When it comes to scheduling reunions, CMC has tendrils that extend far and wide. Last week, they reached all the way to Amsterdam in the Netherlands, which was the site of the 27th annual Euromeet (June 17-19) for CMC alumni, parents, and students.
“Euromeet is a weekend of fellowship and recreation with members of the CMC community,” says John Faranda ’79, vice president and ambassador-at-large. “It started when some European alumni felt that they couldn’t make it all the way to Claremont for reunion weekend, so why not just have a reunion in Europe? They soon started a scholarship fund to each year support a CMC student who is studying abroad in Europe for the semester. This year, it’s Michael Boggess ’17, who was in Hungary studying mathematics this semester.”
Boggess participated in the Euromeet this year as the resident Euroscholar, a position that is sponsored by the Alumni Association and other groups. According to Boggess, being the Euroscholar essentially meant that he was the invited “student presence” for the weekend.
“All students are welcome to attend, but it’s often not convenient for obvious reasons, so each year, one student is invited to take part in the organized events, provide a current perspective on life at CMC and give remarks at a final dinner,” he says. “Having studied abroad in Budapest this past spring term, it was relatively easy for me to arrange my travel plans to land me in Amsterdam for the weekend before heading home.”
Tina Daniels ’93, says she flew in from New York City (where she leads ad agency sales for Google) to Euromeet because she had a business reason to be in the south of France during the following week and she had never been to Amsterdam. “It was a great decision and I intend to join Euromeet 2017 in Prague! The Euromeet community (several alumni have attended for multiple years) is very welcoming to first timers.”
“It’s just a great way to spend time in a new or favorite city,” she adds. “There is flexibility to explore on your own and opt in or out of the terrific activities the college organizes. And it is fun to come together for dinner with the group at the end of the day and share personal highlights.”
Last year, Euromeet was in Berlin. In 2014, London was the destination, and in 2013, it was Vienna. For the estimated 35 attendees of Euromeet Amsterdam, the weather cooperated with slightly overcast skies but no rain.
Madrid, Athens, Copenhagen, Munich, Paris, and Warsaw have been other Euromeet locations. “Amsterdam was selected for a few reasons,” says Evan Rutter ’06, CMC director of Alumni and Parent Relations. “First, we had an alumnus, Peter Armstrong Hall ’66, offer to assist. He lives in the Netherlands and has many great contacts. It also is our first visit to this great city.”
Indeed, Hall took the reins as chairman of Euromeet in Amsterdam and helped to arrange an exciting slate of activities over the three days that included scholarly presentations, canal cruises, visits to the Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum, the Anne Frank House, and plenty of fine dining.
“For me, the highlights were the presentations by knowledgeable Dutch persons, which helped personalize the Amsterdam experience,” Hall says. “They made Amsterdam come alive in a very special way. ”
Hall says that other highlights included a trip to the Amsterdam Commodities Exchange, the oldest in the world. Enlightenment came via a presentation by Peter Schatborn, a renowned expert on Dutch drawings by Rembrandt and his pupils. “It also provided the perfect backdrop to our visit to the Rijksmuseum, home of Rembrandt’s masterwork ‘The Night Watch,’ ” Hall says.
It seemed that every Euromeet attendee had a favorite destination. For Faranda, it was the Anne Frank House. “It’s been enhanced since my last visit to include more of the original office building in addition to the ‘annex’ behind the bookcase,” he says. “And having our private CMC orientation with a docent — and not having to wait in line to get in — made the visit especially memorable.”
For Boggess, the final dinner was a kind of wonderful culmination. “I loved it,” he says. “An elegant room and table, great conversation, a delicious chocolate mousse for dessert — it was one of the most enjoyable meals I’ve ever been a part of. Since we had been traveling beforehand, my brother was also in attendance, on his birthday nonetheless. With his dessert, the servers also brought out a sparkling candle; together, the room began a chorus of ‘Happy Birthday.’ Seeing my extended CMC family treat my direct biological family so kindly is something I will long cherish.”
All CMC alumni, parents, students, faculty, and staff are invited and can participate in Euromeet. “The group ends up being about one-third European residents who want a weekend holiday,” Faranda says, “and one-third U.S. residents who are in Europe on vacation or business and who add Euromeet to their plans. The remaining one-third are current students, recent graduates, and young alumni who are traveling through Europe. The best thing for me is the ability to see a city with some like-minded CMCers. Next year, we are planning to go to Prague, with help from Professor Jonathan Petropoulos in arranging access to various historic sites.”
Let the last word belong to the peripatetic Boggess: “I would recommend participating in Euromeet as a way of connecting with multiple generations of CMCers. I imagine there are other ways of doing this in a strict sense [for networking, etc.], but I can’t imagine a much better way to do so without pretense, where everyone is intent on simply enjoying themselves, on experiencing the culture and vibrancy of another country.”