A highly stimulating experience. It is of course the people who make the weekend for me, more than any other factor. Cambridge, however, always provides magnificent props and scenery!
The Alumni Weekend is a great showcase for the University and its talents, a terrific opportunity to celebrate and inspire, a much-appreciated chance to reconnect or involve future generations
We are already booked into our hotel for next year and are poised ready to get our choices to you as soon as the brochure is published
Sidney Sussex, 1977
It is such a wonderfully stimulating weekend. Every September you create a piece of magic for me - thank you so much! It's so precious and my mind drifts back to it with pleasure throughout the year.
It's a really good occasion! Nice to see the whole University pulling together and offering us old lags a good time to reminisce and enjoy having our heads stretched a mite with info about what is going on.
It is a privilege to listen to so many distinguished and talented people in such a wonderful setting. It just reminds us how lucky we were to be there in the first place!
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Alumni Weekend 2009 Report
by CAM Editor - Mira Katbamna
Imagine all your favourite things about Cambridge - beautiful buildings and gardens, old and new friends and a little tickling of the grey cells. Now spread it over three days (and add a lot of sunshine) and the result would be the 19th Alumni Weekend.
I arrived on Friday morning to find Cambridge washed golden yellow by a glorious late September sun. But although sorely tempted by an invitation to go punting to Grantchester, I was determined to make my first tour: The Secret Life of Books, at the UL.
Tony Harper, Head of Reader Services, led our tour of 12 around the secrets of the UL (seeing some of the illuminated manuscripts up close was a rare treat) but the real revelation was the building itself. Showing us a model of the library, Tony Harper explained that the original design actually resembles a grand Roman villa, built around a courtyard - the famous tower was added at a later stage in the design process.
Keen to pack in as much as possible, from the UL, I went on a tour of the Gurdon Institute, which specialises in cancer research (I understood virtually nothing but was amazed by the technology) and then to the Whipple Museum of the History of Science.
I therefore arrived at the first Come and Sing scratch choir rehearsal, at 4.30, feeling slightly exhausted. I soon discovered that Alumni Weekend old hands had sensibly paced themselves (my fellow altos - to a woman - seemed to have enjoyed a good, long lunch).
Guided by King's director of music, Stephen Cleobury CBE, and organ scholar, Peter Stevens, around a hundred of us rehearsed Haydn, Mendelssohn, Purcell and Handel. Three hours later, the Alumni Weekend choir stood to perform at a nail-biting (did we actually do this bit in rehearsal?) and exhilarating (listen to those basses!) concert at the West Road Concert Hall.
Saturday is traditionally a day of lectures, and it's perhaps this - the opportunity to hear some of the leading thinkers in the country - that makes Alumni Weekend so special. With over 170 events, the choice is overwhelming: I could have attended lectures on subjects as diverse as China, music, Julius Caesar, memory, time travel, Confucius or the Hadron Collider. I plumped for Sir Richard Dearlove on national security and medievalist Professor John Hatcher on fiction, history and why, in 1348, the Black Death was so terrifying.
After lunch, we crowded in to hear anthropologists Professors Caroline Humphrey and Henrietta Moore talk about their new research on sex and urban life, and then to hear Dr David Fowler on Cambridge and the Global Student Revolts of the 1960s (apparently Cambridge dons were as much to blame as the students).
I could have gone on to a concert at Clare, to the Union debate, to the Arts Theatre or just out to dinner. Those who were still going on Sunday attended garden tours, lunches, more concerts or more lectures (the really, really fit took part in Alumni Bumps). I, though, decided to take a proper trip down memory lane: glass of Pimms in hand, I spent my Sunday on the Backs, soaking up the last of the summer sunshine.
Save the Date
The dates for the 2010 Alumni Weekend are Friday 24 - Sunday 26 September. We hope that you will be able to join us.
If you have not attended an Alumni Weekend for the past three years (2007-9 inclusive) and would like to be added to the mailing list, please sign up online or email email@example.com to register your interest. Further information will be available next year - please check the website, CAM and the monthly e-bulletin for updates.
We look forward to welcoming you back to Cambridge next autumn.