Dal energy shines through at Homecoming Reunion Lunch
Sher Scott - October 10, 2012
The spirit and legacy of Dalhousie’s alumni shone at the President’s Reunion Lunch and Class Photos in Shirreff Hall during Homecoming last month.
The annual event brings together alumni from milestone classes to reconnect with friends and celebrate their time at Dal.
This year’s gathering attracted attendees from across Canada who graduated as early as 1942. Each of the alumni is now successful in their life outside the university, but all feel that taking the time to return to campus is important – and that there is something special about Dalhousie that keeps them connected.
“What is the drawing factor?” asked James Cowan (BA’62, LLB’65, LLD’09) currently leader of the opposition in Canada’s Senate and former chair of Dal’s Board of Governors. “I don’t know if the particles return to the Higgs field,” he said, in a quantum physics reference, “but we return to Dal.”
Finding the Dal energy
Senator Cowan, who received the 2012 Gordon A. Archibald Alumnus of the Year Award, first came to Dalhousie because in part of his family — his brother, father and grandfather are alumni as well. Since then “Dalhousie has become an extraordinarily important part of my life,” he says. "There’s a certain kind of energy here greater than the sum of its parts.”
That energy contributes to a sense of belonging. Harold Rennie (MPA’97) finds it in the words of Marguerite Cassin, his graduate advisor, who told him to think of his time at Dalhousie as “not merely a program, but as a community of scholars.” Rennie recalls reflecting on these words while calmly debating labour relations with his peers on a warm spring day just prior to graduation. They’ve become words that keep him connected to the university.
For others, that energy is in the Varsity Tigers spirit. Asked what stands out about their time at Dal, Edwin ‘Ted’ LeBlanc and former Nova Scotia Premier Gerald Regan both talk animatedly about the season the men’s hockey team “nearly won it all.”
“Just try to experience everything you can while you’re here” LeBlanc advises. “You never know where your opportunities will come from.”
Some, like Edward Refuse and Elbert Stevenson, both commerce grads from the Class of ’52, find the energy in the social activities that build lasting friendships. The pair reminisced jovially about picking up their dates at Shirreff Hall, an all-girls residence at the time, to go to school dances.
“There was a long white line on the floor,” says Stevenson pointing to the hardwood of the residence common area “and you didn’t dare cross it!” Refuse has lived in Ontario for years now, but never misses a chance to reconnect with his classmates.
It seems whatever the activity, the Dal energy thrives in its people and the place. When individuals come together at Dalhousie, something special happens and a lifelong bond is forged.
Dalhousie President Tom Traves spoke to attendees with pride in the continued growth of the Dal community and the current and future legacy of the school.
“However glorious the past has been,” he said, “the future will be even better.”