Reunions for alumni of Harvard School for Boys and Harvard-Westlake will now occur in May in an effort to create a more individual atmosphere for each class, Director of Alumni Giving Greg O’Leary said.
The reunions, which will now always be on the third Saturday of May, will span half a day. In the afternoon, alumni will have the option to attend a fair that displays student research, independent studies, visual and performing arts showcases and work from the Kutler Center for Interdisciplinary Studies classes.
Afterward, alumni can attend a cocktail reception in the Feldman-Horn gallery, where they will be able to meet alumni from other years.
Each class will then meet for a separate reunion dinner at a location on campus.
Alumni will be able to volunteer to help customize these dinners however they want, O’Leary said.
“We’re going to encourage people to think outside the box, and they don’t have to do anything if they don’t want to, they can just come and have dinner, but if they want to add something to it that’s personal to their class, they can do that,” he said.
Responses to an alumni survey given two years ago by the Alumni Office indicated that Harvard and Harvard-Westlake alumni disliked that their class reunions took place at the same time as Homecoming. Although attendance at the receptions during Homecoming had been growing in recent years, alumni said they wanted something more “individual,” O’Leary said.
“It didn’t feel so special to them to come and just have this big group thing,” O’Leary said.
O’Leary said some classes had begun planning their own off-campus reunions in addition to or sometimes replacing the Homecoming receptions.
“We wanted to do more for them, but we didn’t have the budget to pay for open bar for 50 classes to go and have parties,” O’Leary said.
Because of positive results in the survey, the Westlake School for Girls reunion will remain as is, but will be moved from Mother’s Day weekend to the first weekend of May, O’Leary said.