Recently I attended two reunions. They were reunions of two very different groups, but both events illustrated the bonds that are often formed around hard work, shared experiences, and friendship.
The first reunion was a 50th anniversary gathering of the U.S. Supreme Court law clerks from the 1963 Term. During the 1963 Term, the Supreme Court decided the New York Times libel case (New York Times Co. v. Sullivan), the reapportionment cases (Reynolds v. Sims), and a host of other important cases. It was, for many of us, the first time we had seen each other in 50 years.
As a group, these men (in those days the clerks were virtually all men) had accomplished a great deal. About half of them were in the academy—two university presidents (Brigham Young and Pace), one provost (University of Virginia), tenured faculty members at Harvard, Yale, the University of Virginia, Berkeley, Columbia, Ohio State, and SUNY Buffalo Law Schools. Also among the group was a state Supreme Court justice, a real estate developer, and a passel of successful lawyers. I had the pleasure of recruiting one former clerk’s son for the faculty at Pace Law School.
What stood out in the experience, however, was the human side of our gathering. It was astonishing how quickly old bonds and shared experiences re-established themselves. It was an incredibly warm experience. Each of us was very proud of what the others had accomplished. People talked candidly about their failures as well as successes.
My second reunion was the annual dinner of the Pace Athletics Hall of Fame. Four alumni became the 47th, 48th, 49th, and 50th inductees in the Hall of Fame. Inducting the Hall’s 50th member was a particularly nice touch in the 50th year of the Pleasantville campus. The new Hall of Famers had distinguished themselves in men’s football, baseball, lacrosse, and in women’s volleyball. There was also a team award for the 1984-85 women’s basketball team, and Joseph Pastore, PhD, received the Peter X. Finnerty Leadership Award, which was presented by Lubin alumni Brian Finnerty’72, Pete Finnerty’s son.
The inductees were accompanied at the dinner by family, teammates, and coaches who had shared their extraordinary achievements on the court and in the field. It was obvious from the cheering that those teammates shared in full measure pride for their teammate who received the award.
Like the clerks’ reunion, what stood out in the evening was the human side of the event. Many of the teammates had not seen each other since graduation. Again, it was astonishing how quickly old bonds and shared experiences re-established themselves. Warmth, laughter, and good feelings permeated the room; as did the pride we all shared in the accomplishments of our alumni. There is something about reunions—the coming together of those who have shared important experiences—that reaches deep into the human need for connection. They are very special events.