Reunion Spotlight: Class of '58

Fiftieth-year class prepares for half-century celebration.

Since the class of 1958 has the distinction of being the 100th to graduate from Northwestern, the University has invited its members to return to campus in the both the spring and the fall.

In addition to accompanying the class of 2008 in the 150th procession and Commencement ceremony at Ryan Field on June 20, the class of 1958 will also celebrate with nine other classes during Reunion Weekend, Oct. 17–19. As part of the celebration in October, the University will induct the 50th class into the Half Century Club at Friday's Reunion Welcome Lunch at Norris University Center. The class will also be honored at a special Sunday brunch at the John Evans Alumni Center.

Reunion committee co-chair Ron Sims (C58) says he's delighted about the expanded opportunities to celebrate with his class. (His wife and 1958 classmate Greta Maerkle Sims [WCAS58] — the pair got "pinned" at Northwestern in 1955 — is also a reunion committee co-chair.) Ron Sims is looking forward to catching a glimpse of life on the Evanston campus.

"It's great to be back at Northwestern in October, because you get to see students walking around on campus and excited about the new school year," Ron Sims says.

When the class of 1958 graduated from the University, seniors gathered in McGaw Memorial Hall for Commencement (the event is now held at Ryan Field).

Reunion committee co-chair and Life Trustee Martha Grimes Mabie (WCAS58) is quick to point out that she and her classmates went without some of the amenities that today's students enjoy. "Now they have shuttles that take you up and down Sheridan Road, but back then we walked. I was frozen a lot of the time," Mabie says.

Despite the chilly Evanston winters, Mabie has fond memories of her freshman year in Shepard Hall, of pledging Alpha Phi and of professor Bergen Evans' remarkable English class. (Evans, who lectured at Northwestern from 1932 until 1974, taught an immensely popular American literature class.)

Ron Sims, for his part, anticipates that those classmates who haven't visited campus in recent decades will be astounded by the dramatic changes to its geography. Indeed, the land that today makes up the lakeside campus did not exist until 1962. "It's fun to take people around because they literally can't believe what they're seeing," Sims says. He's encouraging classmates to return to campus for both the June and October festivities, and he promises that the Reunion Weekend class party in October will be rich in reminiscences and rife with good humor.

Sims and Mabie both plan to start celebrating a momentous year by walking in June's Commencement exercises. Guests of the class of 1958 will sit in the Stadium Club at Ryan Field during the ceremony and attend a dinner for the class following Commencement.

For more information about Reunion Weekend and the reunion celebrations for the class of 1958, please visit