alumni event breaks attendance record during action-packed May
Aubrey Henretty and Matt Golosinski
friends and eclectic activities made Reunion 2007 a hit for
Kellogg School alumni and their families.
the highlights of the May 4-6 celebration was the annual Reunion
barbecue, held in Deering Meadow, adjacent to the Kellogg
School's Donald P. Jacobs Center. Some 800 alumni and their
families gathered there May 5 to enjoy an afternoon with Kellogg
friends. Throughout the weekend, nearly 1,600 registered alumni
and guests — a new record — returned to Evanston.
They came from as far away as Tokyo and the Czech Republic
to reconnect with Kellogg.
spilled from the large white tent at the center of the celebration
where alumni mingled, while around the perimeter bunches of
brightly colored balloons swayed against a backdrop of black-and-white
photos from facebooks past.
groups gathered on the lawn while children wearing elaborate
balloon hats ate ice cream sandwiches. Linsey Simpson Gallagher
and Danyue Chen (both '02) and their husbands updated
one another on life after Kellogg. "Time flies," said
Chen, now a brand manager for Ziploc at SC Johnson. "After
five years, you still recognize people." Some attendees
had been out of school a bit longer, but they too found familiar
faces at Reunion. Inside the bustling tent, members of the Class
of 1957 and their spouses enjoyed catching up with one another.
At the Class of '57 table — designated by a shiny silver
balloon shaped like the numeral 57 — Wolfgang Filusch
and Alfred Jackson (both '57) held down the fort for
the group, which boasted seven attendees who made the trek for
their 50th class reunion.
annual Reunion tradition, Special K Revue spoofs B-school
life. The student-produced song-and-dance sketch comedy
act provides another perspective on the many talents of
the Kellogg community. This year's show, "An Inconvenient
Truth," poked fun at the school's strong academic
focus, expressing mock fear that too much studying is
eroding the Kellogg student culture and camaraderie. The
concern is clearly unwarranted, since Special K itself
required the energy and participation of dozens of students
as creative directors and staff, cast members, band members,
technical production crew and business staff.
© Nathan Mandell
who lives in Evanston, said he was glad he had come for the
weekend, which featured a host of social activities, meals
and "MBA Updates" — classroom refreshers on
subjects from finance to entrepreneurship, taught by top Kellogg
professors. "I'm enjoying it thoroughly," said Jackson.
said he and his wife had flown in from Fort Collins, Colo.,
where they had been living for the past two years. So far,
they had attended an MBA Update led by Finance Department
Eberly, the Kellogg School's John L. and Helen Kellogg
Distinguished Professor of Finance.
seven MBA Update sessions held over two days, alumni were
treated to the insights of Professors Eberly, Steve
Ward and NU Professor William White. Each led sessions
lasting from 75 to 120 minutes.
topics like "Is the Global Economy Out of Balance?"
and "Entrepreneurship and Its Importance to the American
Economy," the updates delivered on their promise to showcase
some of the latest thinking on important business topics.
the many activities greeting alumni returning for Reunion
were several MBA Updates. These classroom sessions are
designed to impart the latest business knowledge from
© Nathan Mandell
for instance, shared her insights on the implications of the
U.S. economy's debts and deficits. Using historical data to
trace the development of the country's current fiscal condition,
she outlined the reasons why capital continues to flow into
the U.S. despite facts suggesting that the country should
be treated like a bad credit risk, now that its debt is some
$8.8 trillion and growing.
management was on the agenda too. Diermeier, the IBM Distinguished
Professor of Regulation and Competitive Practice, explained
how fast-changing risks were forcing companies to develop
formal processes and capabilities for identifying and evaluating
future trends and emerging issues related to reputational
before Reunion, Kellogg alumni were buzzing with
anticipation. The school partnered with alumni clubs
in key markets to generate extra enthusiasm for
the Evanston gala weeks before it happened.
another session, Dranove, the Walter J. McNerney Distinguished
Professor of Health Industry Management, provided insight
into the U.S. healthcare crisis, offering suggestions for
addressing the costs, quality and access to care. Under consideration
were consumer-directed healthcare and quality report cards.
also showered some attention on professors — particularly
Rebelo, the Tokai Bank Distinguished Professor of International
Finance. In naming him the Alumni Professor of the Year, graduates
continued a tradition dating to 1988. The award honors a professor
who is credited with having the most influence on the professional
life of alumni. Rebelo expressed his thanks and related a
story about his belief in the power of education to effect
change, drawing from classical Greek history.
to compare us," said Rebelo, "but when Plato was
an old man and frail, his servant asked him why he kept teaching.
Plato explained that he was able to learn from his masters
and considered himself really lucky to have time to think
about remaining problems." One of the scholar's students
was Aristotle, proving how a teacher can touch many lives
by passing along knowledge.
weekend's participants enjoyed more lighthearted diversions
attended Special K, the annual student-produced song and sketch
comedy revue. Always popular, this year's production was a
send-up on the school's rigorous academic focus. Titled, "The
Inconvenient Truth," the show fretted about the supposed
erosion of student social life as scholarship in the MBA program
curtailed late-night extracurricular activities. With amusing
video clips as well as live dramatic performances and choreographed
dancing, Special K again demonstrated how multifaceted and
talented Kellogg students are. Even Dean Dipak
C. Jain got into the act for a few cameos, including one
as a taxi driver.
liked the fact that the dean was in some of the screen parts,"
said Filusch. "He was a good sport."
were the alumni, coming back — and giving back —
to Kellogg in record numbers.
2007 represented the largest yet for Kellogg, said Associate
Dean and Director of Development and Alumni Relations Roger
"Whit" Shepard, who also noted that alumni gifts
associated with Reunion tallied more than $5 million so far.
Several classes set Reunion giving records, including the
Classes of 1967, 1987, 1992 and 1997, according to Stephanie
Blackburn Freeth '02, director of planned and major gifts.
first Kellogg reunion occurred in 1977 and attracted about
100 graduates for an engaging but modest program of events.
Over time, the number of alumni returning to campus grew,
with significant increases since 2002 when the school redoubled
its alumni outreach. Recent years have seen more than 1,000
graduates and their families come back for the event. This
year's attendance broke all previous Reunion records.
looking back on their Kellogg experiences with their classmates,
attendees also gained new perspective on the Kellogg School's
recent successes as well as a glimpse at some future plans
thanks to Dean Jain's "State of the School" address
Dean Jain to several hundred alumni gathered to hear him,
"The contributions and support of people like you is
what makes this institution great."