Alumni: Eggheads with the Beer

The alumni reunion used to be a college's equivalent of the lost weekend—a four-day binge of old dad and Old Grand-Dad, nostalgia and nonsense, high jinks and lowlife. Now, says Yale's Associate Secretary Howard S. Weaver, "the concept of the reunion as a big party is dead. There's an overlay of seriousness on top of the fun and games." Increasingly, U.S. colleges and their grads look upon the reunion as the chance for alumni to catch up on their education. Easing out the cocktail parties are lectures and seminars by faculty experts on everything from atomic physics to zoology.

This...

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