William Bucknell Society honors newest members.

By Christina Masciere Wallace

Great universities have great stories, and Bucknell is no exception. Faculty and alumni brought University history to life during the William Bucknell Society Dinner, held June 8 in New York City.

"Our Bucknell," a spoken-word choral history created and performed entirely by Bucknellians, was the highlight of the evening, which honored the newest members of the William Bucknell Society. Representing the highest level of donor recognition, the society includes alumni, parents and friends who have achieved outright lifetime giving to Bucknell of $1 million or more.

"Our Bucknell" traces the history of Bucknell since the University's founding through the present day and celebrates the accomplishments made possible by Bucknell supporters. Nearly 100 society members and special guests attended the performance, directed by Bob Gainer, associate professor emeritus of theatre, and written by Vice President for Communications Pete Mackey.

Professors Katie Faull, Carmen Gillespie, Bill Gruver, Barry Long and Joe Tranquillo teamed with John Bolger '77, Flor De Liz Perez '07, Janine Merolla '08 and Will Woods '11 to share highlights of Bucknell across the generations — from the founding of the University at Lewisburg to the first African-American and female students; from Civil War military service to Bison athletics. Musical accompaniment was provided by Christin Cooper '11 on the piano, Lauren Godfrey '11 on the flute and retired Bucknell staff member Zoya Jenks on the cello.

"What makes tonight's performance so special and so memorable is that it was our own," President John Bravman said afterwards.

"Our Bucknell" capped the festive evening at the Metropolitan Club, which honored the 38 newest members of the society (see box to the right). The dinner crowned three days of events and tours hosted by Bucknell faculty and staff for society members. The activities included outings to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Bridge and a Broadway show, all featuring presentations by Bucknell faculty and coordinated by the Office of Development and Alumni Relations.

"The University we know today simply would not have been possible without the leadership and generosity of Bucknell supporters," Bravman says. "We are the legacy of the founders. We are the generation now that will help re-found the school anew, for generations yet to come. That is our privilege, and that is our obligation."

To view President Bravman's speech, visit www.bucknell.edu/president.

"Our Bucknell" cast
Pictured above, from left to right: Joe Tranquillo, Katie Faull, Barry Long, Carmen Gillespie, Bob Gainer, John Bolger '77, Will Woods '11, Flor De Liz Perez '07, and Bill Gruver.

Posted: January 19, 2012