Former Ducks Flock to Stevens for Alumni Weekend 2012

6/18/2012

More than 700 people - including 460 alumni - attended at least one of Stevens' Alumni Weekend 2012 events held from June 1-3, a record-breaking attendance.

Building on events from previous years, such as the G.O.L.D. Alumni Weekend Kickoff and class reunion dinners on Friday night, along with new events like Stevens President Nariman Farvardin’s well-received President’s Address to Alumni and the “Drinking From the Fire Hose” alumni author lecture, Alumni Weekend 2012 has set the bar high for future alumni events.

“The response was excellent,” said Michael Smullen, associate executive director of the Stevens Alumni Association. “The reunion classes, and the 50th reunion in particular, have been building up to this weekend all year, and it showed. This is a wonderful turnout.”

A number of new events were introduced this year. Starting on Friday night, graduates from every decade gathered at the All-Alumni Cocktail Reception under the Alumni Tent on Palmer Lawn overlooking the beautiful Manhattan skyline. Meanwhile, young alumni continued to kick off the weekend in style at the Turtle Club, an event that continues to impress with a great turnout. A little rain made an appearance as reunion-year alumni gathered to enjoy their class dinners, but despite periodic drizzles, more than 200 alumni and friends celebrated the beginning of the weekend.

The fun continued at the Babbio Center on Saturday morning with a lecture by Chris Frank ’89, M.S. ’93, and Paul Magnone ’88, M.S. ’93, who discussed their award-winning book, “Drinking From the Fire Hose.” Frank is a vice president of business-to-business and communications research at American Express, where he is responsible for advertising, brand and business-to-business research. Magnone  is a vice president of business development and alliances at Openet Telecom, a global telecommunications software and consulting firm, where he is responsible for executive leadership of Openet's global partner initiatives.

They described how to ask the right questions at the right time, unmasking the essential information in a data-heavy world. The two also discussed real-life case studies from their work within start-up firms to Fortune 50 companies, including Microsoft, IBM, and American Express, and showed how to convert the “fire hose” of information into useful business insights.

On completion of the lecture, all alumni were invited to join Farvardin as he presented the first President’s Address to Alumni in DeBaun Auditorium.

Farvardin described many of the school’s positive developments from the past year, including the opening of the Hanlon Financial Systems Lab, the launch of the New Jersey Apps Challenge, and the rise of Stevens in Bloomberg Businessweek's college return-on-investment ranking.

He continued to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing Stevens in the near future, including the need for increased support from alumni, a requested increase in federal grant support, and major development initiatives for the upcoming year, such as the President’s Initiative for Excellence, the Chairman’s Challenge, and the newly-formed 1870 Society.

He concluded the presentation with a view of the newly-developed strategic plan and a discussion about the future of Stevens with the audience.

With engagement in mind, Farvardin paused several times in his presentation to interact with and answer questions from alumni and guests in the audience. Attendees responded enthusiastically, asking questions ranging from the state of Stevens finances to the quality of the school’s education, with each one having a chance to interact directly with the President.

Later, alumni also enjoyed the Alumni Barbecue Lunch on Palmer Lawn. Located inside and outside the Alumni Tent, more than 200 alumni and friends gathered to enjoy the sunshine, chat with old friends, and introduce their families and guests to Stevens.

The afternoon consisted of even more events, such as the annual Cooperative Education Reunion, the STEP reunion, and the musical celebration of 40 Years of Women at Stevens held in the S.C. Williams Library.

Throughout the day, alumni also took part in campus tours highlighting new areas of the campus and old favorites, such as the Davidson Labs. And dozens of parents and children were also on hand as the little ones participated in the traditional “Fun Run,” a series of races held for children 12 and under  on the athletic field.

In the evening, alumni arrived at the Hyatt Regency in Jersey City, N.J., for an elegant Stevens Alumni Dinner Dance. Beginning with a cocktail reception and followed by the Alumni Dinner Dance, the first ever held off-campus, more than 200 alumni and friends were welcomed by Mark LaRosa ’93, president of the Stevens Alumni Association.

Alumni pride was on full display throughout the evening. Alumni Gerald Messina ’87, Florence Viau ’92, David Tanzi ’97, Elizabeth “Biz” Metzger ’02, and David Velasco ’07, were presented with the Harold R. Fee ’20 Alumni Achievement Awards in appreciation of their outstanding effort on behalf of the Stevens Alumni Association and the University.

George Johnston ’72 was presented with the Stevens Alumni Award, given in honor of outstanding loyalty and devotion to Stevens, and he also received from Farvardin a special Presidential Pin in recognition of his extraordinary service.

Finally, the class of 1962 was invited by LaRosa and Farvardin to receive their 50th Reunion pins, recognizing their induction into the Stevens Alumni Old Guard. Dozens of members of this group  proudly gathered around Farvardin to be recognized.

The traditional Sunday Farewell Breakfast the following morning, also on Palmer Lawn and under the Alumni Tent, featured hot and cold buffet items. More than 100 alumni and friends turned out to enjoy good food, sunny skies and the Manhattan skyline. Later that day, more than a dozen alumni also continued the celebration by boarding a reunion cruise to Bermuda, which sailed out of Bayonne.

Continuing 92 years of excellence and tradition, old friends were greeted, new friends were made, and new records were established during Alumni Weekend 2012.