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Large Turnout for Canterbury’s First Virtual Alumni Weekend for Milestone Years

Kelly Slonaker

Canterbury virtually hosted over 120 alumni from milestone graduation years (years ending in 0s and 5s) spanning seven decades on Friday, June 5. The event commenced with the annual Society of Alumni (SOA) meeting, which opened with a prayer followed by remarks from the President of the SOA Peter Tucker ’78.

Peter ’78 announced the Society of Alumni re-election of current Executive Committee members Tom Esposito ’80 and Garvin Hammer ’85, and the election of new Executive Committee members Neil Boylan ’79, Danielle Conkling ’97, Jack Elsas ’14, and Chrissy Rubin ’84. Additionally, Peter ’78 shared that after seven years as President of the SOA, he has stepped down from the role but will remain a member of the Executive Committee. He introduced the two new Co-presidents of the SOA Patricia Rasmussen ’92 and Macy Steers ’04. Patricia ’92 and Macy ’04 both thanked Peter ’78 for his tenure as President of the SOA and presented him with a gift for his service. 

Head of School Rachel Stone then addressed the alumni and shared her gratitude for Peter ’78’s loyalty and dedication to the School throughout the years. Rachel discussed the challenges brought by the pandemic this spring and Canterbury’s strength and ability to adapt and excel through unpredictable circumstances. She shared her appreciation for the continued support from the School’s alumni and noted that she looks forward to celebrating in-person with the Class of 1970 at next year’s Alumni Weekend. The Society of Alumni meeting concluded with an open Q&A.

Alumni were then invited to attend mini-classroom sessions featuring "A Peek into Animal Anatomy" with Biology Teacher Derek Richardson, and “Meditation and Mindfulness” with Director of Counseling and Theology Teacher Cynthia Willmen. Following the sessions, each milestone class participated in a class reunion via Zoom, with several continuing their virtual festivities until late in the evening. “It speaks to the Canterbury experience that we can zoom for five hours with a random selection of our classmates and talk, laugh, and tell stories like no time has passed at all,” remarked Livia (Weinstein) Kulczycky ’00.

To recognize the milestone classes, Canterbury’s Advancement Office put together a virtual “care package,” which included yearbook photo collages submitted by class members, Spotify playlists of the top hits from each milestone graduation year, virtual backgrounds for Zoom featuring campus photos, a virtual campus tour, and an In Memoriam slideshow to honor deceased class members.

Despite not being able to reunite on campus, alumni thoroughly enjoyed the event and relished the opportunity to reconnect with peers. This was the first Alumni Weekend for Chief Advancement Officer Rick Henderson who marveled at the enduring Canterbury friendships, “It was amazing to see our alumni come together, even if it was virtually. As I reflect on my first Alumni Weekend, I believe it only further proved that one of the true strengths of our School is the relationships among the society of our alumni.”