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Alumni Reunion Weekend goes virtual

Alumni Reunion Weekend at the University of Kansas Medical Center looks a bit different in 2020, with events occurring virtually.

Baby Doc mascot high-fives an alumna during 2019 reunion weekend
In 2019, mascot Baby Jay helped award recipients celebrate during Alumni Reunion Weekend. The high-fives will be virtual in 2020, but organizer Jordann Snow said she hopes Jayhawk connections feel rekindled.

"A Virtual Celebration" is the theme for this year's Alumni Reunion Weekend at the University of Kansas Medical Center Oct. 2-3.

Of course, in era of the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone knows that "virtual" refers to online gatherings of people to avoid the face-to-face meetings that might spread the virus. By no means does it refer to virtual's other meaning of "almost, nearly or not completely."

"We still expect it to be a celebration. Perhaps not like other Alumni Reunion Weekends before it, but a definite chance for alumni to connect," said Jordann Snow, director of alumni relations.

There's an app for that

In fact, the Alumni Relations department has created a special app for Alumni Reunion Weekend 2020 where participants can manage their weekend experience in one helpful location. The app will contain all links for virtual events, a list of everyone who has registered, a coupon for the KU bookstore and other only-on-the-app content. To receive a link on how to download the app, register online.

A prelude to the weekend is the Jessie Ball lecture, presented by Marsha Melnick, Ph.D., who served as physical therapy department chair from 1981 to 1989. Her presentation is titled "Fun and Progress with Jessie and the Gang" and will be held Thursday, Oct. 1.

On Friday, Robert D. Simari, M.D., executive vice chancellor, will officially kick off Alumni Reunion Weekend with an update on how KU Medical Center has navigated the COVID-19 pandemic and on what leadership plans for the future. After that, the Alumni Awards Recognition Ceremony will pay tribute to nine outstanding individuals.

Cooking demonstration and plenty of Zooming

Later that day, fans of the Food Network will delight in a Jayhawk-created cooking demonstration on Mediterranean and low-fat eating for better overall health. Recipes will be available.

On Saturday, alumni will gather on Zoom by school and year of graduation. Check online for a full schedule of events.

Can't make it to the virtual celebration? Alumni can update their information online and submit it to their class notes 24/7.

"In a pandemic, it can be tough to keep up social connections, so we're hoping Alumni Reunion Weekend, even in this new format, can brighten some hearts and renew some Jayhawk connections," Snow said.

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