Dean Boyer Salon Tent Alumni Weekend 2023

“Welcome to Vienna!” The Dean Boyer Salon at Alumni Weekend 2023. (All photography by Jason Smith, Anne Ryan, and John Zich)

Time after time

In May Alumni Weekend–goers enjoyed lasting traditions and a few new twists.

With apologies to Tolstoy, all Alumni Weekends are alike and each Alumni Weekend is different in its own ways.

This year’s celebration was surely the first where cries of “Welcome to Vienna!” rang out on the main quadrangle. In addition to setting the stage for all the expected joyful reunions, formal and informal, this Alumni Weekend was a chance for attendees to celebrate John W. Boyer, AM’69, PhD’75, on the eve of his transition to a new role after more than 30 years leading the College as dean. And so, in the heart of Chicago’s Hyde Park, the Habsburg Empire was just a short stroll away from all points on campus.

Modeled after a Viennese salon, the eponymous Dean Boyer Salon tent paid homage to the imperial era that Boyer, a historian, studies. Wine, tea, and coffee (Julius Meinl, naturally) flowed and strudel flaked, both in abundance. Servers in crisp white shirts and black ties lent elegance. China cups and saucers gently clinked, and visitors skied the Austrian Alps (with help from virtual reality headsets). Just across the way from these novel attractions, the Alumni Beer Garden—new 11 years ago, a timeless tradition today—abided, as festive and popular as ever.

Also time-tested: Saturday evening’s double feature of the 115-year-old Interfraternity Sing Competition at Reynolds Club and the UChicaGO Party in Ida Noyes Hall, this year with pinball and a flower cart in addition to dancing and dining.

Time to feast: The brand-new Food Truck Festival on University Avenue Saturday afternoon served up lobster rolls, empanadas, pizzas, Dutch mini pancakes, and more.

Strictly timed: The Three Minute Thesis competition, now in its second year, gave alumni a glimpse of graduate students’ research achievements (see “Three-Minute Eggheads”to find out which ideas prevailed).

Time-honored: The Alumni Awards recognized the achievements of yesterday’s students, with honors bestowed on composer Philip Glass, AB’56, and 14 other alumni and faculty in a ceremony for recipients and their families, friends, and nominators.

Time flies: Many current students took part for the first time, trying on their alumni hats a year or more before the designation becomes official.

Time and again: Many attendees, yours truly among them, had been there before, were there this year, and will inexorably be drawn back—see you May 16–19, 2024.

Illustrated map of Alumni Weekend 2023
Overheard at Alumni Weekend. View a PDF of the map. (Illustration by Matthew Insalata)


Alumni Weekend 2023
“Welcome to Vienna!” Swarmed by alumni, the Dean Boyer Salon (top two photos) offered food, drink, and photo ops. Saturday’s Food Truck Festival (bottom two photos) fed the hungry almost everything but Weiner schnitzel.
Alumni Weekend 2023
Clockwise from top left: The Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts celebrated 10 years with a birthday bash; Professional Achievement Award recipient Ken Ono, AB’89, with Alumni Medal recipient Philip Glass, AB’56; Interfraternity Sing; getting down at a reunion after-party. 
Alumni Weekend 2023
Clockwise from top left: UChicaGO Party people; sunny vibes at the Alumni Beer Garden; International House’s annual wine tasting; Alumni Scavenger Hunt.