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* Purdue Spring Fest

March 14, 2007

Alumni to reconnect, relax at annual Gala Weekend

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Gala Weekend, the annual celebration that brings Purdue alumni back to campus in the spring, will take place April 14-16 in conjunction with the university's Spring Fest.

Marty Burns, director of alumni activities at the Purdue Alumni Association, said Gala Weekend gives alumni who may not have traveled to campus in many years the chance to reconnect with the university and former classmates.

"Gala Week goes back to the early part of the last century," Burns said. "It was a traditional time for alumni to come back to campus. They look forward to seeing all the changes on campus and to renewing old friendships."

The event will once again be held the same weekend as Spring Fest, which this year will be April 14-15. Burns said holding the two celebrations concurrently gives alumni a variety of entertainment and activities from which to choose.

Gala Weekend this year will honor the Class of 1957. The weekend will kick off Saturday, April 14, with a variety of college and organization alumni activities. Sunday will feature the class parade, which will begin at 11 a.m. Alumni will assemble by class year between Stewart Center and the Purdue Memorial Union. A member of each class holds a flag signifying its graduating year for the march to John Purdue's grave, where Purdue President Martin C. Jischke will lead a brief memorial service.

"The parade is always popular because we bring out the Boilermaker Special, Purdue Pete and some of the band," Burns said. "It has all those elements that turn back the clock for people."

At noon Sunday, a luncheon will honor the classes of 1952, 1947, 1942, 1937, 1932 and 1927. All alumni who graduated 50 or more years ago are invited. Tickets are $20 a person, and reservations are required.

The Class of 1957 will be honored at a 50th reunion reception and dinner beginning at 6 p.m. Sunday at the Shively Stadium Club at Ross-Ade Pavilion. Tickets are $49 a person. Reservations are required.

"The 50th reunion dinner used to be a very formal affair, but the classes decided to change it to casual black and gold," Burns said. "People seem to enjoy being able to talk and relax in a less rigid environment."

Events continue on Monday with a loyalty luncheon, a Class of 1957 photograph session and a tour of campus.

"We have many alumni who come back for their 50-year reunion who haven't been to campus since they graduated," she said. "It seems to be a keystone reunion for many of them. It's a good opportunity to see Purdue again. They get to remember what it was like when they were here and marvel at what has changed."

A complete listing of Gala Week events and information on how to register can be found at the Purdue Alumni Association Web site at http://www.purduealum.org/gala/gala.asp?id=schedule

Writer: Tanya Brown, (765) 494-2079, tanyabrown@purdue.edu

Source: Marty Burns, (765) 494-5181, mjburns@purdue.edu

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu

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