Alumni Weekend 2019 has come and gone and if you missed it, you missed an exciting weekend! Friday, April 26 through Sunday, April 28 the Office of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving and the UNG Alumni Association (UNGAA) hosted close to 600 alumni and guests back to Dahlonega for various events spread over three days.
Before I recount the excitement of Alumni Weekend 2019, follow me for a moment as we play a numbers game. The weekend following Alumni Weekend - Friday, May 3 thru Saturday, May 4 - almost 1,300 graduates crossed the stage at the UNG Convocation Center as part of North Georgia’s spring 2019 commencement ceremonies. This number doesn’t even include those graduates who, for whatever reason, opted out of walking.
In 1952 there were 491 students total enrolled on the Dahlonega campus. In 1971 there were 1,366 students in Dahlonega, while in Gainesville, which opened in 1966, there were 1,036. Digging a bit further, this past spring there were 802 self-identified legacy students in Dahlonega, 711 in Gainesville and another 249 combined in Blue Ridge, Oconee and Cumming. In total we’re looking at 1,762 sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, grandsons or granddaughters of alumni enrolled at one of UNG’s five campuses. If you don’t see where I am headed, stay with me.
As we have planned Alumni Weekend over the past few years, the Office of Alumni Relations and the Alumni Association have made tremendous strides in looking at the entire weekend experience, asking ourselves who would come back, and for what compelling reason? The reason we do this is simple. Thirty percent of the living bachelor’s degree alumni in the University of North Georgia’s database have graduated since 2009.
This means that one in three of our bachelor’s degree students, many of who are your sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, or grandchildren, have graduated in the past ten years. While the Class of 1959, and yes, even my own Class of 1990 loves a good class reunion, most of our recent graduates will likely never attend a class reunion. Unlike those who have gone before them, alumni who are younger in age will never know what it’s like to go 20, 30 or even 60 years without seeing the classmates they loved the most. This is a national trend and, for better or worse, social media has changed our world and the way we connect, forever.
So when you wonder what in the heck the Alumni Association is thinking with events like
Revel on the River, which is financially supported through your gracious memberships in the Association, understand that it is actually with much thought that these decisions are made. We don’t always hit the mark. Many times we don’t. But you have my word, we are as fully committed to doing what it takes to welcome our newest alumni home to North Georgia as we are those who have gone before.
Alumni Weekend 2019 was epic. Truly it was. If you missed it, we missed you. We played golf, reunited with old friends with whom we lived in Barnes Hall, gave out awards, and honored our fallen at the Memorial Retreat. And for the first time I can remember in the history of this very special weekend, we had alumni of all ages on one evening, in one place, Pine Valley, enjoying one event,
Revel on the River, in fellowship. Some played Frisbee and corn hole while others simply chatted with old classmates or watched a great band, Band X. A handful slipped down the bank of the Etowah to get their feet wet in the water, while others crossed the old bridge to explore the other side of the bank.
So in closing, if you didn’t “Revel” this year, there is still plenty of opportunity to be had. Mark your calendars now for next year, April 17-19, 2020. We plan on making
Revel on the River an annual event, and look forward to seeing the crowd as it grows larger and larger, and with a more diverse group of alumni than ever. Until next time my friends and fellow alumni, rock on! We’ll see you in 2020.
Wendi Huguley, '90
Director of Alumni Relations & Annual Giving