Class Reunions—and Illumination—Coming to Fall

Popular tradition to be a centerpiece of expanded Homecoming festivities.

August 4, 2023

Office of Communications

Colorful lanterns illuminating a nighttime celebration.
Oberlin’s springtime tradition of Illumination will be added to fall reunions beginning in September 2023.
Photo credit: Scott Shaw

Oberlin is enhancing annual fall Homecoming celebrations to include cluster reunions, providing alumni the opportunity to reconnect at a time when campus bustles with students and activity. Illumination, a centerpiece of reunion gatherings and one of Oberlin’s most beloved springtime traditions, will now be a highlight of fall reunions as well.

In addition to the radiant light of hundreds of lanterns and wonderful sounds of live music on Tappan Square, fall reunion alumni will return to a campus filled with opportunities to reconnect and reminisce about their college and conservatory experiences. Alumni also will be able to participate in activities that exemplify the breadth and depth of campus life as students experience it today.

Over the past two years, as Oberlin emerged from the pandemic, several reunion classes and clusters held successful fall reunions. Attendees reported fun and meaningful experiences during their return to a campus in full swing. In addition to a wide range of class- and cluster-specific programming, guests enjoyed concerts and recitals, art exhibitions, campus and historic tours, enlightening lectures and stimulating conversations, nights at the ’Sco, performances at the Cat in the Cream, and rewarding interactions with students—all set against a picturesque autumn background.

Homecoming 2023 takes place Friday, September 29, through Sunday, October 1, with special reunion celebrations planned for Oberlin’s 5th, 20th, 40th, and 55th class clusters, which include alumni from the class years that immediately precede and follow the anniversary year. Non-reunion cluster alumni will also find plenty to do on campus.

Keeping with the tradition of the 50th class participating in Oberlin’s Commencement, and in acknowledgment of a traditional 25th reunion milestone, those class reunions will continue to be celebrated each spring.

In previous years, all reunion events coincided with spring Commencement activities. While the joint celebrations provided a welcome convergence of Obies past and present, they also resulted in unintended consequences. Most notable was a lack of adequate time and resources for staff to clean and prepare residence halls for alumni guests following the departure of students. The inclusion of cluster reunions in Homecoming alleviates these challenges and focuses the spring Commencement experience on graduating seniors and their families.

Future reunion festivities—fall cluster reunions as well as spring celebrations of 25th and 50th anniversaries—will continue to offer a wide range of dedicated programming and traditional activities for classes and clusters.

For additional information, please visit the 2023 Homecoming and Reunion Weekend and Reunion FAQ pages.

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