Williams Alumni Bicentennial

We turned 200!

THANK YOU. The Williams College Society of Alumni turned 200 in 2021, and thousands of you showed up for the bicentennial celebration: Zooming in from all corners of the world, learning and laughing with one another, and proving that there’s no community quite like ours.

As we welcome 2022 and bid farewell to our bicentennial year, we raise our glasses to you, our Eph family. Time and again, the bicentennial showed that the ties that bind us are deep and strong; that – no matter what – we’ll figure out a way to be together…and to have a blast along the way.

More than 100 staff and alumni volunteers helped plan the SoA bicentennial, which emerged as a glittering array of virtual programs, personal stories, puzzle competitions, and an epic cross-country cow-spotted RV journey. We chronicled our storied and – at times – complicated history and imagined a shared future where there’s a place for every Eph in the SoA.

The highlights shared in the video only scratch the surface of the bicentennial year and what it means to be an Eph. Much of what makes the SoA so special cannot be quantified: the annual trip with entrymates who have become lifelong friends, the life-changing professional advice from a friendly alum delighted to help a fellow Eph, or the unbridled glee at seeing a Williams sweatshirt across the street.

We are a community of people scattered across geographies and generations, here for one another because we all lived once upon a time in a tiny little town in the Berkshires. The SoA encapsulates the magic of that connection. The Williams beyond Williams.

It has been a joy and a privilege to be on this SoA bicentennial journey with you. Endless appreciation to the hundreds of Ephs whom we met and worked with along the way. Immeasurable thanks to all those who turned the bicentennial vision into a meaningful reality. And Eph-ternal gratitude to each one of you for being who you are, and for helping to make the Williams College Society of Alumni a place where every Eph belongs.

With echoes rebounding,
Laura Moberg Lavoie ’99 and Aroop Mukharji ’09
Society of Alumni Bicentennial Co-Chairs


Event Spotlight

Purple Prose Book Club: Ebony & Ivy

3/10/2022 at 12:00am ET

We will spend January through March discussing Craig Steven Wilder’s Ebony & Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America’s Universities, organized in partnership with Williams Reads. Participation in Purple Prose is always free— you just need a copy of the book.

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Williams Reads: Alumni Panel

1/21/2022 at 12:00pm ET

Professors Aston Gonzalez ’08, Tatiana M.F. Cruz ’09, and Jallicia Jolly ’14 will discuss and contextualize the troubling history of American higher education captured by Craig Steven Wilder in this year’s Williams Reads selection, Ebony & Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America’s Universities.

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Claiming Williams 2022 | On the Frontlines of Inequity: Legal Issues Impacting Native Americans

2/3/2022 at 2:00pm ET

As part of this year’s Claiming Williams Day, hear from human rights advocate Chris Stearns ’86 about the most pressing legal issues impacting Indigenous American communities today. For more than 30 years, his work has helped promote and defend sovereign rights, expand opportunities, and improve the lives of American Indians and Alaska Natives.

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Claiming Williams 2022 | Re-Shaping Boxes: Understanding Needs and Intersectionality in Identity-Based Groups

2/3/2022 at 3:45pm ET

Current leaders of the identity-based Alumni Networks and Minority Coalition groups on campus will offer insight into the groups they represent, clarify issues being faced by each specific group or when intersectionality is not considered, the basics of being an ally, and how to be involved.

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Every Person
Has a Story (EPHS!)

What does it mean to you to be a Williams alum?

Throughout the Society of Alumni bicentennial year, we invited you to tell your stories. The response was incredible, with nearly 400 alums represented in a collection of over 200 stories.

Puzzles in Purple

More than 300 of you joined the
Bicentennial Celebration Puzzle Hunt!

Join Greg Pliska ’84 for a look behind the scenes of the 11-part, 10-month Puzzles in Purple series, organized in honor of the Bicentennial of the Society of Alumni. Greg and his team of alumni constructors will talk about the process of creating a multi-part puzzle hunt, reveal the solutions for each puzzle, and announce the grand prize winners.

A graphic of puzzle pieces.

Ephs on the Mooove

graphic of an RV covered in bicentennial spots and logo, with one person staring out a window and another leaning against the hood

Meeting alumni where they are,
sharing who they are.

During the month of July, 170 of you greeted the cow-spotted RV and thousands followed online as Mike Rodriguez '17 and Juan Baena '06 made the journey across 26 states, 15 regional stops, 30 alumni interviews, and 9,000 miles. They shared alumni voices from their local communities and celebrated the shared sense of connection beyond the Purple Valley.