Written by Lee Anne Doyle (BES '81)
Great reunion, great chats, great memories! Graduates of the School of Urban and Regional Planning (SURP) came together on Saturday, October 29, 2016 to celebrate their 35th year since convocation. Some graduates travelled as far as Vancouver and Montreal to attend the event, as well as several retired faculty. The program included a student led campus tour, a SURP Then & Now Roundtable, moderated by the Director of SURP with current Planning students and alumni at EV3, a cocktail reception, class photos, dinner at the University Club, an After Glow event at The Courtyard Waterloo St. Jacobs, and Sunday breakfast. In honour of the reunion, those wishing to make a gift to support student scholarships were invited to make a donation to the Len Gertler Scholarship fund. Acknowledgement was given to the Office of Alumni Relations and the School of Urban and Regional Planning for their assistance.
Fortunately, all of our classmates are alive and well, and those who were unable to attend sent e-mail messages which were shared with their classmates at the dinner. The common theme of the conversations were of fond recollections and knowing that our classmates often think about our time together on campus from 1977 to 1981, which brings back great memories. Each of the alumni and retired faculty attending the reunion weekend value friendships and took comfort in reflecting who we were and what we have become. The alumni were astonished as to the significant campus changes and the entire KW landscape.
Alumni also took great interest in how the admission requirements and the UWaterloo SURP Program content have changed (e.g. there was no co-op program). Another interesting component was meeting with some of the current SURP students and participating in a roundtable discussion facilitated by Dr. Clarence Woudsma, Director of the School of Urban & Regional Planning. Alumni had an opportunity to share insights, such as what motivated us to study Planning at UWaterloo, what we would have told our younger selves thirty-five years ago before launching our careers, what career advice would we offer today knowing what we know thirty-five years later, what have we noticed as significant changes in the Planning profession, and what is the biggest challenge Planning graduates will be facing in 2017?
Participation in a class reunion, either as an organizer or a guest, provides an opportunity to touch lives and inspire happiness. It takes time and effort to organize a class reunion and the SURP Class of 1981’s 35 Year Reunion Organizing Committee included: Lee Anne Doyle (Chair), Jordan Levitin, Nancy Flagler Wilburn, and Kevin Duguay. Our success would not have been possible without the assistance of Dheana Ramsey and Jessica Debrouwer, Advancement Alumni Officers, Faculty of Environment and the Alumni Office. They were able to assist with alumni contact information, notifications, registration, door prizes, lanyards, etc. This is the SURP Class of 1981’s fourth reunion, having previously met to celebrate their 15th, 20th, 30th years. They are already planning their 40th in 2021.
REVISIT, REUNITE and RELIVE the University of Waterloo by planning a reunion.
Submitted by Lee Anne Doyle, BES, B Ed. MPA, Chair, SURP Class of ’81
Photos by Maryam Latifpor-Keparoutis, Advancement.