My husband Tim and I returned to Vanderbilt University last weekend for our 30th class reunion (Class of 1979 for those of you who are math “challenged”).  We had a weekend of celebration, reminiscing and good times as we reacquainted ourselves with classmates from undergraduates days at Vanderbilt.

Tim and I both graduated in the same class at Vanderbilt and between us we know the majority of our approximate 1,100 classmates.  We served as attendance chairs for the weekend and it was a great opportunity to catch up with the folks we shared our undergraduate antics at Vanderbilt.   Vanderbilt alums are spread out all over the United States so we don’t get to see a lot of these people between reunions.

It was an action packed weekend as we started our activities on campus Friday around lunch and wrapped things up Sunday morning before making the 4 hour drive home from Nashville to Atlanta.

Ellie English Vanderbilt UniversityOur daughter Ellie is a junior in the Vanderbilt School of Engineering so we also mixed in visiting with her over the weekend.  We kicked off our reunion weekend by attending Ellie’s Art History class Friday at lunch.  Ellie’s professor discussed surrealism using the latest technology to project slides for class review and discussion.  Class discussion was impressive and I was surprised by the depth of experiences students used to interpret the art.

Our big class party Friday evening was the highlight of the weekend.  For about four hours the 300 returning class of 1979 alumni and their spouses/partners reacquainted themselves in a tent on Library Lawn.  It was chilly outside but warm in the tent as we tried to squeeze in conversations with all our classmates from freshman hall, our sororities and fraternities, engineering and math classes, football team classmates for Tim.  It was a rapid fire series of encounters that were abruptly ended when another classmate would walk up and mix in the conversation.  We had so much to share and the time was inadequate.

Saturday was defined by the football game between Vandy and Georgia and unfortunately we drew the 11:20 am game slot because of TV (Nashville is on Central time).  The reunion tailgate was pushed up to 9:00 am and we gamely complied.  Our morning included tailgate parties with our daughter Ellie (thanks to the BUCS for their hospitality), the Vanderbilt football Letterman tailgate, and the Reunion central tailgate.  The game was disappointing for Vandy fans but it was off to the AOPi sorority house reception afterwords where my daughter Ellie had pulled out old composites from my years at Vanderbilt.

Vanderbilt AOPi


Saturday evening we took Ellie and her suitemates to dinner.  What a pleasure to have four bright and delightful young women all to ourselves for the evening.  We are so proud of the friendships Ellie has made at Vanderbilt.

Sally’s Words of Wisdom After Processing Reunion Weekend

1. Relationships matter.  Spend the time to get to know the people on your freshman hall, in your classrooms, etc.  Repeat at every stage of your life and you will be rewarded everytime you cross paths with some one from your past.

2. Success is all about happiness.  Material success is very different from happiness.  Material success and happiness are not exclusive but happiness requires investing in relationships, family and personal development.

3. It is OK to be proud of your children’s accomplishments.  It is not OK to brag about those accomplishments as part of some kind of contest between parents.

Vanderbilt AOPi Sally English

4.  Everybody ages and our bodies change over time.  Do not stress out over your appearance as your friends do not care how you look,  They are more excited about seeing you than worrying about whether or not you are ready for the pages of Vogue.

5. Friendships outlast pretty much everything else in our lives.

6.  Having fun is a necessary part of life.  Don’t avoid it.  Seek out opportunities for “Joy”.

We are now looking forward to our 35th class reunion.  It is only 5 years away!