Alumnae Return for Reunion 2017

Ellis alumnae were welcomed back to campus on October 6 and 7 for Reunion Weekend 2017. More than 60 alumnae joined the festivities on Friday and Saturday, with classes ending in 2 and 7 celebrating milestone years.
Friday began with breakfast and coffee in Arbuthnot House where alumnae met and mingled with Ellis’ new Head of School, Macon Finley. Laughter was in the air as alumnae cheerfully reminisced about their days on campus and pointed out what’s changed and what’s stayed the same since graduating. Director of Enrollment Management, Bayh SULLIVAN ’02, then led the group on a tour of campus to learn about current Ellis programming and to see new additions, updates, and classroom resources in the Lower, Middle, and Upper Schools.

Following the campus tour, alumnae joined Upper School students and faculty in the Auditorium for an Alumnae Career Panel led by Jennifer L. CARTER, Psy.D. ’92, Marsha BROWN, Ph.D. ’97, Lauren BYRNE Connelly ’02, Julie STRICKLAND-Gilliard ’02, and Marina LORENZINI ’12. Katie O’MALLEY ’02 moderated the session and asked panelists how they benefited from Ellis’ all-girls environment, how they support other women up in the workplace, and how Ellis shaped their path in college and their career. The panelists spoke powerfully about the impact Ellis had on them and how their education enabled them to speak with confidence, pursue a seat at the table, and know that regardless of their gender—their thoughts, opinions, and ideas matter.

Upper School students then probed panelists with questions about their most memorable Ellis courses, college decisions and majors, and the path to their current career. Marina recalled how Ellis’ art courses influenced her decision to study art history abroad for college, and Julie fondly remembered a dance class that pushed her outside of her comfort zone, an opportunity she said she might not have had the confidence to undertake had she not been at Ellis. Lauren and Jennifer admitted to students that they knew the careers they wanted to pursue from a young age and recalled how Ellis propelled them to achieve their career goals. Marsha explained to students that her path to becoming a forensic psychologist did not unfold as they may have thought—she received her undergraduate degree in theater before ultimately deciding to get her Ph.D. in psychology. Inspiring and thought-provoking, the panel ended to roaring applause and, in true Ellis fashion, thunderous pounding on the backs of the auditorium benches.

Following the panel, alumnae celebrating their 25th reunion and above gathered in the Benjamin R. Fisher Gallery for a milestones luncheon. Head of School, Macon Finley, presented Susan SCHUMACHER Morris ’62 with the Sara Frazer Ellis Award in honor of her decades of service, philanthropy, and dedication to the School. After lunch, the Class of 1967 visited their grade 4 pen pals and had the chance to chat with them in-person about their lives, hopes for the future, and time at Ellis. This reunion weekend tradition has become a favorite among the 50th reunion class and their grade 4 counterparts, as they connect through shared stories, feelings, and memories of Ellis.

On Saturday, alumnae were invited to the School for a light brunch before they watched the field hockey team continue their tradition of excellence with a win over neighborhood rival, Winchester Thurston. That evening, they gathered for a special reception in the Fred C. Babcock Library to honor Genny Kozusko, affectionately known as Coach K, as she was inducted into the Ellis Athletics Hall of Fame.

Post reception, alumnae joined Ellis parents and faculty for Ellis’ blockbuster event of the year, Dream Big: Ellis in Wonderland. Alumnae Hall was transformed into Wonderland with a chess board-inspired dance floor, tea party-esque table settings, and the curious Cheshire Cat overlooking it all. Mad Hatters and Queen of Hearts were in attendance as guests helped themselves to hors d'oeuvres, dinner, and drinks, and bet on silent auction items ranging from Pittsburgh Penguins tickets to weekend getaways. With 136 people in attendance, the event raised more than $30,000 for the Ellis Fund, thanks to the generosity and support of the Ellis community.

As old friendships were rekindled and new ones were made, the power and lasting bond of an Ellis education were apparent and celebrated at Reunion Weekend 2017. Thank you, alumnae, for joining us for an unforgettable weekend celebrating classes ending in 2 and 7. We can’t wait to do it all again next year!
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