Snapshots of Reunion 2012
By Kristen Manieri
Chi Psi Affinity Reunion
“You think you’re dealing with some stressful situations at school and then you get out into the real world and realize it’s so much harder than being a student at Rollins,” laughed Robbie Goldman ’08. Standing in the courtyard of Chi Psi Lodge, beer in hand, surrounded by dozens of Chi Psi brothers at their affinity reunion BBQ, the now West Palm real estate agent beamed from ear to ear. “I miss Rollins so much.”
David Remington ’08 gave him a pat on the back. “This was one of the happiest places I have been in my entire life,” he reminisced. “It feels like it was yesterday that we graduated. It’s like we never left.” Returning for Chi Psi’s affinity reunion was a no-brainer for Remington, who looked forward to the storytelling and networking. “We still tell the same stories,” joked Greg Menhart ’87, back for the Chi Psi reunion as well as his 25th. “It kind of makes me feel old, but it’s great to be back and see that the fraternity is still thriving.”
The Grove Party
Reunion Weekend kicked off with its usual revelry lakeside at the Grove Party where more than 750 alumni chatted and laughed as a New Orleans Jazz band weaved through the cheery crowd. Refreshed by the occasional cool breeze off the lake, the Rollins community buzzed with excitement for the weekend’s festivities still to come.
Black Student Union
It’s been 40 years since the Black Student Union (BSU) was established at Rollins, a milestone celebrated at this year’s Reunion Weekend. In a special gathering to commemorate BSU’s history at Rollins, alumni and current students alike met in the Galloway Room as Associate Professor of History Julian Chambliss shared some historical BSU highlights.
“The first African American students arrived on campus in 1966—two men and one woman—and they graduated in 1970,” said Chambliss, who shared with the group the role of The Sandspur as being an important voice for black Rollins students. “Increasingly in the pages of The Sandspur they shared their disdain with discrimination at Rollins.”
After Chambliss’s brief history, current and former students openly shared their BSU stories. “I felt really welcomed when I first came to campus but you realize really quickly there aren’t many people who look like you here,” said Tynisha Wynder ’99. “But by joining BSU I found other students I could relate to and discuss experiences with. It feels really good that the struggles of the ’70s propelled them forward to have really rich experiences on campus.”
You’d never guess from the din of the jovial crowd gathered at the boathouse on the Saturday morning of Reunion Weekend that it was only 7 a.m. Crew people, it would seem, are morning people. More than a hundred crew alumni and their families came together to celebrate Rollins’ 109-year rowing legacy and, unofficially, to settle some old rivalries as the sun rose over Lake Virginia.
“I haven’t been in a boat in 20 years but I couldn’t wait to get back here for this,” said Jason Dimitris ’92 as he climbed into his vessel. His old teammate, Jared Greisman ’92, echoed his enthusiasm, adding later, “I’m going to need some Motrin.”
Regardless of class year or gender, everyone seemed pals at this warmhearted affair. As the races ensued, cheers resounded from the shore, hitting a fever pitch when the 1973 Henley Crew, which was later inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame, flew through the finish line with all of its original members with the exception of the late Bert Martin ’72.
“People come to Rollins for the education but sport creates such a huge connection with people. I think it’s what brings me back again and again,” said Rand Wilson ’73, one member of the Henley Crew.
“It felt really, really good to be out on the water today,” Herb Sheppard '74 said. “I can’t ask for anything better. The camaraderie among all the crews is really special.”
Kappa Kappa Gamma
The lakeside setting and reggae band created the ideal atmosphere for Kappa Kappa Gamma’s island-themed party at the beach behind the Alfond Swimming Pool. The sisters kicked off their shoes and danced in the sand as old friends caught up over glasses of rum punch.
“Having all my sisters back brought back so many great experiences and memories,” said Suzy Plott ’09. “It was a lot of fun.” Plott, a Rollins staff member and Orlando local, hosted four other Kappas at her home over Reunion weekend, including Anne Hilb ’11. “The reunion was amazing. Too many fun things to do and too many people to see,” Hilb said. “The beach party was a blast; probably the best party Kappa and Chi Psi ever had on campus! Seeing all my sisters from years past and meeting some new Kappa women was such a treat.”
View all photos from Reunion 2012.