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Run-up to Reunion 2008

From coast to coast and class to class, the reunion buzz is spreading.

Northwestern alumni across the country are busy preparing for a weekend of reminiscing and reconnecting when they return to Evanston for Reunion Weekend, Oct. 17–19. This year, the classes of 1963, 1968, 1973, 1978, 1983, 1988, 1993, 1998 and 2003 will head back to campus for the reunion festivities.

And, for possibly the first time in Northwestern's history, alumni celebrating their 50th reunion — the class of 1958 — will join the other classes for Fall Reunion. (Until this year, most 50th-year classes have celebrated in June during Commencement.)

As in years past, highlights of the weekend include the Friday- and Saturday-evening class parties, Classes Without Quizzes on Friday afternoon and Saturday's tailgate and Homecoming football game. This year, alumni will be cheering on the Wildcats as they take on the Purdue University Boilermakers.

For 10th-year reunion committee co-chair and New York City resident John Paul Lussow (WCAS98), the sight of Ryan Field is sure to bring back special memories. The 'Cats were Big Ten Conference champs in 1995 and co-champs in '96, going on to play in the Rose Bowl one year and the Citrus Bowl the next. "Those years were very poignant for everyone at Northwestern," says Lussow, who traveled to both games with a posse of his Sigma Chi fraternity brothers and other friends. "A lot of us felt that it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend those games, and we share that bond."

It may be memories of those years of incredible team spirit that spurred Lussow to create a class of '98 fundraising goal that he admits is lofty. At $300,000, the goal is significantly higher than that of the typical 10th-year class gift, but Lussow is undaunted. "Our aim is bold, but it's also achievable with the right amount of effort," he says.

On the West Coast in Agoura Hills, Calif., 30th-year reunion committee co-chair Karen Zak Kent (WCAS78, G78, D82) is also catching purple fever. A "huge Northwestern fan," Kent and her husband, Evan, enjoyed a November 2007 trip back to Evanston to see the men's basketball team play a home game against Stanford University, Evan's alma mater. Kent has fond memories of riding the parade float at her 25th reunion and says she's looking forward to seeing far-flung classmates who will be traveling to Evanston from across the country for Reunion Weekend.

She's also excited about being back on campus again. "I love seeing the changes at Northwestern. The University has given me so much, done so much for me, and I love seeing how it has changed and expanded each time I go back," Kent says, adding that she toured the new soccer and lacrosse stadium, completed in 2007, during her November visit.

As with reunions past, Norris University Center will serve as the hub of activity for the weekend. Norris will also be the site of Friday's Reunion Welcome Lunch and Half Century Club Induction, which has moved to the fall for the first time in 2008. Campus bus tours will depart from Norris, and shuttles from Norris to other campus locations and area hotels will run throughout the weekend.

To find out more about Reunion Weekend or to let your classmates know that you plan to attend, visit

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Deering Meadow
Reunion alumni celebrate on Deering Meadow during the 2007 festivities. On Oct. 17 members of reunion-year classes will gather on Deering Meadow for one of the welcome receptions that kick off Reunion Weekend 2008. Other Friday evening activities include a Reunion Welcome Reception at the Hard Rock Hotel and a young alumni party in Chicago.Photo by Andrew Campbell
Class of 1997
Members of the class of 1997 celebrate at their class party last fall. On Oct. 18, members of reunion-year classes will celebrate in 10 different locations in Evanston and Chicago as part of Reunion Weekend 2008.Photo by Heather McConahey Shaffer (C97)