Why I Come Back: Bruce '91 and Jill '92 Maxwell

kids in big chair
"It's a comfortable, wonderful feeling to be surrounded by friends."

Why I Come Back: Reunion Memories

In honor of Swarthmore's sesquicentennial all alumni, regardless of class year, are invited to join us at All-Alumni Weekend, June 6-8. In honor of this unique reunion, we asked a few reunion regulars three important questions: Why do you come back to reunion? What's your best reunion memory? And what are you looking forward to at this year's All-Alumni Weekend? Below is one of these conversations.

Jill '92 and Bruce '91 Maxwell - When Bruce began teaching at the College, and this matchbox couple found themselves living back in Swarthmore, they developed a deep appreciation for being close to campus. Every year, friends and Bruce's former students would return for Alumni Weekend and stop by to visit the Maxwells. While they're no longer as close geographically, memories of those great reunions keep the Maxwells feeling connected to Swarthmore.


Why do you come back to reunion?

Jill: One hundred percent it has been to see the people. I loved the place, but it is always the people who bring me back. A lot of our group of friends come back every five years, and we plan to see each other, but it is always really wonderful seeing people who are coming from further away and whom we haven't seen in a long time.

Bruce: When we lived in Swarthmore, it was also nice to have the house and bring friends back to visit. For me though, every year it was really fun for me to see former students. I always want to know what they're up to, what they're doing, and seeing them gave me the opportunity to find out.

What's your best reunion memory?

Jill: Our last reunion, our 20th, the high point was hanging out in the basement of one of the dorms with our kids, playing board games. It brought back those memories of college when you could just walk down the hall and hang out with someone if you were bored. It's a comfortable, wonderful feeling to be surrounded by friends. Reunited with those friends we just sat and talked into the wee hours. And that's been what I really miss, and you don't have that outside of the dorm environment.

Bruce: At our 20th, I was already Facebook friends with a lot of my former students and had kept in touch with many of them since they graduated. But my actual classmates I haven't really connected with on Facebook. Seeing everyone in person was a good reason to reconnect and now we're staying in touch. It's a different experience, seeing everyone in person, but it's nice to have the consistent follow-up though social media. It's a lot of fun. It's expanded the range of people I'm in touch with.

Jill: It's amazing who you meet and see at reunion. Maybe it's someone I knew and was friends with, or maybe we weren't, but you become friends and connect during reunion. And now you can use social media to keep up those connections between reunions.

Will you be at reunion and what are you looking forward to?

Bruce: I'm coming back to participate in the annual Bathtub debate. But even if I wasn't participating, I'd want to come back to see my classmates and have the opportunity to see 10 or 15 years worth of former students.

Jill: I can't make it, but I would have loved to go. To see those people and see those friends who were a year ahead or behind me.

Bruce: We had that experience in the past, when we lived in Swarthmore, to see all our former friends a year or two ahead or behind us. It's nice to see more people in the classes around you. We took that for granted when we lived in Swarthmore, but now we can appreciate how unique an experience that was and we definitely miss it.