On Saturday morning, April 25, 174 alumni from GSD, French & Italian, and Spanish & Portuguese came to the beautifully remodeled Folwell Hall to enjoy the company of faculty, staff, and new or old friends. They gathered on the fourth floor for coffee and pastries, voted for the best student photographs from the past year's study abroad experiences, and donned "conversation pins" to facilitate discussions of how their language studies have enriched and informed their lives. Everyone then went to the first floor to participate in three mini-class sessions, choosing from the following seventeen mini-classes taught by a mix of faculty, students, and alumni:
Teaching Abroad - the Benefits and challenges
Regions of France
Language Learning Outside the Classroom
Finnish Origins: Linguistics % & Genetics
Danger in Francophone Africa
Convivencia in Medieval Iberia
Saints and Soldiers in Medieval France
The Historic Cultural Phenomenon of the Cuban Rumba
Language Leaning Assumptions
Growing Anti-Semitism in Europe
Divine Decadance: Berlin in the Roaring '20s
U.S. Latino Theater
25 Years After the Wall
Only in Italy: Events not to be Missed
Food, Energy & Politics in Germany
World Cafe: Contemporary Language Evolution & Impact of New Technologies
Comments from some of the alumni about their experience at the reunion:
Cynthia G. Fischer, B.A. 1972, Italian, Lawyer at Schnader Harrison Segal
& Lewis LLP
"I loved the reunion! Especially meeting so many Italian majors as I was the only one when I was majoring in Italian. It was lonely! I particularly enjoyed talking to a young man who is thinking of going to law school. I too became a lawyer and Italian is what got me my first job at an Italian law firm in New York."
Sue Wickham, B.A. 1973 French, Retired Director of Human Resources, Department of Administration, State of Minnesota
"After college much of what you hear is in sound bites. It's exciting to be able to hear what's below the surface on current issues."
Gretchen Walker, B.A. 1979 French, who is now a Reference Librarian at the Minneapolis law firm Dorsey and Whitney
"So energizing to return to Folwell Hall! The 4th floor commons area seems like a great space for enjoying a quiet moment, or the community of others. The programs I attended encompassed 3 languages and cultures. The combined reunion of many language departments provided opportunities to explore and expand knowledge of other cultures. As always, a memorable occasion to re-connect with old friends and to make new acquaintances."
Ablavi Epou, B.A. 2013, French, Political Science, Global Studies, Human Resources Operations Student Service Specialist
"The 2015 CLA Language Alumni was very intriguing. The series of topics to attend, very well, depict the strengths of the CLA Language programs. The three presentations I attended were simply the tip of the iceberg; they showed not only how dedicated the language professors at the University of Minnesota are, but also dedication to their students. My best friend (a U of M alumni, French major like myself) and I felt very much at home. There is no doubt of the connection learning a language can provide for an individual. The number of turn outs to the reunion speak volume. A shout to one of the best Professors I have had at the U of M, Monsieur Bruno Chaouat, c'était un plaisir de vous revoir. Je manquerai pour toujours d'avoir été étudiante dans votre classe. I will also be looking forward to the next Language Alumni Reunion."
Dana Boyle, B.A. 1979, Italian, Human Factors Graduate Student, former V.P. Engagement Life Science Alley
"Integrating alumni, faculty and current students gave the reunion such a vibrant feel. It is clear that the global orientation we represent is increasingly seen as relevant and respected in our dynamically changing world. I greatly appreciated the diversity and quality of the mini-sessions and the chance to meet so many intelligent and interesting participants."