How to hit a Homecoming home run


by Annette Mahon

“The key is getting people together, facilitating their creativity and funnelling their collective energies.” According to Irving Fox, BSc, MDCM’67, these are the essential elements behind the Medicine Class of 1967’s enviable Homecoming reunion legacy.

Over the decades, what has this class learned about planning a stellar Homecoming?

To find out, Medicine Focus spoke with Fox, who ten years ago, armed with management knowledge stemming from a career in the biotech and pharmaceutical sectors, succeeded Eli Einbinder, BSc, MDCM’67, as Homecoming maestro.

You’re only as strong as your team.An impressive 15 members of the class belong to the organizing committee. From coast to coast across North America, this close-knit group has regular late-night chitchats, with over 35 conference calls held to date. These conversations are brimming with creative ideas, says Fox.

Give people something to talk about.—Launched in fall 2014, a quarterly alumni newsletter published under the guidance of Pamela Chart, BSc, MDCM’67, and Alex Crowe, BSc(Agr), MDCM’67, has opened a window on the lives of class members since graduation—providing news on family, career, travel and hobbies, as well as general reflections about life. Each issue features updates on 10 class members and other personal contributions. This initiative has done more than any other to strengthen the bond between these alumni, some of whom hadn’t seen one another in decades. It is hoped that these efforts have also helped maximize reunion attendance, adds Fox.

Keep it fresh.—The Medicine Class of 1967 knows how to keep people coming back for more, and this year’s 50th is no exception, with a jam-packed, fun-filled agenda including a dessert party at the home of Lily Hechtman, BSc, MDCM’67, Dip Psych’72, an Art of Medicine workshop organized by Sydney Price Sparling, MDCM’67, and a brunch in the Laurentians hosted by Anitra Mamen, BSc, MDCM’67, as well as the usual 50th cocktail reception and dinner. The Class of ’67 is going all out to make this reunion the most memorable yet.

Set a meaningful fundraising goal.—In 2012, after meeting their goal of raising $80,000 for the Medicine Class of ’67 Bursary Endowment Fund, class members decided to embark on a more ambitious five-year campaign in honour of their 50th reunion. The aim: To increase their lifetime giving from $430,000 to $1 million by 2017, with the bulk of the donations going towards the Med’67 New Faculty Fund. New faculty are important for teaching students, says Fox. Thanks to the newsletter and to the determination of a separate fundraising subcommittee, the class has brought this total to over $900,000 and counting. Hats off to the class for this remarkable achievement!

Make your efforts award-winning.—The McGill Alumni Association has chosen to honour the Class of ’67 with the 2016-2017 Charles H. Peters Alumni Group of the Year Award, a fitting tribute to a class that excels in maintaining close ties to McGill through its many reunions and newsletters. Receiving this award deservedly positions this group among the most engaged graduates in McGill’s history.

Mirroring the thoughts of many of his peers, Richard Deckelbaum, BSc, MDCM’67, aptly reminisced in the latest newsletter: “I think we had a great class, lifelong friendships, that many of us have kept going with our classmates.” Fifty years in the making, this year’s Homecoming reunion will be a golden occasion to celebrate these enduring bonds and raise a toast to the Class of ’67’s legacy at McGill.

With special thanks to the Medicine Class of 1967 50th Reunion Organizing Committee:
Arnie Aberman

Peter Brueckner

Pamela Chart

Rene Cormier

Alex Crowe

Ross de Belle

Irving Fox

Lily Hechtman

Daniel Klass

Anitra Mamen

Dave Miller

Sydney Price Sparling

Ken Taguchi

Harvey Weinstein

Don Williams

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