By Kathy Andrews
The first thing Wade Close ’55 and Don Mountford ’55, P’81 will tell you about the success of Class of 1955 events and activities is that the teamwork of many classmates is a key ingredient.
The two speak with enthusiasm of classmates who serve as Reunion Committee volunteers, arrange tours and exhibits, make annual gifts, and host mini-reunions. While Close and Mountford admit to being instigators or point persons, they credit classmates whose efforts make all the difference in reuniting members of the class and marshaling support for Trinity.
“You make it a team effort, and the more you do and the harder you work, the more personal satisfaction there is,” says Close. Mountford adds one caveat: “When asking for money, it’s important not to pressure.”
Now retired, Close received national honors from the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants in 2010 for his work as an executive search consultant and his community volunteerism. A resident of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, who earned a B.A. in history, Close has served as class secretary for 65 years, which is likely a Trinity record.
For Mountford, an English major and the first in his family to attend college, staying in touch with fellow alumni became a habit during his career in the garment industry. As a buyer for J.C. Penney Company, he traveled the world, which provided memorable opportunities to meet up with classmates in Tokyo, Taipei, Hong Kong, and the Philippines.
Mountford—whose daughter Alison Mountford ’81 is a Trinity alumna—reconnected with more classmates when he led the charge in gathering everyone’s stories for their commemorative 50th Reunion book. During their 50th Reunion Weekend in 2005, he was named class president by his classmates.
A favorite Class of 1955 event is the mini-reunion, for which the classmates have gathered more than a dozen times during non-Reunion years. Sometimes these are on campus in the fall on a non-Homecoming Weekend with as many as 20 classmates plus spouses participating. Attendees catch up over meals, cheer on Bantam athletes, explore Hartford-area attractions, and enjoy talks by members of the faculty and coaching staff.
Florida has been the winter setting for mini-reunions, most recently in February 2020, when President Joanne Berger-Sweeney was keynote speaker. Mountford, who resides with his wife, Lura, in Melbourne Beach, takes the lead in planning the Florida gatherings, along with classmates and spouses who have served as hosts in Tampa, Winter Park, Vero Beach, and Jacksonville.
Among the most memorable Class of 1955 events was an art show that filled Mather Hall’s Washington Room and the Mather Art Space during Reunion 2010. Close and Mountford still marvel at the crowd that attended, with Reunion celebrants from all years strolling through to see the works created by Class of 1955 artists, including sculptors and photographers.
“Through the various activities we’ve generated, we have gotten to know and appreciate our classmates at a much higher level,” says Close. “We really have developed dear friends who have truly enriched our lives.”