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GFS Welcomed Over 400 Guests at the 2024 Alumni Weekend

One of the most cherished traditions at GFS is Alumni Weekend, which takes place in mid-May each year. This annual gathering provides an opportunity for past GFSers from across the decades to return to campus to share memories and celebrate being together in community. The 2024 Alumni Weekend took place from May 16-19, with over 400 guests, including alumni and their families, retired faculty and staff, and other friends, attending events across the four days.

Festivities kicked off on Thursday, May 16, with the International Students Program 10-Year Anniversary Dinner. Under the party tent set up on the Common, attendees from around the world reconnected and reminisced. Former and current ISP students, host families, faculty, and staff swapped stories and enjoyed photo displays and speeches.

On Friday, the Alumni Weekend Welcome Reception kept the convivial atmosphere going strong. Remarks were given by GFS Head of School Dana Weeks, Chief Advancement Officer, Hannah Caldwell Henderson ’91, and Michael Williamson, a former GFS teacher and administrator. Williamson reflected on the late Alden Mellor (Denny) Heck '63, alumna and former art teacher at GFS. He encouraged guests to head to the Front Hall of the Main Building to see an exhibition of Heck’s paintings, “Wisdom Beauty Simplicity,” which he co-curated and installed with Jim Miller (Heck’s husband).  

The schedule on Saturday was a busy one: after registration on the front porch of the Meetinghouse, old friends greeted one another with hugs and smiles. Classes ending in 4 and 9 were celebrating milestone reunions and turned out in high numbers, particularly the Class of 1974 and the Class of 2004. 

Volunteer faculty, staff, and students gave campus tours, bringing alumni to familiar and new locations and sharing plans for the All-School Commons and Center for the Arts. Others met up at Fields for the Alumni baseball game, where Alumni players from 1970-2023 took on—and ultimately triumphed over—the GFS Varsity Boys team.

Everyone reconvened at the Meetinghouse for Meeting for Worship and the presentation of the 25th annual West Alumni Award to the 2024 recipient, Thomas (Tom) Theodore Loder ’76. It was also announced, to much applause, that the iconic portico and front steps of the Main Building will be named in honor of the award’s namesakes, Susan Quillen West ’49 and David A. West ’49, both of whom passed away in 2023.

After lunch and class photos, alumni and other guests headed to one of three mini-courses on offer: “Magic and Games” with Upper School math teacher, Matt Zipin; “Funky Fungi Printmaking” with Middle School art teacher Heather Chu Marvill; and “Concert Choir” with Anne Hess, Director of the Upper School Choir and Chorus, and Middle School music teacher. Later that evening, folks met both on- and off-campus for class reunion parties.

On Sunday, many alumni returned to campus for a memorial Meeting for Worship and reception in honor of Denny Heck. Soon after, the annual Spring Choral Concert—featuring ensembles from Lower, Middle, and Upper School— filled the Meetinghouse with joyful music. It was a special way to close Alumni Weekend, with current and former students and families gathered in community. 

Save the date for next year’s Alumni Weekend: May 16-18, 2025.