Alumni Return to New Paltz for Class Reunion

SUNY New Paltz is hosting an Alumni Reunion weekend from Sept. 23 to the 25 in honor of classes ending in “one” or “six.” This event is only a week away and is expected to have a large turnout, according to the Office of Alumni Affairs.

Alumni weekend is usually held in October with 350 to 400 people in attendance, according to Special Events Coordinator for Alumni Affairs Diane McCarthy. This year the festivities will take place a month earlier, but McCarthy said the tradition is still there.

These events consist of the All Class Dinners, Heritage Alumni Lunch and the Lantern Society Dinner.

“The most attended event on the weekend is the Lantern Society Dinner,” said McCarthy.

Class members from 1961 are given lanterns and reenact New Paltz’s moving up ceremony on Friday night where they receive 50-year medallions.

The campus used to hold Lantern Night every year starting in 1929 until 1969, according to McCarthy. She said this was when each graduating student would carry a lantern onto the main quad where they then would arrange themselves in a circle and sing songs for graduation.

The corresponding year’s committee decides the theme for each reunion. This year’s theme is “Reconnect, Remember & Relive.” Another aspect decided by this year’s committee was that the class of 1961 gets a separate reunion in order to reminisce and reconnect with each other.

The Heritage Alumni Lunch will be held on Friday, Sept. 23 at noon and the speaker for this year will be Dr. Heinz Meng, biology professor of New Paltz from 1951 until 2002. Meng was selected to talk by the alumni committee because of his contribution to New Paltz and the community, according to a reunion pamphlet.

One different program the Alumni Affairs department is trying to highlight would be wine tasting with Professor and Chair of Wine Studies at the Culinary Institute of America Steven Kolpan. Kolpan graduated SUNY New Paltz in 1971 and this will be his 40th anniversary.  According to Lisa Sandick, special events coordinator for alumni affairs, hopes this event brings a lot of people that recognizes Koplan and want to reconnect, although this is a different type of event from the norm.

“We’re hoping for good weather and a good turnout, even though it’s much earlier this year,” said Sandick.

For more information on the event, members of the campus community can go to or call 1-877-HAWK001, and choose option one.