Returning to an alma mater is educational in many ways, according to Ron Bancroft, who wrote about the experience of accompanying his wife Sally Bancroft ’66 to her 45th reunion here at Wheaton.
In his essay for the Portland Press Herald, Bancroft says that what distinguishes Wheaton’s celebration is that it combines reunion with commencement. The pairing is ideal as it “brings the graduating class and the reunion classes together in a nice multi-generational way,” he explains.
The resonance of the combination is exemplified by the processional at the start of commencement. The graduating class leads the way, but stops short of its seats to welcome returning alumnae/i, who also march with their class banners (see above). It is always a stirring moment. Said Bancroft:
It was a wonderful weekend and is an endearing ritual. These commencement-reunions remind us of the best of our youth and reconnect us with the best of today’s youth.
The experience left him with one question: “Why are we doing this only during reunions that come along every five years?”