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Recap: 2024 California Regional Receptions

Greyhounds reunited across California for three alumni events in early 2024. The cheerful enthusiasm at each reception reinforced that devotion to Gilman runs high from coast to coast!

The Southern California contingent met up at Fia in Santa Monica on Wednesday, Jan. 17. A warm and inviting atmosphere welcomed 30 alumni and friends, including Ryan Isaac '94, who trekked up from San Diego! Host Van Durrer '87 kicked off the evening by telling a few tales from his Gilman days, including a humorous Dean's Office anecdote. He challenged alumni to recall the caring mentors who anchored their experience on Roland Avenue. Head of School Henry P. A. Smyth and his wife, Elizabeth, then provided updates on school life, returning several times to a favorite characteristic of the Gilman student experience — the penchant for the boys to celebrate their fellow Greyhounds' interests and aspirations with great love and loyalty. The evening was filled with laughter, camaraderie, and a strong sense of community as the blue and gray faithful toasted their beloved alma mater. When the party was winding down, Van brought the group together, hands in, for a loud and proud "GO RAVENS!" cheer to put the Baltimore stamp on the evening.

The Smyths and other members of the Gilman team then hopped a plane north the next day for two more alumni events. The private dining room at Café Pro Bono in Palo Alto was the perfect venue for an intimate luncheon, allowing a smaller group of Greyhounds to gather and easily share updates. Attendees reminisced about their time on Roland Avenue and discussed their adventures since graduation, which spanned up to five decades! In a free-flowing Q&A session with Mr. Smyth, alumni inquired about points of pride (curricular, co-curricular, and cultural), areas for programmatic growth, and highlights of the School's professional development program. The group indulged in a robust discussion on the strength of the arts program. Beau James '73, who had recently visited campus for his 50th reunion, shared his amazement with the evolution of the art offerings and the remarkable demonstrations of the students' rich and undeniable talent.

Later that evening, alumni congregated at Sens in the financial district of San Francisco. The restaurant was bustling with a big crowd and plenty of energy. Gilman's dedicated party space quickly filled with 25 alumni and significant others. Host Collin Wallace '02 kicked off the evening by thanking Gilman for inspiring him to pursue his passions to levels he otherwise may never have imagined reaching. Popular subjects in the ensuing Q&A session reflected the tech-centric nature of Northern California. Mr. Smyth also fielded questions about AI in learning and the management of devices in age-appropriate ways across divisions. Alumni offered their future counsel to Gilman students and young alumni curious to learn about living in the Bay Area and working in local industries. New and old friends promised to reconnect for more fun and devised plans to return to Baltimore and Gilman for reunions. Noah Klein '19 took the prize for youngest attendee and the most recent transplant, having only arrived in San Francisco five months prior to the event! Collin, the ever-gracious and generous host, was last to leave. Few, if any, Greyhounds were in a hurry to depart this nostalgic and joyful gathering!

The receptions across California were a successful blend of fellowship, camaraderie, and celebration, showcasing the pride and enduring bonds forged during the mens' formative years at Gilman. Attendees were hungry for the good vibes and grateful for the warm feelings on top of the delicious food and drink. Thank you to all of our West Coast alumni who came out to celebrate!

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