PA Class of ’68 Reunion Tour. Photo by Tory Wesnofske.
June 15, 2018

5 Highlights From Reunion 2018

Alumni from the classes of "8" and "3" returned to campus to relive memories and make some new ones
by Rita Savard

An unforgettable entrance

From across the country and around the globe, alumni arrive to Reunion Weekend in myriad ways, but none more dramatic than John Barclay ’68 and Peter Quinlan ’68 who planned an epic road trip to mark their 50th—cycling 1,968 kilometers (around 1,223 miles) from North Carolina to Andover. Along the way, they were joined by several classmates. By the time the ’68 riders pedaled into Andover at 1 o’clock on Thursday, June 7, the group was approximately 15 cyclists deep, including Head of School John Palfrey and Secretary of the Academy Thom Lockerby.

You can read more about this special PA Reunion Tour in Andover magazine’s Reunion Edition coming this fall. 

Pomp and circumstance

The alumni parade is a tradition of universal enthusiasm that never gets old. From the first strains of the Clan MacPherson Pipes and Drums band to the procession of celebrating alumni, including the Old Guard (shout out to Bill Eastham ’43, special guest Charlie “Cy” Chittick ’45, and nearly 20 alums from Abbot and PA ’48) all the way up to the Class of 2013, this was Big Blue Pride in full swing. 

Great BBQ north of the Mason-Dixon Line

For standout southern barbecue, Andover and Abbot alums only needed to venture over to Rabbit Pond Friday evening, where Russell “Rusty” Pickett ’68 parked his trusty old Weber smoker that he hauled up from Charleston, S.C. Beginning at 9 a.m., Pickett slow-cooked enough meat throughout the day to feed a small army. Of course, the secret weapon was his signature sauce—a mustard-based Carolina gold, thinned with vinegar and doctored with spices for a zingy flavor.


Unearthing a thousand-letter affair

From 1948 to 1957, Emily Hale taught Dramatic Interpretation and Spoken English at Abbot Academy, and twice arranged for T.S. Eliot, the Nobel-Prize-winning English poet, to visit the school. But Hale and Eliot were more than friends, and in the next year their relationship will likely become the subject of worldwide attention when the Princeton Library releases the thousand letters Eliot wrote Hale over their lifetimes. An audience of Abbot alumnae got to dive deeper into the untold story when former Washington Post editor Sara Fitzgerald, who is writing a book based on Hale’s life, shared findings from her research. Stay tuned for a feature story in the next issue of Andover magazine.

Laughing like you’re 17 again

The best thing about Andover is the people who make up our amazing community. Whether you’re 20-something or 90-something, catching up with high school besties inspires big hugs and even bigger laughs. For those reconnecting with classmates and faculty at the Office of Community and Multicultural Development (CAMD), smiles, laughter, and good vibes were contagious—a reminder that returning to Andover will always feel like coming home. 

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