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Reliving Reunion 2022

By Melissia Mason
For the first time since 2019, alumnae ascended Mount Ida to reconnect in person at Reunion. The Classes of 2s and 7s celebrated milestone anniversaries and enjoyed moments of laughter and nostalgia. 
As groups of excited friends greeted each other—some for the first time in many years—all of Mount Ida celebrated their return. Bits of conversations floated through the air: “I think this was the kitchen.” “That tunnel to Weaver was a lifesaver back in the day.” “We didn’t take the tunnels or wear a coat!” “This wasn’t the dining hall—it was our dorm.” “My senior year, I took basket weaving and had two internships.” “Where is the chamberlain’s hat?”

Classmates reconnected over drinks, paintbrushes, yoga mats, and walking tours during a beautiful weekend in Troy. Laughter and music floated from beneath the tented Biergarten, where friends gathered for trivia and flights of locally-sourced beer, cider, or wine. Faculty presented glimpses into academic life through two “Emma Academy” sessions highlighting the Signature program and a class on water quality and climate change. Alumnae from all walks of life shared their own works of creativity and engaged one another in meaningful conversations. 

Addressing burning questions during a panel discussion on health and wellness, Dr. Zoe McKee ’97, Shura Gat ‘87, and Jenn Ty ’77 gave concrete advice attendees could put into immediate practice. Sharing the impacts of personal connections in giving time, talents, and treasure, Linda Gill Anderson ’77, Jenny Plane ’82, and Sarah Goodwin Soule ’77 led robust discussion in the philanthropy panel.

The Class of 1972, celebrating 50 years since graduation, took home kudos for Most Giving Participation, Most Total Giving This Reunion Year, Highest Attendance, Greatest Increase in Giving Participation Since Last Reunion, and Class with the Largest Single Gift. They were the special guests of honor at the Parade of Classes and later at a champagne toast.

Following the parade, Head of School Jenny Rao delivered a state of the school address, highlighting the challenges and accomplishments of the past year and looking forward to our bright future. “Now more than ever,” she shared, “our world needs to hear strong, self-confident, and outspoken voices of girls and women—voices that are developed during time at Mount Ida—to help shape the future into something we all can be proud of and believe in.” The Alumnae Association Council followed Jenny's speech with honoring this year's Alumnae Recognition Award recipients:
You may view Jenny’s complete remarks and the Alumnae Recognition Award ceremony on the live stream archive.

It was standing-room-only during the archive tour, where History Instructor and Archivist Nancy Ianucci explored letters that have been bequeathed to the school over its 208-year history. From Emma Willard’s own letters expressing her thoughts on abolition to students’ Civil War writings through the Great Depression and World War II, each offered a special glimpse into the hearts and minds of the students and leaders of Emma Willard School. The nation’s own history could be seen through the lives of our own alumnae.

Saturday afternoon filled with moments to connect—with afternoon tea with Head of Enrollment Kristen A. Mariotti and the Alumnae of Color reception with Head of Institutional Equity and Inclusion Christine Gilmore. Class conversations, evening cocktails, toasts, and plenty of food and dancing rounded out the day.

In the closing moments of the weekend, the Emma community gathered in Alumnae Chapel for a farewell service, including the powerful notes of a Celtic blessing from the Alumnae Choir accompanied by the chapel organ. Rev. Amanda Poppei ’97 led a poignant ritual of remembrance and offered reflections on the moment. Rev. Keenan Kelsey ’62 shared thoughts and gratitude on the central role that this space has held in the life of the school. (View the complete service on the live stream archive.)

We give a shout out to all of the Reunion Volunteers who made this great weekend such a huge success! As we look back with fondness on Reunion 2022, we are already looking forward to the next time we welcome our beloved alums to Mount Ida. Until then, we cheer you on as you serve and shape your worlds!


View more photos from the weekend on our SmugMug album (note that professional photography will be added as it is available).
    • The Class of 1972 revels in the Parade of Classes

    • Pausing for a group photo at the statue of Emma Hart Willard during the Gilded Age Tour of Troy

    • Reconnecting at the Biergarten

    • Panelists share a moment of laughter in the Health and Wellness discussion

    • Alumnae of Color gather for a reception and connect with Head of Institutional Equity and Inclusion Christine Gilmore

    • Sara Lee Schupf Family Chair in Curriculum Excellence And Innovation Megan Labbate instructs alumnae on water quality issues.

    • Resident Faculty Stacey Dodd says, "Once a houseparent, always a houseparent!" She gathered with the Class of 2017 (her former freshmen) in her apartment.

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Honoring its founder’s vision, Emma Willard School proudly fosters in each young woman a love of learning, the habits of an intellectual life, and the character, moral strength, and qualities of leadership to serve and shape her world.
285 Pawling Avenue, Troy, NY 12180 | P: 518.833.1300 F: 518.833.1815
Welcome to Emma Willard School, a private day and boarding high school for girls in Troy, NY, and a leader in girls' education for over 200 years. 

PLEASE NOTE: All visitors to campus must check in with Campus Safety, which can be found at the red flag entrance to Sage Hall (Pawling Ave. entrance).