A crowd of people on Friday dressed in apparel like gorilla masks, top hats and togas made its way from the East Quad courtyard across the Diag to the Modern Languages Building.
The procession – led by a pair of bagpipers – was part of the Residential College’s 40th anniversary celebration, which took place over the weekend.
Crowd members carried signs reading “Forty More Years,” “Fear of Failing Proficiency (It’s always with us)” and “Home of the Freaks ‘n’ Geeks since 1967.” Others rode bikes or held megaphones. Many in the parade played kazoos and shook rattles that had been created and distributed for the parade.
Live rock music greeted the crowd as it flooded into the MLB for the RC Convocation Circus. In his opening address, RC Director Charlie Bright spoke of the continuity between generations of RC students.
“Although much has changed, certain things remain constant,” Bright said. “So I want you to look around, look around at everyone in this room, all of you. You have much in common and much to share among a common ground.”
Bright asked the first RC class to stand up. About 10 did. Then Bright addressed the current RC freshman class.
“I want you to talk to each other,” Bright said. “I want the youngest people in this room to get to know the oldest people in this room.”
After Bright’s opening address, three RC graduates took the stage to talk about their experience. One of them was Pamela Rack Guest, who graduated from the RC in 1972.
“Here I learned to speak my mind, champion the unusual and listen to my own artistic instincts, all while getting the best liberal arts education around,” Guest said. “I think that’s still happening today.”
Guest now lives in Los Angeles and works as an independent casting director. She was responsible for casting Julia Roberts in Roberts’s first film, called “Blood Red.”
Friday evening’s activities included an encore performance of the RC Players Evening of Scenes, a weekend-long film festival and a show put on by the East Quad Music Co-op.
Craig Regester, a 1993 RC graduate and the RC outreach coordinator, was responsible for organizing many of the weekend’s activities.
“We tried to make opportunities for alumni and students to interact in meaningful ways,” Regester said. “Every single graduating class was represented by at least one alum.”
Alumni were invited to return to language lunch tables and RC classes on Thursday and Friday afternoon.
Lorna Catford, now a psychology lecturer at Sonoma State University in California, graduated from the RC in 1972. The biggest change she noticed was the locks on the doors in East Quad. She said that when she was an RC student, it was rare to see a locked door.
Saturday evening featured a banquet in the Michigan Union Ballroom, more film showings in continuation of the weekend-long film festival and another East Quad Music Co-op show.
After festivities ended yesterday, Regester said he was excited.
He pointed to the more than 400 alumni who returned for the celebration. He said almost every ticket for the banquet in the Michigan Union was sold.
“It was a definite success on all fronts,” Regester said.