Jennifer Cunningham, assistant vice president of alumni relations, announced the cancellation of Reunion 2021 in a letter addressed to Lehigh Alumni.
In place of Reunion 2021, the alumni whose reunions have been postponed due to COVID-19 will have a combined reunion in June 2022.
Although the reunion was postponed to ensure the safety of all involved, the Alumni Association is finding ways to allow alumni to stay in touch through events like a Lehigh-Lafayette Tailgate and Founder’s Weekend this coming fall.
Stephanie Fisher, director of class affinity with Lehigh’s alumni relations team, believes that COVID-19 has created an opportunity to expand digital and virtual programming.
“We’ve had thousands of alumni, parents, and friends engage through virtual events, weekly emails, downloadable coloring pages and puzzles, Lehigh Connects networking platform, social media, volunteer meetings and our popular virtual book club,” Fisher said.
Similarly, Christopher Nolte, ’91, has also been able to keep in touch with his classmates in other ways.
“I have been able to stay connected with most Lehigh friends whether through email, cell phone and even some social media like Facebook,” Notle said.
Fisher and the alumni relations team have gotten mostly positive feedback from those whose reunions have been postponed. Fisher said she knows that the cancellation was disappointing to most, but was happy that most people understood why the decision was made.
Looking forward, Fisher is hopeful for an in-person Reunion 2022.
“Many alumni are looking forward to this unique opportunity to celebrate with shouldering class years at next year’s Reunion on June 9-12, so we anticipate that Reunion 2022 will be one of the biggest reunions Lehigh has ever seen,” Fisher said.
Gaby Bridenbaugh Jenkins, ’91, also understood Lehigh’s decision to postpone the reunion was necessary to keep everyone safe.
“The current circumstances with COVID would require too many restrictions to allow for a great reunion experience,” Jenkins said. “I am disappointed, but I am excited about the opportunity to hopefully celebrate with classmates from 1990-1992 next year. Everyone is doing the best they can.”
Devin Gross, ’91, has been able to stay connected with his classmates from Lehigh in smaller groups, however, he still looks forward to the reunion.
“The reunion allows me to connect with a much larger group that I don’t typically connect with,” Gross said.
Nolte is also looking forward to seeing his classmates next year during the combined reunion.
“As of this time, I am planning on attending next year’s reunion as it is a great way to see people that I don’t get to see often, and like I said this was 30 years this year so I do feel like we should all get together and celebrate,” Nolte said.