Why I Come Back: Paul Peelle '69

Alumni Talking
"I come back for the same reason every year: the interesting people."

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.

Paul Peelle '69 - The child of a Swarthmore matchbox, Gertrude (Gemmy) Maginniss Peelle '39 and Robert Peelle '39, Paul attended his first reunion in utero and he hasn't missed a year since. With 67 reunions under his belt, Peelle is an Alumni Weekend staple.

Why do you come back to reunion?

I come back for the same reason every year: the interesting people. And since I come back every year it's not just my own class I get to see-most of my classmates only come every five years-but I get to see the people who were in classes right before and after me. The way I see it, why not go and see them too? You go to college with seven years' worth of classes. By only coming back once every five years you miss out on seeing those other six classes worth of friends and college mates. And even those alumni who went to Swarthmore significantly before or after me, they're still interesting people and I enjoy the opportunity to get to know them too.

It's also nice to get to interact with the other generations of alumni. When I'm back on campus, I feel like I'm 21 years old again. I love talking to the current students or the young alumni like they're the same age as me. They probably think I'm crazy but it's nice to know that no matter what age you are, we all have this common bond that brings us back to Swarthmore.

What's your best reunion memory?

I've been the Class of 1969's reunion chair since we graduated, and I've always put a lot of hard work and long-distance phone calls into organizing our class reunions. Because I always knew it'd pay off. My best reunion memories are when I encouraged or convinced someone to come back for reunion. Getting to see them see this place again and experience it again is a great feeling. You can't really appreciate Swarthmore's influence on you and your life and what made it great without coming back and visiting everyone once in a while. And once you're here it speaks for itself.

What are you looking forward to at this year's All-Alumni Weekend?

I'll be at reunion this year because I don't really have a choice any more. I've always come back and I always will. But I'm looking forward to seeing how many classes are represented at this All-Alumni Weekend and curious to see just how many people will show up.