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Dr. Christine Bailey Wahl's Reunion Speech

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Dr. Christine Bailey Wahl '64Dr. Christine Bailey Wahl '64, Professor Emeritus and Chair at California Polytechnic State University in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, celebrated her 50th class reunion with the class of 1964.

Below she presents a beautiful reflection at the alumni luncheon reminding her fellow graduates of their unique place in history.


I am honored to say a few words on behalf of our class – as Stephen Colbert would put it – "The Fightin' 64" – or after Friday night, "The Dancin' 64".

They should have known better than to ask a college profesor to do this. All of the class notes for my courses are geared for 50-80 minute segments. So settle in.

Relax – my limit, or maybe your attention span, is for five. You are spared.

So what was and is St. E's to us? We were together during a special time in history – a pivotal time of activism and change – political, social, spiritual, and personal.

  • The election of the first Catholic president – and, later, tragically – his assassination.
  • The empowerment of the Civil Rights Movement. Several of us attended a meeting held by Dr. Martin Luther King at Drew University, right down the road. It was a turning point for many.
  • The leadership of now St. Pope John XXIII and the religious renewal of the Second Vatican Council.
  • The Bay of Pigs and Vietnam War and their toll on the American psyche.
  • Flower-power, women's rights, birth control, theater of the absurd, the Beatles, the Peace Corps, Peter, Paul and Mary, hoot-nannies, hazing, Greek plays, poetry readings, Friday night dances, Aqua shows ...

At graduation we set out to make a difference. We have contributed what we could and are still active. As graduates of St. E's and women of the world, we still have the opportunity to make a difference.

  • Encourage moderation and compromise in our politics, our communities, our children, and our grandchildren.
  • Demand mutual respect for young, old, able, disabled, gay, straight, black, white, beige, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, atheist.
  • Honor the hopes and dreams of our immigrant past, our grandparents, great-grandparents and others by accepting and helping the immigrants of today and tomorrow.

Scholarships, government loans and work study were my funding sources while here at St. E's. These financial resources are critical to the development of an educated society.

As the only child of a highly dysfunctional and short-lived family, St. E's was my family. The faculty were my surrogate aunts and uncles, my role models; you all were my sisters. We learned how to open our hearts and our arms to each other and the world around us.

Thank you St. E's. Thank you, my sisters.

Let's have a marvelous reunion!

Related Links:
President Streubert's State of the College Address
Mary Jane Meschino's Speech
See Photos from Reunion Weekend 2014