Our weekend of reconnecting with old friends at Converse University began just before noon on Friday, June 2, 2023, on the Wilson Hall porch. Friends, some of whom had not seen each other for more than 30 years, embraced, laughed and cried tears of joy at seeing each other again. Nearly 150 people attended Reunion 2023 at Converse.
Guests mingled in the hospitality suite in Wilson Hall and enjoyed snacks and beverages, taking selfies and looking through old yearbooks. Meanwhile, Converse volunteers delivered luggage to the suites in Fleming Hall for guests staying on campus for the weekend. Alumni who chose to stay on campus were in awe of Fleming Hall’s spacious suites and amenities. Unveiled in 2017, Fleming Hall is named in honor of former Converse President Betsy Fleming.
In the afternoon, guests attended the Sip’ n Stroll campus tour. This relaxing walk across campus was an opportunity to enjoy the beauty of Converse in summer bloom and see recent renovations as alumni reminisced about their time at Converse.
In the evening, most class groups attended dinner in Gee for a sit-down, ‘family style’ meal, while the Class of 1973 headed over to the Piedmont Club for the Golden Club Reception and Dinner with President Boone Hopkins and Dean of the Converse College for Women Dr. Chandra Hopkins. Alumna Anne Conover asked President Hopkins to wear her 1973 Converse purple and gold beanie, which he enthusiastically donned.
After dinner, under a full moon and warm weather, some alumni headed downtown to visit their old haunts and check out some new sights in The Burg. Others gathered at the Cabin for S’mores Before You Snore and shared stories of sledding down the campus’ snowy hills with dining hall trays.
On Saturday morning, alumni enjoyed a leisurely breakfast in Gee. Yes, PJs and slippers were still encouraged!
After class meetings, it was time for the annual Parade of Classes. Alumni proudly and enthusiastically processed across the front campus, holding their class year banners as the Wilson Hall bell rang. Of course, the Class of 1973 ensured that Modine was there and accounted for that morning.
In true Converse fashion, alums celebrated one another at the Alumni Achievement Award Ceremony & Luncheon. We welcomed the newest members of the Golden Club (The Class of 1973), the Silver Club (The Class of 1998), and our 2023 Alumni Achievement Award recipients.
After lunch, reunion attendees had a variety of events to choose from. Tie-Dye Your Tee is always a popular event and was hosted in front of Mickel Library. Others chose air-conditioned options such as Color your Cares Away in Lee Parlor, the Alumni Art Exhibition in Milliken Art Gallery, or a tour of the new Valkyrie Supply in Montgomery. Some took time to visit the Chapel to honor those we’ve lost.
Guests had the opportunity to meet with Dean Chandra Hopkins to learn more about the Converse College for Women and tour the CCW suite in Pell.
Tours were also offered for guests who wanted to visit the beloved Cudd Hall, currently under renovation. Cudd Hall will officially reopen as a living/learning community for Converse Nisbet Honors students this August. The remodeled residence hall will offer a self-service coffee market on the first floor, open to the entire campus community.
Mosaic: Black Alumni Celebration, a new event this year, was hosted in Phifer, spotlighting Black, African, and African-American alumni. This gathering was an opportunity for Black alums to reconnect with each other, explore the significant history of Black alumni at Converse, and learn more about their impactful contributions to the Converse community.
Also new this year was Lavender Tea: LGBTQIA+ Alumni Celebration held in the Cabin. This inclusive celebration focused on conversation and connection as guests gathered in the Cabin. Many of our LGBTQIA+ alumni are catalysts for instilling community and belonging to the Converse campus and beyond.
Guests had time to relax before the popular All Class BBQ on back campus. Just prior to the BBQ, President Boone, and Dean Chandra Hopkins hosted a Happy Hour for all guests on the Quad. As the sun set Saturday evening, guests headed to the back campus for a picturesque sunset dinner and dancing, complete with twinkling lights and big top tents.
Guests who opted to stay on-campus for Reunion 2023 decorated their rooms in a friendly competition for ‘Best Dressed Suite’ This year’s dorm decor winners were Emily Watson ’83 and Beth Wilson-Arrollado ’83.
Attendees celebrated the winners of this year’s Class Act Awards, a friendly competition among classes and a reunion tradition. Two awards are given each year — one for the total amount raised by a class, and the other is awarded to the class with the largest number of gifts made.
This year’s Golden Club inductees, the Class of 1973, triumphed as winners for both categories, raising $62,420 for the Converse Annual Fund. The Class of 1988 came in a very close second for the amount raised.
The 2023 Class Act Awards are closed, but you can still support the Converse Annual Fund.
Our very own alumna Chunsta Miller ’02, aka DjMillerTyme, got alumni out of their chairs and dancing thanks to her eclectic music selections and her contagious excitement.
On Sunday morning, our on-campus guests exchanged more hugs, some tears, and wistful smiles as they prepared for their journeys home. Interim Director of Alumni Relations Laura Chappell Bauknight ’87, Interim Director of Alumni Relations, said, “I will treasure the smiles on everyone’s faces as they pulled up to Main Hall, the laughter and the hugs that continued throughout the weekend, and the meaningful conversations that were shared. We loved having you back on campus and hope you will return again and again!”