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Arts on view
by Beverly Harrison Miller 67, Alumni Association President
There are always surprising and touching moments at Reunion: the normally voluble recipient of an Outstanding Service Award rendered speechless by the emotion of the moment; the class whose members went their own separate ways now suddenly reconnecting and rediscovering itself as a strong group of friends; alums from the classes of 83 and 33 dancing until midnight (true!) under a rain-soaked tent on Case Green; the overwhelming solidarity of those marking their fiftieth reunion, so proud of their accomplishments, friendships, and loyalties.
Often, I find one defining moment. This year, in a crowd of 803 alumni plus family members, it was the class of 1953 honoring one of its own, Kathryn Wiecking, by leading the college in rededicating Skidmore Hall in her memory (see related story).
Kathy came to Skidmore from St. Paul, Minn., in 1949, and in many ways she never left. She never married and had no close family, but several of her Skidmore classmates became lifelong trusted friends. A few years ago, those bonds were tested when she fell ill. As good members of a family do, several classmates took turns staying with her and helping her. Kathy passed away in 2000, leaving behind many wonderful memories and one very special surprise. In her will, she bequeathed to the college an estate worth nearly $8 millionthe largest bequest Skidmore has ever received.
Simply in monetary terms, this was a signal eventits size surprised even those close to her, who remarked upon the very modest and unassuming way in which Kathy had lived her life. What strikes me most, however, is not the gift itself but what lay behind it: warm, dedicated friendships, the strong ties of family, and a selfless devotion to others. Kathy clearly believed in those values, and she lived them.
Because residence halls are where so many friendships begin and flourish, it is especially fitting to rename Skidmore Hall for Kathy. In doing so, we celebrate not only her life, but also something that is so special about Skidmoretrue friendship. Which is what Reunion is really all about.