Chatham University celebrates 150th anniversary, a perspective on the event from an undergraduate student

By McKenna DiRienzo

Chatham University was overflowing with alumni celebrating their alma mater’s 150th anniversary earlier in October.

My grandmother’s friend was a graduate from the class of 1959 and she was ecstatic to learn that I am currently attending the university. I got to go along with them and see what an alumni event at Chatham entailed. After attending, I realized why she was excited months in advance.

Instead of football games and cookouts, the alumnae attended a sit-down lunch to mingle with former classmates and current students at the university.

It was especially interesting to hear the daughter of the first African American woman to graduate from Chatham speak.

These events fit into the Chatham ideology perfectly. It’s celebrating the relationships and accomplishments alumnae made at the University and beyond. It was about woman appreciating and respecting what other alumnae had done, and it was powerful.

Alumnae were invited to attend a piano concert performed by Robin Meloy Goldsby ’79 who recently performed at Buckingham Palace for The Prince of Wales.

My grandmother’s friend discussed her time at the University fondly, and with a nostalgic glimmer. She recounted special times with her roommate in Berry Hall, which used to be a dormitory, but is now the admissions offices. She also poked fun at the University for becoming gender inclusive by mentioning that the campus is now overrun by boys.

The Long Purple Line Gala featured a display where attendees could walk through Chatham’s history condensed down to four stages — each following a name change the University went through.

A display of Chatham memorabilia at the Long Purple Line Gala Oct. 12.

These events oozed with Chatham pride. They were full of elegance and attended by strong women who all graduated from an empowering institution. These events focused on accomplishments alumnae had made and provided ample time for old classmates to catch up.

A college reunion is something far off in most students’ minds. The women who attended had pride in their school all these years later. We, as students, should all look forward to coming back to celebrate what we as individuals and as a class will accomplish. It was inspiring to experience these events celebrating the 150th anniversary and watching the alumni enjoy them as well.

Left to right: Communications professors Kristen Shaeffer, Dr. Prajna Parasher and Humanities professor Dr. Karen Kingsbury at the gala.