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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Class reunions: Reconnecting and reminiscing


Aggie alumni create new memories

It has been a little over a week since Kelly Healy graduated from the UC Davis School of Law, and she is already finding new ways to stay involved with the university as an alumna. Healy got to know many of her classmates while serving as the former vice president of the Law Students Association, and she is looking forward to reconnecting with them at future class reunions.

“It’s really kind of a fun place to do law school because we have this camaraderie,” Healy said. “Knowing that you have such great friends and wonderful classmates really helps get you through it. Being able to come back and visit […] is a cool thing.”

45 years ago, Rex Hime was similarly involved in extracurricular activities during his time at UC Davis for both his bachelor’s and his J.D. Since graduating from the UC Davis School of Law in 1972, he has managed to keep in touch with many of his classmates but said class reunions provide a more intimate get-together. Hime is currently serving on the reunion planning committee to help organize his 45th class reunion in October.

“Even though you try to stay in connection with a lot of people, life moves us all accordingly,” Hime said. “Reunions [are] a chance to catch up for all of the years of absence.”

University-coordinated reunions are held for the School of Veterinary Medicine and the School of Law. Celeste Borelli is the manager of external relations for the School of Veterinary Medicine and she begins the coordination and planning of class reunions nine months in advance. Planning is already underway for the 50th reunion of the Veterinary Medicine class of 1967.

“Our oldest classes […] are at the stage in life where they’re reflecting on their career,” Borelli said. “The stories they share are very emotional and they show their gratitude for their education.”

Both the School of Veterinary Medicine and the School of Law organize one combined reunion for all of the classes reaching five year milestones, from five years to 15 years to 45 years. Usually, each of the classes will also coordinate a separate get-together. Borelli said watching the classes interact is one of the most memorable moments of a class reunion.

“When we have the 20th class come back to celebrate their 20th reunion and they see the 50th class here, there’s a huge amount of respect and pride,” Borelli said. “They see themselves in 30 years. It’s really seeing that they’re following in the steps of leaders before them. At the same time, for the 50-year [class], they see the next generation coming behind them and they start to serve as mentors.”

Serving alongside Hime on the class of 1972’s 45th reunion planning committee is John York, who decided to help out as an excuse to contact people he has not talked to in a while. York said he has attended every previous class reunion.

“I knew everybody in law school, some far more intimately than others,” York said. “Law school is an intense experience. You spend a lot of time with people late at night, early in the morning, weekends. You have memories that last a lifetime — I’m watching it in my own son.”

The class of 1972’s reunion will occur during Homecoming weekend. Plans are currently underway for university-led tours of the law school, both combined and class dinners as well as attendance of the Homecoming football game.

In addition to reconnecting with classmates and revisiting the campus, class reunions promote the continuation of the progress and success of the university, according to Jin Kim, the associate director of alumni relations and annual giving for the School of Law.

“Without our alumni, our university would not be where it is today,” Kim said. “Our alumni are a huge support for our recent graduates [and] they’re a huge support for our current students. They are engaged in different ways — they give talks, they provide career advice, they provide jobs, they provide referrals.”

Kelly Healy said a lot of her classmates have received jobs through alumni and the large presence of alumni involvement is one of the reasons the School of Law is so special. According to Kim, combined class reunions allow alumni to look back and appreciate their experiences at the university as well as look to the future.

“Bringing [classes] together fosters a very comprehensive spirit of appreciation for the school and a sense of camaraderie, as well as a high level of pride for what they’ve contributed to the school,” Kim said.


Written by: Hannah Holzer – features@theaggie.org


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