Alumni readers often say that their first stop in every issue is the classnotes column for their graduating year. If I’m honest, I’d rather hear that first stop is the cover story, campus news, sports, or anything with Tom Weaver’s name on it. (Trying to be honest here.)
But it’s not hard to understand why a grad would flip to the Class of FILL IN THE BLANK. These self-reported updates on the lives of our alumni are the most personal part of the magazine, the place where people connect not so much with the broad institution, but with their own personal friends and memories. And I’m pleased that print classnotes seem to be still holding strong as a relevant medium for such a purpose in our social media age.
But while our readers focus on their own class years and a few around them to catch up with the folks they knew in college, an editor’s experience of classnotes is another thing entirely. This is not mere reading—oh, no—it’s editing, proofing. Very serious business, but not without its rewards. To spend a couple of hours paging from the Class of 1933 to the Class of 2012, as I did not too long ago for the issue that goes to press next week, is to get a sort of hyper-speed time lapse snapshot of life. I think of science films in elementary school—from seed to sprout to shoot to plant in seconds.
It’s a progression from active elders (and, of course, farewells to old friends) to retirement revelry, bragging about grandchildren; work and promotions and reunions; kids and their colleges; kids and their soccer teams; kids and their being born; marriages and weddings chock-full of UVM friends; first jobs; post-graduation journeys to Jackson Hole.
I simplify, but you get the picture. It’s a round of editing that always leaves me a little bleary eyed, but also impressed by this rapid rewind, the collective scope of so many UVM alumni lives that are being well-lived.