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W&L Celebrates Return of Five-Star Generals to Campus Alumni enjoyed one another's company and a variety of weekend festivities.

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Washington and Lee University welcomed 70 alumni and guests from the classes of 1972 and earlier back to campus March 4-9 for Five-Star Festival 2023. Festival participants traveled from 17 states to reconnect with one another and their alma mater. The classes of 1968, 1963 and 1958 were honored in recognition of their 55th, 60th and 65th W&L reunions. The 2023 festival also marked the first in-person collaboration with the Office of Lifelong Learning and the Institute for Honor Symposium.

The Five-Star Festival weekend featured dynamic programming, entertainment and activities that provided unique opportunities for attendees to reconnect with one another and the university.

Highlights of the weekend schedule included

  • Opening Assembly led by John Jensen ’01, executive director of Alumni and Career Services and James Torbert, president of the Executive Committee;
  • Commemorative reunion pin presentation for those in attendance from the classes of 1968, 1963 and 1958;
  • Tom Camden ’76, associate University Librarian for Special Collections and Archives, hosted a reception for alumni and guests and showcased several previously unseen university treasures from the archives;
  • Presentation of the 2023 Five-Star Distinguished Alumni Awards to Michael Spector ’68, Buddy Atkins ’68, and Lanny Butler ’63;
  • University Update given by Provost Lena Hill;
  • Programming and student panel presentations delivered by the Office of Lifelong Learning, the Shepherd Program, Mock Convention 2024, the Office of Community Based Learning, and Institutional History and Museums;
  • Celebration of Life Service in University Chapel with Beau Dudley ’74, ’79L and Harlan Beckley, Religion Professor Emeritus;
  • The Institute for Honor Symposium opening keynote address delivered by Ambassador David J. Scheffer;
  • Joint reception and dinner with the Institute for Honor attendees; and
  • The Institute for Honor panel discussions on the topic of corporate responsibility in times of armed conflict.

Vice President for University Development Tom Jennings recognized the efforts of Annual Fund Volunteer Class Agents and provided updates on current Annual Fund totals for the reunion classes.

  • The Class of 1958 has raised $45,746;
  • The Class of 1963 has raised $22,605;
  • The Class of 1968 has raised $117,682.

2021-2022 Annual Fund Trophy Winners were also recognized:

  • The Bierer Trophy: Class of 1969, led by Class Agent Rick McMillan with 12.6 percent of this class being members of The President’s Society.
  • The Washington Trophy: Class of 1969, led by Class Agent Rick McMillan with $182,413 raised.
  • The Richmond Trophy: Class of 1955, led by Class Agent Dave Berlinghof with 79% participation.
  • The McCutcheon Trophy: Class of 1955, led by Class Agent Dave Berlinghof with 79% of the class as members of the 1749 Circle.

View the online photo gallery and recap video containing special highlights and memories from the festivities.

“This year’s Five-Star Festival brought together cherished alumni for a weekend of celebration, education, remembrance, and fellowship,” said John Jensen, executive director of Alumni and Career Services. “The intimate setting allowed us to show off some of the university’s best features: the beauty of campus, our broad array of academic and interdisciplinary programs, the excellent faculty and staff, and our amazing students. Our Five-Star alumni left feeling energized and excited about W&L’s future.”