No. 149 | Traditions


When it comes to gathering with old freinds, one thing is certain. The same stories will be told year after year, and they will always be enjoyed.

In the early years, all “old boys” were encouraged to attend the Alumni Reunion day which often coincided with annual school-wide events including the Spring Fair (see story No. 5); Competitive Drill (see story No. 115); Memorial Day (see story No. 126); John McDonogh Day/Founders Day (see story No. 51); Commencement (see story No. 141); milestone anniversary celebrations (see story No. 70); and the McDonogh vs. Gilman Football Game (see story No. 61). Class reunion attendees enjoyed time on campus with alumni spanning the decades as well as class parties where they could really catch up.

As far back as 1914, regional alumni gatherings were held for those living out of town. In 1914, one alumnus wrote in The Week, “It was the pleasantest day I’ve spent since

leaving McDonogh, I believe, and, although I’ve attended scores of reunions of the alumni of different universities and colleges, as a newspaper reporter, I’ve never found a group of such husky, healthy, well-dressed, prosperous-looking fellows at any of them as were at the reunion of the New York alumni of McDonogh. We’ll have to have several of these occasions every year.”

Young alumni can’t resist visiting their alma mater in the years after their graduation as witnessed by a description in the February 7, 1969, issue of The Week: “One of the nostalgic joys of a student’s graduation from McDonogh is the desire to return in the coming school years for such popular gathering times as the Gilman game, Christmas vacation, and the few days after exams. The returning graduate usually finds occasion to walk down a hall of Allan Building among the many students who watched him there as a senior, leading, graduating. In addition, the returning student looks for the progress of the new senior class, and the changes in the school itself.”

That year, rather than have graduates return to campus at random, an informal gathering was set and invitations were sent. The purpose was to bring together as many former McDonogh students from the last four graduating classes, from as many diverse locations as possible. Today, Young Alumni (member of the alumni community who have graduated within the past 15 years) gather over Thanksgiving Weekend for camaraderie, an odds vs. evens lacrosse game, and more. 

McDonogh’s Office of Alumni Engagement helps the School’s more than 7,400 alumni around the world stay connected. The many programs, events, and initiatives not only keep alumni connected and engaged but are also a way for graduates from many generations to gather and network. The online McDonogh Connect platform combines the utility of an alumni directory with the opportunities of a professional network; it can be used to find old friends, make professional connections, post or view job opportunities, and offer mentoring to current students and recent graduates. Visit the Alumni page of the McDonogh website for up-to-date alumni information.

Learn more about McDonogh School's rich history by visiting the archives online.

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