Back on campus: Alumni return for Colonials Weekend

When they were freshmen in 1992, David Drykerman, Brad Jacobs and Eric Kaufman all lived in Thurston Hall and pledged the same fraternity. Last weekend, they attended their 10-year reunion together.

“Thurston is still as gross as it was,” said Drykerman, who now lives in Rockville, Md. and owns a business that has sales partnerships with the DHL shipping company. “I will never forget the 4 a.m. fire alarms.”

They were three of the nearly 1,300 alumni and guests who returned to Foggy Bottom for alumni events during Colonials Weekend Friday through Sunday.

Alumni attended several events including reunion parties for the classes of 1956, 1976, 1981, 1996 and 2001 and other activities.

“This (alumni programming) is part of the process of engaging alumni for life, to relive their experiences at GW,” said Scott Mory, who graduated as an undergraduate in 1996 and from the Law School in 1999, and is the assistant vice president for Alumni Relations and Annual Giving. “We hope they feel more connected to GW and support it later.”

On Friday, an alumni kick-off celebration was held at the Alumni House on F Street and featured a barbecue dinner and bluegrass band.

“This was our fourth annual kick-off party, and the most well-attended one in four years. It was great to see the people … having fun and reconnecting with each other, and that is exactly what we hope they get out of it,” Mory said. “Everyone had a great time and then they all went over to see Seinfeld and enjoyed themselves.”

On Saturday morning alumni were invited to attend school-specific reunions over breakfast with the schools’ deans and were encouraged to participate in Colonials Weekend’s general programming. Saturday evening many visiting alumni attended class reunion parties.

“The more we pull people closer to the University, it makes them more likely to volunteer and give,” said Mory. “It’s all part of one cycle.”

Executive Vice President and Treasurer and Louis Katz said Colonials Weekend is “our version of homecoming.”

“It renews interest and devotion of our alumni, and it’s good for the institution and good for the alumni,” he said.

This year was the fourth consecutive Colonials Weekend celebration that combined alumni and parent programming, and the second year the alumni programming included formal alumni reunions. Next year, alumni celebrations will take place apart from Colonials weekend, organizers said.

Debby and Samuel Baumer, who graduated in the class of 1980 and 1981 respectively, met in Thurston Hall and are now married with a daughter who is a sophomore at GW. Debby was a sophomore living on the fifth floor when she met Samuel, then a freshman.

“Thurston had an open house night where everyone left their doors open. I went downstairs to visit a friend, and Sam was in there,” Debby Baumer said. “It was love at first sight.”

The Baumers said 18 couples that were members of the class of 1981 attended their reunion.

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