A strictly ‘first class’ reunion

The 1963 Pioneers will be returning to Oakland University the weekend of Sept. 13. 

“Their mascot was the Pioneers, not Grizzlies, and they really see themselves as that,” Sue Helderop, Director of Alumni and Community Engagement said. “Welcome back, look how we’ve grown and look what you started.”

When they attended Oakland, campus consisted of only three buildings: North Foundation, South Foundation and the Oakland Center. 

“I know for them it was very rural when they were on campus so it’s going to be shocking to see all the changes on campus,” Helderop said. “A lot of them attended the 45th but we’ve made progress from that point.”

The weekend was framed around the requests of the Charter Class. 

“We started this about a year ago and involved the Charter Class members from the beginning. We asked them via survey and other communications what they wanted to see,” Erin Sudrovech, Associate Director of Alumni and Community Engagement said. “We got together a group of volunteers from that class that have been helping as well, so, some of the 1963 grads are a part of this event committee.”


Class of 1963

The Charter Class will get to mingle amongst each other and Charter Class Faculty members through luncheons and dinners, as many of the students requested plenty of time to catch up.

 However, the Charter Class was very interested in seeing Meadow Brook Hall. 

“They have memories of Matilda Wilson (Oakland Founder),” Helderop said. She was very involved with the students and they recall that. She would even stop by their classes periodically. 

Upon graduation Matilda presented the 1963 Charter Class with their class ring—with a diamond set in it. 

“I bet you 90 percent of attendees will come with their rings. The other ten percent might have lost them to the hands of time,” Sudrovech said.

This particular class had a 40th and 45th reunion as well. 

One of the women, that attended the 40th, wrote in a memory book about being one of the coat check girls for Matilda’s high society party back in the day. She recalled the Oakland girls in coat check trying on all the women’s furs when they went into the hall. 


The 50th Reunion 

The 50th reunion has received RSVP’S from Pioneers spread all around the U.S. Graduates from Florida, Oregon, New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, New Hampshire, Georgia, Illinois, Wisconsin and Colorado.

Helderop and Sudrovech acknowledged that they are planning on making the 50th reunion annual.