alumni are very engaged with Bucknell, and that is so evident during Reunion Weekend," said Kristin Stetler, associate director for Alumni Relations and the Career Development Center. "They love to connect and share stories -- with classmates, faculty and student ambassadors. They reminisce about the past, but they also love hearing about the University's plans for the future. Reunion is a tribute to Bucknell's lasting impact on the lives of our alumni."

Alumni U - From Diamonds to Peanut Butter

Along with recreational activities including yoga and a canoe trip on the Susquehanna River, alumni went back to the classroom through "Alumni U," a series of seven lectures by alumni and current and retired faculty members.

President John Bravman opened Alumni U with a discussion of everyday uses of engineering in his talk, "Diamonds from Peanut Butter: A Brief History of Airplanes, Computers, Golf Clubs and Just About Everything Else." Other Alumni U courses explored the beginning of early Christian culture and art in Rome, campus architecture from the Civil War to the Great War, campus master planning, Bucknell's impact on students' lives and careers, the life of legendary baseball player Christy Mathewson and his family, and effective negotiation.

Reunion Rally

Reunion Rally was held on Saturday. A theatrical, musical and multimedia production, it featured Bucknell student performers and celebrated class giving and Alumni Association Award recipients.

The Class of 1961 garnered top honors for giving participation, with 56 percent of members giving $360,609 to the Annual Fund and more than $4 million to the University overall so far in fiscal year 2011. The Class of 1981 received the Reunion Cup for the highest amount of money raised for the Annual Fund, $393,195. The Class of 1986 received the Unity Cup for having 344 donors. In total, Reunion attendees celebrated 2011 gifts and commitments totaling nearly $17 million.

Four Alumni Association awards were presented to alumni at Reunion Rally:

  • Loyalty to Bucknell Award -- Clifford "Micky" Melberger graduated in 1961 with a bachelor's degree in business administration and in 1962 with a master's in education. Melberger was an outstanding halfback and team captain of the 1960 football team that won the Lambert Cup. He and his wife, Ruth Ann, are vice chairs of the Bucknell Campaign, have hosted the first-year Bison Gathering for several years, fund a scholarship and underwrote the high-definition filming of the Rooke Chapel holiday concert that was shown nationally last year. Melberger also served as the leader of this year's 50th Reunion class program and gift committee.
  • Award for Outstanding Achievement in a Chosen Profession - David Kahn graduated in 1951 with a degree in political science. Kahn, an author, scholar and journalist, is best known as a leading historian of cryptology. He has taught courses on intelligence at Yale and Columbia universities and has testified before Congress. He worked for Newsday from 1960 to 1968 and serves on the boards of trustees of the National Cryptological Museum, the International Intelligence History Association and the International Spy Museum.
  • Award for Service to Humanity -- Mary Child Smoot graduated in 1981 with a bachelor's degree in business administration. Smoot has been a longtime volunteer with the National Hemophilia Foundation and is actively involved in encouraging the Centers for Disease Control to address the issue of safety with the nation's blood supply. She volunteers for numerous organizations and is the chief financial officer of Sky Blue Soccer.
  • Young Alumni Award - Barbara Black Leauber graduated in 1996 with a degree in biology. A physician's assistant in pediatric nephrology at Geisinger Medical Center, Leauber is an advocate for rural children who suffer from kidney disease. She also is an active Bucknellian, chairing both her fifth and 15th year Reunions, and she has served as the Advisory Board Chair of Kappa Alpha Theta since 1999.

Also during the weekend: 45 student ambassadors talked about their experiences as current Bucknellians, and David Boger, Class of 1961, received the Travel Award for coming from the greatest distance -- 10,342 miles, from Victoria, Australia.

Contact: Division of Communications

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