Enthusiastic response to virtual “Homecoming Weekend”

The College's first ever virtual programme of events for Alumni took place – to great acclaim – over the “Homecoming Weekend" (5-6 September).

Melissa Morley, Senior Alumni Engagement Manager, reported: “We had lots of interest, with over 450 registrations and it was fantastic to see so many Alumni coming together from all over the world and across many different College years.”

The weekend began with two fascinating talks by Fellows of the College William Chapman and John Snelson. William Chapman discussed The Bloomsbury Group’s lives, works and connections with Mecklenburgh Square; whilst John Snelson explored how Gaston Leroux’s Phantom of the Opera has been repeatedly reinvented worldwide, and especially through film. The talks were very well received and some interesting questions from attendees followed.

The “Universally Challenged” quiz was a truly international affair, with 15 teams pitching their wits against each other in a closely fought battle. Congratulations to “Feel the Burn”, the winning team, who between them represented the Congo, Azerbaijan, India, Iran, France and Bangladesh!

Golfam (team captain) had this to say: “The quiz was really fun and a great opportunity to catch up with old friends and see some familiar faces.”

Homecoming weekend quiz team

Many participants got in touch to compliment Registrar Caroline Persaud’s colourful and spooky Ghost Tour of the College, which took place late on Saturday night.

South African Estelle, who lived at Willy G in 1990 said: “I thoroughly enjoyed the events I attended, they brought back so many wonderful memories. Walking us through the two buildings during the Ghost Tour was a great touch and brought us all close to the Square in a unique way.”

The Weekend concluded with an enjoyable hour of live jazz from the Willy G LCR with long-time College favourites John-Paul Muir, Tom Bartlett and Alison Beck.

Alumnus David, who tuned in from the US said: “Thanks for setting up this performance, and inviting me (and my wife) and so many other Goodenough Alumni to enjoy it.  J-P Muir and Friends were superb.”

The goal of the Homecoming Weekend was to reconnect Goodenough’s wonderful and widespread Alumni community with the College and with old friends – particularly at this challenging time when the College has been closed to visitors.

Melissa Morley concludes: “It was great to see so many of our Alumni sharing stories of College life, be it during the 1960’s or much more recently. Throughout the programme, the spirit of Goodenough and the affection with which it is held by our Alumni community shone through.

“Thank you so much for joining us and for the many lovely messages we received afterwards. And if you missed the Homecoming Weekend, don’t worry, there will more events coming later in the year – so do keep an eye on the Alumni diary for more details.”

“I wanted to say a BIG THANK YOU to you and all the participants for organising the Alumni Weekend. It was a wonderful way to reconnect with the College. I particularly enjoyed the Ghost Tour. The stories were fun and insightful and it was great to see the College live this way. Almost like being there again. How I miss it.

“The Q & A was also fun because it gave me the chance to see where some of the others were from. I am eager to reconnect with some of my old friends because I have lost touch.

“Thank you for all the love and care, organising and research that has gone into putting this weekend together.

Virginia Brunnert