Graduates from across the decades celebrate old ties and forge new ones at the 2010 Kellogg Reunion
5/11/2010 - The theme of Kellogg’s 2010 Reunion, “Remember. Return,” was apparent everywhere one looked April 30-May 2, as more than 1,700 Kellogg alumni journeyed back to campus to reconnect with classmates and friends.
Alumni chatted and laughed with classmates under a great white tent dominating Deering Meadow while their children huddled around tables decorating cookies and Kellogg pennant flags.
“I’ve enjoyed reconnecting with classmates and just seeing the campus — a lot has changed since 1990,” said Sonya Malunda Lampley `90, who brought her husband, Charles, and their children, Jarrett, 12, and Lauryn, 8, to the event. “Having the opportunity to introduce my family to the university is great. I have a 12-year-old who will be looking at colleges and universities in a few years, so I hope Northwestern is on his list.”
The weekend featured a variety of mixer events and opportunities to brush up on one’s skills. The “MBA Updates” and Career Management Center workshops proved popular among the attendees.
|Photo © Callie Lipkin|
“One reason I came was for the opportunity to reconnect with old friends and refresh relationships, but honestly, I really came back for the MBA Updates,” shared Ukonwa Ojo `05. “I was feeling a little bit out of touch, so the opportunity to sit in a classroom again and hear from professors I cared about when I was in school was great. I thought the topics were relevant and ones I wanted to learn about.”
In addition to refresher courses, this year’s reunion featured a number of new events, including the Kellogg Sustainability Challenge, which pitted two graduate-level student teams against each other to pitch green business concepts before a panel of seven alumni judges. Carl P Evans III ’11 and Dheeraj (Raj) Sultanian ’11 of Team SmartSense received the $7,000 prize for their SmartSense Power concept, which allows households to measure electricity usage down to the individual device. Team Captain Energy presented a concept for involving children in energy reduction efforts via a website offering credits for virtual goods.
Another green-focused event was the Conscious Capitalism alumni panel discussion. The event featured Salman Amin `85, Pepsico executive vice president, sales and marketing; Ivan Menezes `85, Diageo North America president and CEO and chairman, Diageo Asia Pacific; and Kurt Soderlund `90, Safe Water Network’s founding CEO.
“I’m glad we’re having these conversations [about sustainability and corporate responsibility] because I think it’s going to be hugely important for building leaders of the future,” Menezes said.
Those leaders of the future were the focus of another new event, Saturday’s Children’s Workshop: How to Create a Business. Kids in fourth through seventh grades were led through a hands-on program on starting a business, which included a visual presentation and activities.
|Photo © Callie Lipkin|
One of the weekend’s most highly anticipated events was Interim Dean Sunil Chopra’s State of the School Address. Noting that Kellogg’s alumni are the school’s greatest strength, Chopra encouraged attendees to help build the Kellogg alumni network.
“At every stage, alumni engage alums in the field — all of you have played an important role in making Kellogg what it is today,” he said. “The more you use the network, the more valuable the network becomes. Think of the reunion as an opportunity for each of you to become connectors. You establish friendships here and maintain those friendships when you leave Kellogg.”
Chopra announced the Alumni Professor of the Year, Mitchell Petersen, and introduced Northwestern University’s new president, Morton O. Schapiro, who said, “There are a lot of jewels in the crown of Northwestern, and I think one of the brightest ones is Kellogg.” Schapiro also welcomed incoming Dean Sally Blount
“Sally, we’re really excited about you coming home to the Kellogg family,” he said. “Everyone will get to see what a tremendous leader she is.”
Blount told the attendees she was honored to be there and grateful for the opportunity to lead Kellogg. She said when she came to Kellogg as a doctoral student in 1988, it was because she had heard so much about the school’s collaborative, dynamic approach to teaching business, a tradition that continues today.
“We came because we heard there was a business school that was really different,” she said. “It ended up being the exact right place for me, as evidenced by my being back here now. All those things that made it special in the ’80s are still here. I love Kellogg. It’s a place that makes its reputation every day.”
Blount echoed Chopra’s message about the importance of the Kellogg alumni network.
“We need to create an alumni network that rivals the very special student culture we have here,” she said. “It’s each of you that will be building those relationships every day, and I can’t wait to work with all of you.”
That culture and sense of connection are what keep alumni coming back, Ariel Reyes `00 said.
“I made very good friends while I was here,” he said. “Some of them have come all the way from Spain to be here today. It’s such a strong network — people really do feel that strong relationship with the rest of their class. I think that’s very, very unique.”