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Summer 2003

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Legacy of love

A particular highlight of Reunion was the renaming of Skidmore Hall in memory of Kathryn Wiecking ’53. In early 2000, while already planning for her fiftieth reunion this year, Wiecking lost a battle with cancer—and revealed the full depth of her devotion to her alma mater by leaving a history-making bequest of $7.9 million. In her honor, her classmates joined the college in a ceremony to dedicate Wiecking Hall.
A toast and a song: Classmates celebrate the life of Kathy Wiecking ’53, and her $8 million bequest, at the dedication of Wiecking Hall.
     “Skidmore changed Kathy’s life—and her outlook on life,” observed her friend Natalie Jones Neri ’53. “Skidmore became Kathy’s family,” she noted, adding that several classmates and fellow Sonneteers became permanent friends. In her working years as a buyer for Jordan Marsh and Bloomingdale’s, in retirement at her beloved lakeside home in New Hampshire, and even during her illness when they took turns helping to care for her, Wiecking’s Skidmore friends reveled in her welcoming spirit and open, unpretentious ways. Her service to Skidmore included work as class secretary and reunion volunteer and providing scholarship support especially for students from her home state of Minnesota.
     Since so many of her friendships were fostered in the close-knit dormitories of the college’s old campus (including the original Skidmore Hall, where she lived as a senior), her classmates were pleased to bestow her name on a new-campus residence—“where students will continue to make friendships that last to their fiftieth reunion and beyond,” noted Suzanne Corbet Thomas ’62, chair of Skidmore’s board of trustees. Thomas also relayed remarks from Wiecking’s lifelong friend Janny Moses: “Education has been a cornerstone of the Wiecking family for generations, and Skidmore was the highlight of Kathy’s life. She would have been pleased with this honor.”
     The honor was all Skidmore’s. Not only were classmates and college officials awed by the magnitude of Wiecking’s donation—the largest single bequest or outright gift in Skidmore history—but most inspiring, said Thomas, was “the legacy of generosity and love that her bequest symbolizes.”
     After sharing a specially written hymn and poem, and unveiling a Wiecking Hall plaque, classmates dried their eyes by toe-tapping and singing along with this year’s Sonneteers—just one more nod to Wiecking’s enduring Skidmore connections. —SR

 


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