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MiniReunions Make Post 50th Connections

Tech Reunions come around every five years, but many older MIT classes don’t let the fixed rotation of campus reunions stop them from getting together more frequently. Recent gatherings of the Class of 1942 and an upcoming get-together for the Class of 1940 are just a few of the “off year” reunion activities enthusiastic volunteers have convened.

Norman L. Canfield ‘42 understands the importance of the shared MIT experience, as well as the value of gathering for minireunions. He was one of 120 students who completed a nine-month course in meteorology at MIT. “The aviation arms of the Army and Navy were desperate for meteorologists,” he explains, so MIT and four other universities offered the special curriculum. The class consisted of Army Air Force cadets, Navy ensigns, and a few civilians.

Canfield and his classmates have held minireunions every two years since 1992 in cities around the United States. Minireunions rotate among host cities, where resident classmates oversee the planning. The gatherings always include an educational component, such as visits to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Falmouth, MA. At a recent minireunion in Annapolis, MD, in October 2002, a classmate described his experiences with high-latitude operations in the Antarctic during World War II. The Class of 1942 is developing a minireunion at MIT in 2004.

The Class of 1940 has also had successful minireunions, including one in Naples, FL, in 1993, and one in 1998, in conjunction with the MIT on the Road program on Sanibel Island, FL. At a small gathering of classmates on Cape Cod in April 2002, classmates “indicated a desire to have a bigger reunion the following year,” says Samuel P. Card, class vice president. As a result, Card is chairing the committee that is planning another minireunion in Washington, DC, in April.

“Our group was the next-to-the-last preWorld War II graduating class, and there was a lot of energy in that particular Class of 1940,” says Card. “Many of us have kept in touch with each other informally through the years ever since graduation. Old people like to socialize with their peers, and we are old people,” he says with a laugh.

Once again, the class will piggyback its minireunion on an MIT on the Road program on biotechnology, slated for Saturday, April 12. Classmates will gather before the program for a performance of the Washington National Symphony, visit the Smithsonian Institution’s Air and Space Museum, and enjoy a seafood dinner. And if Card gets his wish, “hopefully, the cherry blossoms will be in full bloom when my class is there.”

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