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At Reunion Weekend, There’s No Place Like Home

Reunion Weekend
During Reunion Weekend, Gulls returned to reconnect and glimpse a campus under transformation.
By: Sarah Sweeney

It’s a unique fact that many Endicott alumni knew the College before it was coeducational. Before color TV, even. 

But for one weekend in June, graduates of what was once Endicott Junior College and alumni (this year, from years ending in 3 and 8) both returned for Reunion Weekend and to a campus increasingly marked by progress and the inevitable passage of time, yet their abiding love for the College remains the same. 

“Endicott meant to me a fabulous education,” said Margaret Keyes, a Golden Gull from the Class of 1973. “It was a small school but I appreciated it. I needed a transition to get me to a four-year college and this was perfect.” 

After Endicott, Keyes taught middle school in Minneapolis but eventually moved back—”for a boy,” she confessed—and met husband Doug Cogger while they both worked at Harvard. (He was not the boy she moved for, however.)

Margaret Keyes '73 and husband Doug

The duo are now retired and living a short distance away in Salem but took in all Reunion Weekend had to offer, including An Active Imagination: Mark Towner Thirty-Year Retrospective at the Walter J. Manninen Center for the Arts and the Welcome Dinner and Golden Gulls Toast at Tupper Manor.

Other weekend highlights included a Misselwood wine tasting, bingo, and the renowned all-class clambake. During the clambake, Endicott President Steven R. DiSalvo, Ph.D., presented the Outstanding Alumni Award to Sheila Walsh, an Endicott Trustee, Chair of the Institutional Advancement Committee, and Co-chair of Spread Your Wings: The Campaign for Endicott College.

“Through Shelia’s generous and consistent philanthropic support, she ensures Endicott's mission is put into practice. By establishing Invest in the Nest, a program to educate and inform Endicott’s current students, Sheila placed care and strategy into building a culture of philanthropy with today’s Gulls, which will ensure the College continues to thrive,” said DiSalvo. “Sheila is the first to raise her hand and prioritize the College in her endeavors, which makes this recognition so rewarding.”

DiSalvo presented the Eleanor Tupper Award, which is given annually to a young member of the alumni community who best exemplifies the qualities of excellence, consecration, and service, to John Egan ’13. 

“John’s commitment to the Nest continues today as a member of Endicott’s West Coast Florida Advisory Board and the Alumni Council,” said DiSalvo. 

A Saturday trolley tour also offered a glimpse of Endicott’s expansive growth with the new Cummings School for Nursing & Health Sciences and construction of a new residence hall. 

“I love to see how it’s grown,” said Keyes, who took a Friday afternoon stroll through campus along with Cogger. “They’re doing a great job at building new programs at the College, while helping the community and building new leaders. They’re like young little ducklings that have been let loose and they’re crushing it.”

Jennifer (Beliveau) Rollo ’04 accompanied her mother Patricia (Gilbert) George ’78 to the Welcome Dinner. Rollo, who now lives in nearby Danvers, was one of the very first Gulls to live in “the Mods” while her mother once resided in Woodside. She now works for a local marketing and design firm and runs her own photography business, and was pleasantly surprised to see a photograph she took as an undergraduate still hanging inside the Diane M. Halle Library. 

Jennifer Rollo and photograph she took inside Halle Library

Mother and daughter were both art majors who “literally had classes in the same classroom,” said Rollo with a laugh. “[Professor Emerita] Barbara Burgess Maier had been her favorite teacher,” she said, pointing to George, “and she was my advisor.”

“Other than my children and my marriage, Endicott is the best,” said George, an interior design major. “It’s very heartwarming. Reunion is a special time for us to reflect and relax. For us to come back here, it’s like we grew up together.”

She was referring to lifelong Endicott friend Alana (Kennedy) Klingensmith ’78, a fashion major who went on to a four-year college after Endicott and spent 29 years at Hasbro, designing clothes and accessories for the Cabbage Patch Kids, G.I. Joe, My Little Pony, and the Care Bears. 

“Endicott is encompassing,” she said. “This place encompasses everything. I went to two colleges after Endicott but I learned everything here.”

Jennifer (Beliveau) Rollo ’04 accompanied her mother Patricia (Gilbert) George ’78 to the Welcome Dinner.

The friends also made some unforgettable memories here—and a fair share of mischief. Both alumnae fondly recall toting a portable TV down to Endicott Beach to watch Saturday Night Live, which debuted 1975 and was immediately popular. 

“And I still have my cafeteria trays from the blizzard of ’78!” added George, who said they were used for sledding. 

Art major Gwenn (Buschmeyer) Knight ’63 traveled to Reunion Weekend from her hometown of Louisville, Ky., in a journey she made for the first time more than 60 years ago. A young woman going that far wasn’t common in that time, Knight added. 

“But as a southern person who always wanted to see the world, Endicott unlocked something in me that made my life inexplicably good,” said Knight, who went on to travel the world and have a career in the nonprofit arts world while pursuing painting on the side. “It just woke me up,” she said with a smile. 

Learn more about ways to get involved and next year’s reunion. 

Peruse the newest issue of Soundings, Endicott’s alumni magazine.