Summer at Oxy usually brings hundreds of Tigers back to campus to celebrate their Alumni Reunion Weekend. With the impact of COVID-19 this year, traditional reunion plans were upended to ensure the safety of our alumni, staff, faculty and students. Yet, many classes still connected in June, for virtual happy hours and informal get-togethers, to reminisce about their Oxy days and to support each other during this challenging time. We are grateful to all who participated, despite the challenging circumstances, and hope to bring you back to campus safely in the near future.
Alumni Seal Awards
Alumni Reunion Weekend is also when we traditionally present the Alumni Seal Awards. Since 1965, the Alumni Association has paid tribute to inspiring alumni who represent the values and spirit at the core of the Oxy experience. Seal Awards are given annually in the categories of service to the community, professional achievement, service to the College, young alumni achievement, emeriti faculty and alumna/us of the year. This year’s 2020 honorees were celebrated with new virtual Alumni Seal Conversations over the summer and fall and hundreds of Oxy alumni had the opportunity to hear and discuss their Oxy stories.
The first event in the Alumni Seal Conversations webinar series featured the 2020 honoree for Professional Achievement, Chris Varelas ’85 and Woody Studenmund, the Laurence de Rycke Professor of Economics, in a discussion about Chris’ new book How Money Became Dangerous and the impact of the last several decades of finance on the world today.
The second event featured Dale Wright, David B. and Mary H. Gamble Professor in Religion/Religious Studies Emeritus. In honor of his former students and in gratitude for the 2020 Faculty Emeritus Alumni Seal award, Professor Wright gave a brief overview of mindfulness meditation – what it is, how it’s done, and why it’s helpful in the face of Coronavirus and the injustices of racism.
The third event featured 2020 honoree for Service to the Community Louis Hook '80 P'12 in conversation with his son, Randall Hook '12. They discussed Louis's work in helping to found and steward the Compton Jr. Posse Youth Equestrian Program and the Compton Cowboys. Recently in the headlines for their social activism and profiled in the new book The Compton Cowboys: The New Generation of Cowboys in America's Urban Heartland, Randall now holds the reins of the organization his father helped found.
The fourth and final event featured Alumna of the Year Gloria Duffy '75 in conversation with her longtime professional collaborator, fellow trustee and friend, Coit "Chip" Blacker '72. Gloria is an expert in international relations and public policy, having previously served as U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense and special coordinator for cooperative threat reduction. Together, Gloria and Chip have worked inside a presidential administration, written a book together, co-mentored younger colleagues and collaborated for social progress and justice.
Two Alumni Seal Awardees could not participate in the virtual conversations: William M. Kahane ‘70 who was presented the award for Service to the College, and Zaryn Dentzel '05 who was awarded the Erica J. Murray '01 Young Alumnus Award. You can read more about Bill and Zaryn as well as all of our awardees on the Oxy Alumni website.
We are currently accepting nominations for the 2021 Alumni of the Year Awards. To nominate an alumnus or alumna please fill out this form.
One of the highlights of Alumni Reunion Weekend is the celebration of the 50th reunion - this year’s class of 1970. Thank you to the 50th Reunion Committee for organizing a virtual get-together, during which Class of 1970 classmates reminisced about their Oxy memories, heard from beloved Oxy professor Dr. Larry Caldwell, and were introduced to Oxy’s Fifty Year Club (FYC) by Michael Blaylock ‘64, president of the FYC.
Class of 1970
50th Reunion Committee
Mary K. Johnston '70
Marilyn N. Robertson '70 P'00
Frances A. Rolater '70
Maureen W. Vavra '70
Douglas B. Weill '70
“How best to describe the 1970 graduating class of Occidental College? Simply, perhaps: on the cusp of change. Our years at the college gave birth to Occidental College 2.0. Our class was called upon not to be passive. That is our legacy or profile and it infuses all aspects of the Occidental College experience today. Between the fall of 1966 and the summer of 1970, “...the times they were a changing."
Douglas Weill ‘70