Ellis Pillars Reflected in Connections with Alumnae

Ellis alumnae returned to campus in October for Reunion Weekend, a tradition that allows them to reconnect with classmates and relive precious memories, and that gives faculty, staff, and students the opportunity to learn more about the women who once lived and learned at Ellis.
It was a fun weekend that included a conversation with New York Times bestselling author Marie Benedict, a Class of 1958 field trip to the Johnstown Flood Museum, the recognition of 2023 Sara Frazer Ellis Awardee Shanan GUINN '93 and Athletic Hall of Fame inductee Courtney KRESS McGrory ‘93, and the annual Fall Festival. In honor of their 50th reunion, the 1973 graduates set out to raise more money collectively than any class before them—and they’re well on their way, having already raised $80,000 of their $100,000 goal by Reunion Weekend.

We love celebrating these moments, but they are especially meaningful because these interactions with alumnae allow us to see how Ellis’ pillars remain strong long after students graduate. Our alumnae live out the pillars in their own lives, careers, and communities, but during Reunion Weekend—and at other times throughout the year—we get to see how that plays out in their connections to Ellis.

Ellis alumnae are changemakers, acting as forces for positive change. The Class of 1973’s contribution, bolstered by a matching gift from Carol OSTROW '73, is the type of gift that benefits the School and its students in many ways. These gifts can open opportunities for students to have new learning experiences on and off campus.

They are also positive community members. From cheering on the Ellis varsity soccer team during Reunion Weekend to joining alumnae career panels on campus and coming back to speak with our students, our alumnae ensure that support within the Ellis network remains strong. It was great to see them making new connections with our current families during Fall Festival.

Our alumnae are secure and confident, modeling their clear values and strong voices for current Ellis students—and teaching them to do the same. The event with Marie Benedict was led by alumna Kristen WALTER Sobel ’05 and Ellis seniors Nadia Commodore and Sophia Sellner, and it was inspiring to see an alumna encouraging current students to speak up and ask questions.

And, last but not least, Ellis alumnae are vibrant intellects who take time to continue learning, long after their years of formal education. The Class of 1958’s trip to Johnstown—Sara Frazer Ellis’s hometown—taught them more about where the school’s founder grew up. But it was also inspired by their reading of Steel City: A Story of Pittsburgh by William J. Miller, Jr., which the class pursued on its own.

Our alumnae’s contributions to the Ellis community are testaments to their dedication and to the resonance of our pillars and values. We look forward to fostering more connections with alumnae throughout the year!