Making Reunion a Tradition
These Sigma Nu friends haven't let years or distance disrupt their CMU friendship
By Jennifer Pesci-Kelly
They met when they were students in the 60s and Sigma Nu pledges, but math and psychology major Michael Smolens (S 1969 DC 1969,) and electrical engineering major James (Jimmy) Covert (E 1969) returned for their 50-year reunion via a road trip together and a lot of reminiscing.
Michael and Jimmy are part of a close-knit group of friends from the classes of 1969 and 1970 – all Sigma Nu brothers – who gather every year as part of their own reunion tradition.
Their annual get together happens frequently in Sag Harbor in the Hamptons, but has also been hosted in Indiana, Fort Myers or for special celebrations. "We get together every year," Michael emphasizes. And when they gather in the Hamptons, Michael raises a CMU flag to mark the occasion.
Their return this year raised many memories of their active CMU years. Michael wanted to visit the WRCT studio, and observed that after four years of playing varsity tennis, the courts were still in the same place. Jimmy talked about being a buggy driver his freshman year. "The main asset was being small," Jimmy explains. “And you didn’t fog up the windshield or you couldn’t see where you were going.”
Both joined their classmates at the Medallion Reception as part of the 50-year reunion weekend festivities, toasting what CMU has brought to their lives as they gathered with classmates after many years.
They note how the campus has changed a lot since their student days 50 years ago. "There are huge new buildings." Michael says.
And some things stay the same. "Seeing the painted fence," Jimmy says, "it's emotional. That was a formative time."
Michael even ‘snuck’ into his old dorm room in Hamerschlag House, taking a photo with the room number.
These friends will reunite again this July, flying the CMU flag, returning with tales of campus and weaving stories of their CMU days and the lives they have built since their days as Tartans.