A family reunion at Notre Dame

by Michael O. Garvey

2013 Reunion

When more than 3,500 University of Notre Dame alumni gather on campus Thursday-Sunday (June 2-5) for Reunion 2016, they will be reminiscing about their student days, renewing the friendships they made then and marveling at the changes in the storied landscape.

Most importantly, the alumni — from Notre Dame’s undergraduate, law and graduate classes of years ending in 6 and 1 and architecture classes of years ending in 7 and 2 — will have occasion to remember why Notre Dame will always be their home.

“The phrase ‘Notre Dame family’ comes up easily and naturally in any conversation about our University,” said 1984 graduate Dolly Duffy, executive director of the Notre Dame Alumni Association. “Reunion 2016 both celebrates and embodies that phrase. It’s our family reunion.”

Organizers of the reunion expect the attendance record for the youngest alumni, those who were graduated from Notre Dame five years ago, to be broken by Reunion 2016 for the fourth straight year.

Among events featured in this year’s reunion will be a “University Leaders Forum” on Friday (June 3) in Washington Hall, at which alumni will have an opportunity to discuss with Notre Dame administrators initiatives and plans for Notre Dame’s future. Duffy will serve as moderator for a panel including John Affleck-Graves, Notre Dame’s executive vice president; 1986 alumnus John McGreevy, I.A. O’Shaughnessy Dean of the College of Arts and Letters; and 1993 alumna Heather Rakoczy Russell, associate vice president for residential life.

Also on Friday in Washington Hall there will be a discussion of “Campaign 2016: An Election Like No Other” in which Christina Wolbrecht, director of Notre Dame’s Rooney Center for the Study of American Democracy, will serve as moderator for a panel exploring the issues, news coverage and role of social media in the 2016 primaries and upcoming general election. Attendees will be invited to participate in a discussion with panelists David Campbell, Packey J. Dee Professor of American Democracy and chair of Notre Dame’s political science department; Luis Fraga, Arthur Foundation Endowed Professor of Transformative Latino Leadership and professor of political science; 1990 alumnus Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union and former White House political director for President George W. Bush; and 1998 alumna Katie Beirne Fallon, president of Oak Tree Strategies and former director of legislative affairs for President Barack Obama.

On Friday evening in Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, the South Bend Symphony Orchestra will perform. The concert will feature the orchestra’s woodwind quintet and string quintet presenting favorite classical works, as well as some Irish standards.

On Saturday (June 4) in Washington Hall a panel of financial experts will discuss global markets, the U.S. economy, short- and long-term trends, inflationary risks and debt outlook. The discussion, “Navigating Your Financial Future,” will be moderated by Notre Dame trustee and University fellow Jack Brennan, chairman emeritus of Vanguard. Panelists will include 1978 alumna Ann L. Combs, principal of the Vanguard Group Inc.; 1978 alumnus James J. Dunne III, senior managing partner of Sandler O’Neill & Partners L.P.; and 1984 alumnus Scott C. Malpass, vice president and chief investment officer of Notre Dame.

As at all Notre Dame reunions, throughout the weekend individual alumni classes will gather for Masses in various residence hall chapels and at Notre Dame’s Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes. On the afternoon of Saturday (June 4) in the Joyce Center Fieldhouse, Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., will preside at an All-Class Mass for all reunion attendees.