International Reunion 2006
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For the first time in the history of the Juniata College International European Alumni Reunion, the event was hosted outside of France, Germany or the United States in 2006. This spring, the destination was Ghent, Belgium and the three-day experience took place from May 19-21 in a city that provided those in attendance with special memories and a wonderful opportunity to get together and share Juniata stories. A total of 53 individuals participated in either part or the entire weekend, including Juniata College Provost Jim Lakso and his wife Bonnie.
The majority of the guests for the weekend arrived and checked into their lodging facility for the weekend during the afternoon/evening of Friday the 19th. The official part of the International Reunion began on Friday at 6:30 when the group gathered on the top floor of Patrick Folley’s Irish Pub (yep, Irish Pub in Belgium) for drinks, dinner and plenty of conversation and catching up. Francois Sauvage, the lead volunteer for this year’s International Reunion, welcomed the group to Ghent and educated them on what was to happen on Saturday and Sunday. The lively crowd continued with conversation and then departed into the city (various locations) for the rest of the evening.
On Saturday those in attendance at the reunion took a two-hour guided walking tour of the city to start the day. As the group made its way to the meeting point for the tour, Mother Nature was not cooperating as rain fell and the sky was gray. However, as the tour began, blue skies appeared and the rest of the day time on the tour no rain fell.
Following lunch and an afternoon on their own, all of the Juniata guests of Ghent gathered at Graaf van Egmond for the annual alumni meeting banquet on Saturday night. Francois again welcomed everyone to the evening and a delicious meal was served. In additional to the traditional toast to Juniata, the evening was then filled with tours of pubs and taverns throughout Ghent and some dancing even took place until the early morning hours.
On Sunday morning at the annual business meeting, Provost Lakso brought news of Juniata and reported on projects that have take place in the recent past or will be taking place in the near future. Francois was presented with a gift (pottery by Jack Troy) for his efforts, while his wife, Monique, received flowers for her efforts and for allowing Francois the amount of time he needed to lead up the planning efforts. There were discussions of next year's reunion and Rafael Salgado Tourinho offered to host next year's reunion in Barcelona, Spain from May 18-20, 2007 (watch the Juniata web site for details). Rafael has a group of organizers that have planned to assist him but he is always looking for additional help from any and everyone.
Many thanks to this year's planning committee of Francois and Monique Sauvage and Ricky Beets. Everyone in attendance would attest to the fact that the trio did a wonderful job in organizing and planning the gathering in Ghent. A great time was had by one and all.