If reunion attendees didn’t already know, the “125 Years” banners strewn around campus were a hint that that this was no ordinary Reunion Weekend, but, in fact, a much larger celebration of Wharton’s history. “And it’s not just 125 years of Wharton,” said Dean Patrick Harker at the town meeting held in Jon M. Huntsman Hall on Saturday, May 13. “It’s 125 years of business education as we know it.”
To fully recognize Wharton’s 125th anniversary, this year’s Reunion Weekend was expanded for the first time to include a Thursday, May 11, opening reception, with an address by Joel Greenblatt, W’79, WG’80, founder of Gotham Capital and author of The Little Book That Beats the Market. The weekend continued with faculty addresses, networking sessions, alumni panels, family activities, an all-class mixer, and individual class dinners, culminating in a Sunday alumni brunch before the Alumni Processional welcoming graduates to the ranks of alumni. More than 1,500 alumni attended the events — a record.
On campus for his 30th reunion, Norman Gorin,WG’76, explained why he has come back, and why, as managing principal and CFO of Analysis Group, a consulting firm in Boston, MA, he continues to hire other Wharton graduates. “The quality of the place and the sheer talent it attracts is nothing if not a reflection of 125 years of history.”
Gorin was among the audience at the Wharton Women panel, the first such event ever held during Alumni Weekend. Speakers Roslyn Courtney, WG’76, of Roslyn Courtney Consulting, Mindy Posoff, WG’86, COO of NewMarket Capital Partners, Lorrie King, WG’91, senior marketing director of Coty celebrity fragrances, and Phyllis Levy, WG’76, CEO of the Outrepreneur Group, discussed leadership, money, and different challenges women in business face. “We share a personal mission to accomplish extraordinary things in our careers and lives, and that gets to the core of leadership,” said Courtney. “In the spirit of the school’s 125-year history, we find amazing inspiration.”
Later in the afternoon a panel devoted to entrepreneurship and lessons learned in the field featured Farhad Mohit, WG’96, CPO, Chairman and Founder of Shopzilla, Michael Luby, WG’98, co-founder of Target Rx, Steven Woda, WG’01, founder and chairman of Strategic Growth and Shelley Boyce, WG’95, CEO and founder of MedRisk Inc.
For her part, Boyce was enthusiastic about the weekend’s historic significance. “It has been a great privilege to take part in the gatherings commemorating the school’s 125th anniversary,” Boyce said. “The education I received at Wharton has been an invaluable asset to me personally and professionally.”
At the picnic, alumni dashed out of the rain and mingled beneath the tent in Lehman Brothers Quad with their former classmates. Over lunch, Dan Coogan, WG’66, reunited with several members of his class. “I was very impressed to learn that this was the 125th year and that the school was continuing to grow,” said Coogan, a financial representative for Northwestern Mutual Financial Network in Virginia Beach, VA. Mindy Crandus Sircus, W’81, a former corporate and securities lawyer who is now a principal with Chicago legal search firm Zenner Consulting Group, has attended reunions every five years since graduating, but this time she was focused on the future as well as the past — her oldest son, a rising high school senior, accompanied her as part of his own college search. “I’m more aware of Wharton’s history now than when I was a student,” said Sircus. “I was looking ahead then, not at what I was leaving. Wharton is such an important part of who I am today.”
Photos by Tommy Leonardi