01 Dec 1996

October Reunions Break Records, Strengthen Ties

by Mary Jane Higgins; photos by Brooks Kraft


"Nothing I taught you about technology in management information systems has any relevance whatsoever to the world we're living in today," stated F. Warren McFarlan, the School's senior associate dean for External Relations, in his opening address to this fall's Reunion classes on October 4 in Burden Auditorium. In his remarks to alumni - including many of his former students - in the Classes of 1951, 1956, 1961, 1966, and 1971, McFarlan set the tone for a reunion that highlighted how much the HBS curriculum has changed to keep pace with the latest developments in the business world. As the weekend unfolded, there was also time for classmates to enjoy what has not changed about the School, including the enduring quality of friendships begun in student days.


Calling alumni the "single greatest resource of the School," McFarlan also used the opportunity to urge graduates to take advantage of the many lifelong learning opportunities available through HBS, including the evolving alumni electronic network, executive education courses, HBS Publishing offerings, and the annual Global Alumni Conference, which next year will take place in Hong Kong on the eve of the colony's transfer to Chinese authority.


In his welcoming remarks, Dean Kim B. Clark brought alumni and guests up to date on some recent initiatives at the School in areas such as technology, entrepreneurship, and global management. He also thanked the assembled crowd for its loyalty and commitment to HBS. Two of this year's Reunion classes broke fundraising records: the Class of 1956 reached the highest HBS total ever for a 40th Reunion, and the Class of 1971 contributed the largest 25th Reunion gift of any class in Harvard University history.


"Those of you here today have touched the lives of millions of people," Clark noted. "You make it possible for us to have a significant impact on the business world." He closed with a promise to give "every ounce of energy I have to making this a school to be proud of."


Alumni and guests then proceeded to enjoy a movable feast of classes, panel discussions, and social activities during a glorious New England weekend. They explored new buildings and attended faculty presentations on topics ranging from "Multimedia and the Emerging Boundaryless Organization" to "How to Kill Creativity" to "The Elements of Effective Negotiation." Lively panels on topics such as "The Ups and Downs of Entrepreneurship" and "The Future of Europe" rounded out Saturday's class-specific sessions.


There was time for fun, friendship, and field trips throughout Greater Boston as well. The Class of 1956 dined at the John F. Kennedy Library while the Class of 1951 enjoyed an elegant reception at the Fogg Art Museum. Women from the Class of 1971 held a breakfast in the Cumnock Conservatory, and the Class of 1966 bicycled through the fall foliage in suburban Lincoln. A Reunion first was an industry-specific networking reception for current students and alumni on campus. House parties, brunches, special memorial services, and quiet conversations with former professors further contributed to a memorable weekend for all.


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