Bob Church, president of the class of 1963, set up a weekend of homecoming events to commemorate the 50 years since his class graduated.
The class had the option to register to attend the Homecoming Spectacular, homecoming parade float, registration and reception, homecoming football game and fifty-year celebration buffet dinner. However, the dinner was the event where the true reuniting of the classmates took place.
“Everyone is scattered, and now there will be about 100 of us coming back. It has been nice to work with the class officers from years and years ago. … I am looking forward to meeting folks I haven’t seen in so long and seeing what is going on on campus today. It is so gratifying,” said Owen James Stevens, a graduate from the class of 1963.
According to Church, there was a high turnout in comparison to other 50-year reunions. Ninety-four people were registered on the list, and in years prior, a number closer to sixty was scheduled to attend.
Church, wearing his ’63 letterman sweater, welcomed everyone to the dinner with a few words. Additionally, he asked his class to give a moment of silence to the 313 people who have passed from the 1,700 graduates of 1963.
People came from all across the country to attend this event. Richard and Claudia Bushman travelled from New York City, where they currently reside, to present as guest speakers.
Claudia Bushman urged the class members to write their stories down and not to squander the years they have left. She explained that if they didn’t write it down, it would be forgotten, and it would be as if it never happened. Richard Bushman spoke to the class about Joseph Smith, the golden plates and what they all stand for. Outside of their presentations, both expressed their support for this reunion and the impact BYU has had on their lives.
“When we lived in Africa and the Philippines, I applied everything that I learned from my classes. BYU has absolutely made a big impact on my life,” Claudia Bushman said.
Richard Bushman also reflected on memories of BYU and how the school has evolved since he was a student.
“The campus has changed over the years, even over the last two years,” he said. “It is useful at this stage of life for people to revisit the past; people here will be over 70, and it is good to remember your younger years in a way of summing up. There is great value in a reunion.”
These guests are full of rich background, each leading different lives, but all bringing them back to the one thing they all have in common. This common thread is the gift they have to gather and celebrate their unity and dedication to BYU after 50 years.
In response to homecoming week’s theme of courage, Church shared a few words to the class, both those who were present and not.
“Similar to what President Hinckley often said, one thing I would like to tell my class is that no matter what the trials you’re faced with, this too shall pass and you’ll be alright,” Church said. “Keep on keepin’ on. Even though it is difficult, we can’t give up. We have family, friends, children and neighbors. It is a season where we can be of great service to those around us and to show our courage.”