How to Plan an Iowa Alumni Reunion

A few years may have passed since your college days, but the memories can make it feel like yesterday. Reunions are a great way to gather Iowa alumni from the same graduating class, but they can also be a broader celebration of Hawkeyes with like-minded interests—such as members of alumni affinity groups, Greek organizations, athletics teams, and more.

Planning and executing a reunion takes time. It can take four to six months to plan an informal gathering, and nine to 16 months to organize a larger reunion. Download the reunion guide and checklist to get started.

Reunion Committees

A successful alumni gathering depends on a dedicated reunion chair and committee of volunteers who start planning early, work throughout the year, and share in the coordination and promotion of the event. The committee is also responsible for providing programming and activities that balance the interests of the group, while also including time for catching up with old friends.

General duties for the committee chair include:

  • Research, organize, and implement the reunion
  • Recruit and work with a committee of at least five others
  • Schedule meetings and coordinate the committee
  • Create and finalize a budget
  • Welcome attendees and volunteers during the event
  • Act as a liaison for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement
  • Support the mission of the University of Iowa

As you give your time and energy to planning a reunion, know that you are helping to strengthen the connections of proud Iowa alumni and friends.

For more information, email

Looking for other ways to get involved as an alumni or friend of the University of Iowa? Check out upcoming events and volunteer opportunities.

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A newly arrived collection of journals and newsletters in the archives details the early days of Iowa?s state parks. PHOTO: Aureal Cross Papers, Department of Special Collections and University Archives Editor's note: In Old Gold, University archivist David McCartney looks back at the UI's history and tradition through materials housed in University Archives, Department of Special Collections, University of Iowa Libraries. Aureal Cross was 23 when he was hired to work as a field ranger in eastern Iowa's Palisades Kepler State Park in 1939. The young man from rural Waterloo had just graduated from Coe College in Cedar Rapids that spring, having completed studies in geology and music. His interest in the relationships between paleontology and other disciplines was beginning to take hold. The following summer, he continued his work in the outdoors, this time at Backbone State Park in Delaware County, Iowa's oldest state park, dedicated in 1919. Cross (1916-2013) kept journals of his experiences and produced newsletters documenting the activities of his fellow naturalists in Iowa's parks. His love of research took him to the University of Cincinnati, where he completed his master's degree in 1941 and his PhD dissertation in 1943. After several positions in the academic and private sectors, he joined the faculty at Michigan State University in 1961 and spent the rest of his career there. His development of graduate programs related to paleontology is recognized as one of the most distinguished in the field. PHOTO: Aureal Cross Papers, Department of Special Collections and University Archives His longtime friendship with a member of UI's biological sciences faculty led to a connection with our campus. Cross' journals and newsletters from his time as a park ranger for the state of Iowa arrived at Special Collections in late April, just in time for Earth Day. Bruce Ritchie (87BGS), facility coordinator for UI's Department of Biology, made this transfer possible after he noticed the materials in an area that had once been occupied by Diana Horton, a UI professor emeritus of biology who died in 2018. She and Cross were friends, and he had entrusted her with the collection. The collection includes the very first issue of Backbone State Park's newsletter, Backbone Nature Notes, published in June 1939, as well as early issues of newsletters from other state parks, including Dolliver Memorial State Park near Ft. Dodge, Lacey Keosauqua State Park in southeastern Iowa, and volume one, issue one of Lake Ahquabi State Park's Nature Bulletin. The newsletters document sights and activities of many of Iowa's favorite outdoor spaces. Cross' diary chronicling his work at Backbone during the summer of 1940 is also part of the collection. On Saturday, June 8, for example, he noted a long day beginning at 8 a.m. and finishing up at 9 p.m. Tasks that day included trail raking, identifying plants for field notes, hunting for snakes and insects, and repairing a stone fireplace and benches. Associated with the Iowa State Conservation Commission and the Depression-era Works Progress Administration, the records capture a time of growing public interest in preserving land for conservation, public recreation, and research. Old Gold is pleased that the UI Libraries' Department of Special Collections and University Archives is the new permanent home for Prof. Cross's journal and newsletters, a fitting celebration of Earth Day and the centennial of Iowa's oldest state park. Learn more about Aureal Cross. Learn more about Diana Horton.

The leadership of the University of Iowa Center for Advancement

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