Harlaxton Class Approaching 40 Year Anniversary Stays Connected Across the Globe
Posted: Friday, June 14, 2019
It has been nearly 40 years since Harlaxton’s class of 1979-1980 studied at the Manor. The class, which included students from more than 10 countries in North America, Europe, and the Middle East, would have every reason to drift apart, due to the passing of time and the distance between them. However, this class proves the strength of the Harlaxton bond by being one of the most connected alumni groups to date.
In the 1970s and early 1980s, Harlaxton was as diverse as ever. Students could choose to study at Harlaxton for a semester or a full year, and throughout these terms, Harlaxton hosted many international students. Tragically, in 1982, several of these international students were killed in a car accident. Victims included former classmates, roommates, and friends of the 1979-1980 Harlaxton class.
In 2010, this class came together to memorialize the victims of the crash by planting six new cherry trees behind the Cottages at Harlaxton.
“Most of the 2010 reunion group, who came from the US, UK, Germany, Portugal, Italy, and Turkey, hadn’t seen each other in nearly 30 years,” said Shannon Glasgow, a member of the group who has helped to reconnect more than 100 alumni from the class. “Some had studied at Harlaxton in the Fall 1979 semester, some in the Spring 1980 semester, some the full year, and others a bit longer,” she explained.
Even some who were not able to make it to the reunion felt a connection to the group and to the students being remembered, due to their time at Harlaxton.
“The Harlaxton experience bound people of different cultures and faiths together, as further evidenced by one former Harlaxtonite from India, who studied after our group and who also knew the victims,” Glasgow said. Though not there in person, the individual Glasgow spoke of donated funds to help purchase the cherry trees.
Attendees of the reunion brought family and friends, and all were able to bond and enjoy each other’s company despite the years that had passed since they were students at Harlaxton. In addition to dedicating the trees, the alumni, as well as their guests, participated in events such as a medieval banquet and, of course, a trip to the Gregory Arms.
For the first time in 30 years, the classmates were together again, and this sparked a tradition. The 2010 reunion was followed by reunions in Evansville (2011), Alacati, Turkey (2012), St. Petersburg, Florida (2013), another trip to Harlaxton (2015), and Munich, Germany (2017). They also held a mini-reunion in Georgia earlier this year.
Social media has also helped the group stay connected. Those unable to attend the reunions can follow them in their class’s closed Facebook group, with around 120 members from all over the globe. Whenever members meet anywhere in the world, they often use the page to post photos and
comments for the rest of the group to enjoy. It is a convenient way to stay in touch, and to plan the next reunion.
“Harlaxton was a magic place where lifelong friendships were forged, greater global insights were gained, and cherished memories were made,” Glasgow said. There is no doubt that the connections forged at Harlaxton have left a lasting impact on the class of ’79-’80, and that they will look forward to many more reunions in the years to come.
Photos, courtesy of Shannon Glasgow
Florida reunion, 2013
Georgia reunion, 2018
Harlaxton reunion, 2010
Harlaxton reunion, 2015
Munich reunion, 2017
Turkey reunion, 2012