Williams SoA Bicentennial Past Events

Archive of past bicentennial events. Visit the events page to see what's up next.

Bicentennial Medalist in Conversation: Craig Smith ’70

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Established in 1993 on the occasion of the college’s 200th anniversary, Bicentennial Medals honor members of the Williams community for distinguished achievement in any field of endeavor. The program, reimagined this year for a digital environment and the Society of Alumni Bicentennial, will feature each medalist honoree in conversation with a contemporary.

In this Bicentennial Medalist event, hear Dr. Craig Smith ’70, Chair of the Department of Surgery at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, discuss public health, empathy, and leadership in a pandemic with Professor Tara Watson.

Dr. Craig Smith ’70 wrote updates to faculty and staff about response and priorities in the early months of the pandemic which inspired those in his care and a broader society searching for understanding and leadership. Read all of Dr. Smith’s writings here: https://columbiasurgery.org/news/updates-dr-smith

Craig Smith

WBAN Presents “Racial Disparities in Healthcare”

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Dr. Oge Uwanaka ’16, Professor Jallicia Jolly ’14 and Dr. Greg Hall ’83 are joined by Dr. Ken Alleyne ’88 during Black Maternal Health Week and National Minority Health Month to discuss health disparities in the United States, maternal health outcomes, and the ways in which COVID-19 has further revealed the weaknesses in our healthcare systems.

Puzzles in Purple: Williamsiana Trivia

So, you think you know something about Williamsiana? Well, let’s find out! Join us on April 10th, 2021 at 8:00-9:30pm EST for pub-style trivia. Commemorating the 200th anniversary of the Society of Alumni of Williams College, this trivia event is brought to you by a hearty band of Eph alums and students!

Participation in this event does NOT require registration for Puzzles in Purple and is a standalone event. Puzzles in Purple participants should know that there will be an answer embedded in the trivia event. Details to follow.

ENROLLMENT LIMIT: 300 participants, and registration is first come, first served!

Questions? Feel free to reach out to Michael Rodriguez ’17 at [email protected]

Purple puzzle

1975 Presents Recollections of Williams’ First Entering Class of Women: Looking Back…And Looking Forward

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Martha Coakley ’75 moderates a panel of ’75 alumnae, Suzanne Fluhr,  Robyn Geissler, Jacqueline Laughlin, Nancy Reece Jones, and Lisa Harris as they discuss their experiences at Williams beginning fifty years ago in the fall of 1971, and the journeys they have taken since.

As the first class of women to enter as “frosh,” they were part of Williams’ efforts to grow and diversify the student body. You are invited to hear and join this discussion, the first of many from the Class of ’75 devoted to addressing issues of gender and diversity at Williams, and their impact beyond Williamstown.

coeducational class on steps

Bicentennial Medalist in Conversation: Jason Hehir ’98

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Established in 1993 on the occasion of the college’s 200th anniversary, Bicentennial Medals honor members of the Williams community for distinguished achievement in any field of endeavor. The program, reimagined this year for a digital environment and the Society of Alumni Bicentennial, will feature each medalist honoree in conversation with a contemporary.

In this Bicentennial Medalist event, hear from Jason Hehir ’98 and acclaimed sportswriter Tim Layden ’78 in conversation. Jason Hehir is a seven-time Emmy-winning director and producer whose 2020 series The Last Dance chronicled the Chicago Bulls dynasty and Michael Jordan’s career. At the close of the program, President Maud S. Mandel will confer the college’s Bicentennial Medal to Jason.

Jason Hehir

Williams College Association of Maryland presents “Student Learning Outcomes in the Wake of COVID-19” with Melissa Osborne Groves ’93

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Dr. Melissa Groves is an Associate Professor of Economics at Towson University. Her research focuses on better understanding the naturalization decision of US immigrants as well as on the importance of personality in the labor market. Her work has been published in the Review of Social Sciences, American Economic Review, Journal of Economic Psychology and the Journal of Economic Literature as well as in her co-edited book, “Unequal Chances: Family Background and Economics Status”.

Dr. Groves is also passionate about financial literacy and has worked for the past twelve years with the Maryland Council on Economic Education and the Maryland Coalition for Financial Literacy teaching workshops for elementary, middle and high school teachers to help them integrate economics and financial literacy knowledge into the curriculum. She earned a B.A. in Economics from Williams College and a PhD from UMass Amherst.

Melissa Groves

Today and Tomorrow: A Time Capsule Project

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What would it be like to jump into the future and tell people what this unprecedented time has been like for us? How would we create a history out of the present? And how can we represent the moment knowing that tomorrow’s audience might not share our perspectives? These are some of the questions students of the Theatre Department will ask as they create a digital performance time capsule and an accompanying physical “artifact” of the year 2021 drawing from theatre, dance, puppetry, poetry, the visual arts, and music. Students will work with Theatre Department faculty members Amy Holzapfel and Shanti Pillai and an interdisciplinary group of professional artists. The digital performance and artifact will be presented to the Williams community, April 23-25. The materials will then reside at the Williams Archives from where they will emerge (again) for students, faculty, staff, and alumni in 2041.

Theatre Department Scenic

Purple Prose Book Club: The Unwinding of the Miracle

Reading Period: March 18, 2021 to May 20, 2021

Join our virtual book club to connect with fellow Williams alumni and members of the Eph community as we read and discuss various book genres, including novels, lifelong learning, personal growth and more! The book club will read one book every two months so that you will have plenty of time for each book.

In celebration of the Bicentennial milestone and all things #WilliamsAlumni200, we are excited to announce a very special All-Alum Authors Year of Purple Prose! Yes, you read that correctly: an entire year dedicated to reading works written by Ephs!

Our March 2021 to May 2021 selection is The Unwinding of the Miracle by Julie Yip-Williams ’97. Participation in the text-based online discussion is free – you just need a copy of the book!

Unwinding of the Miracle book cover

Purple Prose Book Club: Just Us

Reading Period: January 7, 2021 to March 11, 2021

Join our virtual book club to connect with fellow Williams alumni and members of the Eph community as we read and discuss various book genres, including novels, lifelong learning, personal growth and more! The book club will read one book every two months so that you will have plenty of time for each book.

In celebration of the Bicentennial milestone and all things #WilliamsAlumni200, we are excited to announce a very special All-Alum Authors Year of Purple Prose! Yes, you read that correctly: an entire year dedicated to reading works written by Ephs!

Our January 2021 to March 2021 selection is Just Us: An American Conversation by Claudia Rankine ’86. Participation in the text-based online discussion is free – you just need a copy of the book!

Claudia Rankine Just Us

Women in the Society of Alumni

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Celebrate International Women’s Day, Women’s History Month, and 50 years of Williams co-education with a panel discussion moderated by Williams Trustee and former Society of Alumni (SoA) President Leila Jere ’91. Joining Leila in conversation will be current SoA President Kate Boyle Ramsdell ’97, current SoA Executive Committee member and WBAN member Katherine Sharpe ’79, and former SoA Executive Committee member and BiGLATA member Cat Vielma ’10.

Panelists will speak to several questions, addressing the ways in which alumnae have pushed the Society of Alumni to be more inclusive, expansive, and interconnected. How has the alumni body and its values have changed over time, reflected in the matriculation of Williams women in 1971 and, later, the addition of female voices to the Board of Trustees, the SoA Executive Committee, and Williams Alumni Networks’ executive boards? This event is also an opportunity to consider and discuss in open forum the work still to be done in the Society of Alumni toward gender equity, gap closure, and an inclusive definition of Women of Williams. This panel promises to be part celebration, part critical reflection, and part forward momentum.

Leila Jere

WAAAAN Presents Hand-Pulled Noodles with Hannah Wong ’08

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Join Chef Hannah Wong ’08 in her kitchen as she demonstrates how to prepare hand-pulled noodles, also called lamian in Chinese. This unique method of making noodles originated in China, where hand-pulled noodles are traditionally served on Lunar New Year to symbolize a long life ahead. In addition to a live cooking demo, Hannah will share how her identity, journey, and passions inform her fight for a more expansive and equitable vision of the culinary field and beyond. Participants will also have a chance to learn about two organizations that Hannah is involved in: The Level Up Project, a virtual education initiative and network of individuals committed to removing systemic barriers, and Heart of Dinner, a non-profit combating food insecurity and isolation in New York City’s elderly Asian American community.

Planning to cook alongside Hannah? We recommend making the dough in advance (ideally day-of). You can find the ingredients and recipe here.

This event is organized and sponsored by WAAAAN, the Williams Asian & Asian American Alumni Network.

Hannah Wong

Williams Boston Association Presents “The Power of Dance Practice” with Véronëque Ignace ’15

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“Embodying History, Narrative, and Social Action: The Power of Dance Practice with Véronëque Ignace ’15”

Community organizer and performing artist, Véronëque Ignace ’15, will share some of her work on historical and cultural healing through a movement-based workshop showcasing Haitian dance. The workshop will be modeled off a project she developed in collaboration with several artists, The Nou Series: An Embodied History and Body Installation Project. The project explored the historical memories and narratives of communities in Brooklyn, NY, formed by the black diaspora, and as related to the landmarked Wyckoff House, through dance and movement.

headshot-Véronëque

Bicentennial Medalist in Conversation: Chaédria LaBouvier ’07

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Established in 1993 on the occasion of the college’s 200th anniversary, Bicentennial Medals honor members of the Williams community for distinguished achievement in any field of endeavor. The program, reimagined this year for a digital environment and the Society of Alumni Bicentennial, will feature each medalist honoree in conversation with a contemporary.

In this Bicentennial Medalist event, hear from curator, art historian, writer Chaédria LaBouvier ’07, in conversation with Lisa Dorin MA’00, WCMA’s Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs and Curator of Contemporary Art. LaBouvier is the first Black curator, first Black woman, first curator of Cuban descent and first Black author of a catalogue in the Guggenheim’s 80 year history, with her exhibition, “Basquiat’s Defacement: The Untold Story.”

Chaedria LaBouvier

1975 Presents Recollections of the Black Student Experience

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In honor of Black History Month, alumni Mike Reed ’75, Jackie Laughlin (Meadows) ’75, Frank (Rick) Richards ’75, Lezli White ’75, Delbert Wigfall ’75, and Hardin Coleman ’75 will share some remembrances of their singular Williams experiences. Participants are invited to dialogue with the presenters on their experiences of race at Williams.

This event is organized and sponsored by the Class of 1975.

1975 Homecoming

Davis Center: A Conversation featuring President Maud S. Mandel

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President Maud S. Mandel will facilitate a conversation about the Davis Center (formerly the Multicultural Center) with staff, faculty, and student representatives who lead the vital work of the DC at Williams. They will share their experiences along with goals and plans for the DC in the short and long term, including a vision for a renewed and revitalized DC physical plan on the horizon.

Panelists Include:
– Carmen Whalen, Carl W. Vogt ’58 Professor of History & Faculty Fellow of the Davis Center and OIDEI
– Dominic Madera ’21, current student
– Eden-Reneé Hayes, Director of the Davis Center
– Leticia S.E. Haynes ’99, Vice President for Institutional Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
– Mohammed Memfis ’21, current student

Davis Center

Claiming Williams Keynote: An Evening with Michelle Alexander

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The recording will be available for one week for Williams students, faculty, staff and alumni only; please do not distribute.

Join the Williams community for a moderated webinar featuring legal scholar Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. This event is organized and sponsored by the Claiming Williams Committee. The theme for Claiming Williams 2021 is “From Racial Injustice to Restoration” and aims to explore the ways in which structural racial inequities, racism, and bigotry on campus and in the wider world have shaped the Williams College experience.

Michelle Alexander

Claiming Williams: Events Open to Alumni

The theme for Claiming Williams 2021 is “From Racial Injustice to Restoration.” Throughout the day, we aim to explore the ways in which structural racial inequities, racism, and bigotry on campus and in the wider world have shaped the Williams College experience for students, faculty and staff.

Alumni are invited to be a part of the conversation this year. Please feel free to attend any of these programs:

On the Frontlines of Inequity: Williams Alumni in EDI

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Hear and learn from a panel of Williams alumni working professionally in EDI (equity, diversity, and inclusion) spaces: Leticia Smith-Evans Haynes ’99, Ali Michael ’00, Sharifa Wright ’03, and Sabine Chishty ’12. What are the individual experiences and challenges of doing this necessary work? What path brought these alums here professionally, and what have they learned along the way? What resources and actions do they most recommend to break down systems of oppression? And what opportunities do they see for the Williams community broadly to foster inclusive culture and a sense of belonging for all Ephs? This is a moment to listen and learn from those on the frontlines of systemic inequity.

Claiming Williams headshots

Williams College Assoc. of Maryland Presents “Leading a Community Through Its Reckoning with Racism” with Grey Maggiano ’03

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Rev. Grey Maggiano ‘03 has been the Rector of Memorial Episcopal Church in Baltimore since 2016. In the last five years he has helped the church and its surrounding neighborhood reckon with their racist past and the legacy of slavery in this part of Baltimore. They recently launched a $500,000 reparations initiative.

This event is organized and sponsored by the Williams College Association of Maryland.

Grey Maggiano

Belonging in the Bicentennial: Racial Literacy Workshop

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Join Williams College Distinguished Visiting Professor of Education, Kelsey M. Jones ’08, for an introduction to racial literacy. Expanding on the theme of belonging in the Bicentennial year and beyond, this interactive workshop will provide a safe and inclusive space for alumni to recognize, name, and respond to racial moments in daily life.

Kelsey Jones '08 Headshot

Bicentennial Premiere: There’s a Place For You

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Join us for the official live premiere of the Society of Alumni Bicentennial with special performances, reflective retrospection, messages and greetings from Ephs everywhere, and an open invitation to our entire community to celebrate this milestone!

balloons

Alumni Trivia Night

Please use this form to sign up for future trivia events!

Enjoy a fun and spirited hour-long evening of trivia, including a Williams-specific round! Recruit up to six teammates (yourself included!), play solo, or meet new Ephs on a randomized team!

Three students wearing masks are mid-air as they jump in front of a valley view.

Alumni Winter Study | EPHS 119 Bridging Theory and Practice: Art-Inspired Yoga

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This vinyasa-style yoga class takes inspiration from an untitled watercolor by Williams alumnus Tao Ho ’60 in the collection of the Williams College Museum of Art. The course aims to develop the wide range of skills needed to consider landscape, composition, and atmosphere from a multi-disciplinary perspective. We will practice close looking and experiential engagement through yoga-based movement patterns. Through this hour-long class, participants will have the opportunity to visually, aurally, and kinesthetically meditate with the watercolor. No yoga or art historical experience is necessary, and all bodies are welcome!

Instructor: Emily Kamen MA ’20, Art Historian & Yoga Teacher. Learn more about Emily and her Art-Inspired Yoga series organized by WCMA.

Enrollment Limit: 300

Emily Kamen

Alumni Winter Study | EPHS 117 Creative Baking: A Community-Based Experience

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Have you ever wondered why there are so few desserts that rival a Knock-You-Naked? How to achieve the proper ratio of caramel goodness? How to best spend your Sunday after we make these amazing treats together (answer: happily reminiscing with every bite)? These are some of the questions we will explore in this course, which introduces students to the discipline of Creative Baking. During this course we will: (1) read and discuss the recipe; (2) use case studies to examine how to bake a Knock-You-Naked properly; (3) develop a final product; (4) savor your just desserts.

Instructor: Christopher Sewell ’05 with BlackYardEph Bakery. Picked up as a hobby during the pandemic, Chris showcases his baking skills on a weekly basis on his BlackYardEph Bakery Instagram. In his professional capacity, he serves as Associate Dean of Students and Dean of First Year Students at Williams.

Enrollment Limit: 300

Chris Sewell

Alumni Winter Study | EPHS 114 The Making and Unmaking of Purple Cocktails (and Mocktails)

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This class utilizes the methods and theories of libation generation to help students design and pursue innovative beverage creation. Students will use an array of techniques such as mixing, shaking, and pouring to explore the benefits of collaborative and participatory research. Throughout the course, our goal is to better understand the strengths and limits of Purple Cocktails (and Mocktails) while considering how to improve our own mixology. Students will have the opportunity to create and present a final product.

Instructor: Ken Wyatt ’84 with 44° North® Vodka. In conjunction with his partner, Ron Zier, Ken worked to herald the beginning of the “local” spirit movement in the United States. The brand is presently in 40 states and has grown each year since release. Read more about Ken in this Idaho Business Review article.

Enrollment Limit: 300

Alumni Winter Study | EPHS 109 Introduction to Family Storytelling

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Anyone can be an author or an illustrator—or both. All you need is a piece of paper, a pair of scissors, a smidge of abandon, and even the slightest hint of something to say. Led by an author/illustrator duo who have spent the past two decades creating more than 80 indie and commercial books for children and adults, this class will explore creative process, collaboration, risk-taking, creative block, and the astonishing possibilities that emerge when the human mind joins forces with a simple sheet of paper. Together, we will make books while telling and sharing our stories—as all of us are meant to. (This course is appropriate for and open to anyone who is either old or young enough to hold a pen or pencil.)

Instructors: Robbi Behr ’97 & Matthew Swanson ’97, Professional Author/Illustrator Duo. To learn more about their work or watch their daily, 60-second videos, you can find Robbi and Matt on YouTube, Instagram, or Facebook.

Enrollment Limit: 300

Robbi and Matthew