A meeting of the ‘nines’

Caruth alumni gather for annual luncheon
September 4th, 2019

This was the first time many friends from the Class of 1969 have reunited as a larger group since graduation.

For reunion classes, it was all about the “nines” this year at the seventh annual Caruth School of Dental Hygiene Luncheon on Friday, Aug. 23. The Class of 1969 celebrated its golden anniversary, joined by alumni spanning more than 60 class years, from 1958 to 2019.

This was the first time many of the 1969 grads—12 made the event—had seen each other since graduation.

“I think everyone realized what we have been missing,” says Shan Fincher ’69, “so we talked about trying a yearly get-together.”

Caruth’s founding director Pat Wessendorff (center) with Class of 1958 members Kathy Chambers (left) and Don Pitts

Smaller groups of friends from each graduating class have kept in touch, including at continuing education events. Over the past decade, Facebook and email have made bonding even easier.

“We graduated in the age of no cell phones or email,” says Cindy Simmons Harmon ’79. “Those additions have enhanced our communication so much.”

Her class, which has a Caruth ’79 Facebook group, started planning in January, and emails between them sharing life updates filled in the gaps of their years apart.

“How much fun were those to read as they came in,” she says.

Current dental hygiene students and recent grads joined the festivities. Luncheon honorees included 2009 to 2019 alumni.

Her class has been fairly active over the years with 10-, 25-, 30- and now 40-year reunions. At the Caruth luncheon, the 1979 group brought in the most alumni with 18 attendees. They always work as a team to coordinate get-togethers, Harmon says. Someone handles communication, another the food arrangements, one makes hotel accommodations and another opens their home for a gathering.

After the luncheon, all 18 alumni from ’79 packed into the Baylor University Medical Center’s Roberts Hospital elevator and headed to Texas A&M College of Dentistry for a mini-tour and a peek at the latest technology. Their day concluded with Hygiene Happy Hour and Hugs at a classmate’s home, where “conversations never stopped,” Harmon says. “We don’t see each other as a group very often, but when we do, there is nonstop talking and hugs.”

They parted ways the next day after brunch, planning to regroup soon.

“Our two years of Caruth education was the best. The good days and the bad days bonded us together forever,” she says.

The Class of 1979 has reunited a few times over the years, including at this year’s luncheon.


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— Kathleen Green Pothier