With the Manhattan skyline as the backdrop and the mood alive with energy and friendship, more than 200 Conn alumni, as well as current and former parents, gathered on the evening of September 28 at the magnificent rooftop setting of New York City’s Tribeca Rooftop to celebrate and reconnect with one another and with Conn. Featuring a special presidential conversation with distinguished alumna Susana Hancock ’07, the event kicked off a new series of Defy Boundaries Campaign alumni events planned for cities across the country.
Attending were alumni from the Class of 1965 to the Class 2022, who enjoyed the sun setting over breathtaking views in every direction, and, most of all, each other’s company. Many guests shared that because of the pandemic, they haven’t been back to New London in a while and found special joy in the opportunity to share their bond with Conn with others in the city. John Zeiler ’74 observed, “We have a lot of other things we could be doing tonight in New York City, but our alma mater is close to our hearts.” Zeiler was among the alumni who, along with President Katherine Bergeron, offered additional perspective in a brief highlights video (directly below) from the evening. And enjoy the photo gallery from the event at the bottom of this story.
The centerpiece of the event was President Katherine Bergeron’s one-on-one stage conversation with Hancock. A renowned linguist and anthropologist who studies the geopolitics of climate change in the Arctic and Middle East, Hancock was the recipient of the2022 Harriet Buescher Lawrence ’34 Prize recognizing alumni who are leaders in improving society or inspiring others for good. During the discussion, Hancock stressed the imperative of precise language in addressing the climate topic, both for leadership decisions and public understanding. As she put it, “It’s a climate crisis. What is a crisis? It’s a problem, but it’s also an opportunity …. It calls for action.”
The event also featured Bergeron’s update on the most ambitious campaign in Conn’s history. Conn alumni and friends have already contributed more than $240 million to the Defy Boundaries campaign, and buoyed by that support, the College is pressing forward in its $300 million goal. Contributions are transforming the College’s work, including major investments in financial aid for outstanding students of every background, student-faculty research collaborations, the arts, global study, athletics, and much more. As Bergeron said, “This campaign we are celebrating tonight is about who we are at our very core. Who we have always been. And, the truth is: Connecticut College has always defied boundaries.”
By the end of the event, hugs were happening in all directions, and guests were heading back home with renewed appreciation for Conn and for one another. Barbara Sagan ’70 beautifully summed up the night, “Every time I come to one of these events, I get more excited about having been an alum of the College. It’s a great feeling, and I think you go away feeling like there’s hope in the world.”
The next campaign events are planned for Minneapolis on Nov. 16 and Chicago on Nov. 17. In the coming months, Conn will be announcing additional events that will be held in cities including Los Angeles and Boston, as well as locations in Florida.