By Catherine Shen
When Michael Michigami ’69 P’95 and Nathaniel Prentice ’69, P’10 volunteered to take the lead on organizing their 50th Reunion at Trinity, they knew it would be both challenging and rewarding. What they didn’t expect as co-chairs of the 1969 50th Reunion Committee was becoming great friends during the two-year process.
“We didn’t know each other well, but now we chat on the phone at least once a week. It’s been great working with Nat,” says Michigami, who also ran the 20th and 25th Reunions and co-chaired the 45th Reunion for the Class of 1969. “A lot of things have changed since I was a student here, but the camaraderie’s still the same.”
Reconnecting with other former classmates was not an easy task. After calling more than 100 people and relying on word of mouth, Michigami says, they were ultimately able to contact more than half of the approximately 290 living members of the class.
“Everyone’s scattered geographically, so it’s hard to keep in contact,” he says. “For this Reunion, I wanted to focus on reconnecting everyone and creating new enthusiasm.” His efforts didn’t disappoint and generated fresh interest, resulting in a new record for 50th Reunion attendance, with 93 classmates registered and on campus. More than 150 classmates submitted pages for their 50th Reunion Yearbook, also a record in the history of 50th Reunions at Trinity.
Michigami, a native of Portland, Oregon, recalls he wanted to attend a smaller college and discovered Trinity as the perfect fit for him. As a George F. Baker Scholar, he studied psychology, joined Delta Phi fraternity, and took part in Air Force ROTC. He went on to earn an M.B.A. in finance from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. As a senior management executive, Michigami worked across the United States and in Europe with global companies including United Technologies, GE Capital, and Digital Microwave. He also served as a member of Trinity’s Board of Trustees from 1992 to 2002.
While Michigami focused on communications, Prentice led fundraising efforts, working with several classmates to secure donations for the Trinity College Fund, the Class of 1969’s 50th Reunion Class Gift, and the inaugural Class of 1969 Endowed Scholarship Fund, which will be awarded to one scholar in the next incoming class. The result? The Class of 1969 raised more than $2.5 million for the college since the last Reunion five years ago.
The scholarship is an effort that Prentice says he hopes will continue. “It’s important for us to leave a legacy beyond our general annual fund,” he says. “We wanted to do something special for our 50th anniversary, and providing a scholarship felt like the right thing to do.”
Prentice says he enjoyed the process of organizing the Reunion. “It was a wonderful time working with everyone,” he says. “The most rewarding of all was the friendship with Michael.”
Prentice graduated from Trinity with a B.A. in political science. While a student, he was a member of Alpha Delta Phi fraternity and played ice hockey and lacrosse. Today, with more than 50 years of business experience at companies including J.P. Morgan, Deutsche Bank, and UBS Financial Services, he operates his own company, Prentice Investment Management. He has stayed close to the college through the years; he serves as a mentor for the student-run Trinity Investment Club, where he advises on investments and business networking, and his youngest son, Rhett, followed in his footsteps, graduating from Trinity in 2010.
Now living in Garrison, New York, Prentice says the proximity of his home to Trinity adds to the special bond he feels for the college. Michigami, who lives in Farmington, says he shares the same feeling volunteering with Career Development, where he advises students on job searches and interview preparations.
Theresa Kidd, Trinity’s director of milestone reunion giving, says Michigami and Prentice were exemplary volunteers during the 50th Reunion planning. “They worked tirelessly to encourage their classmates to return to campus for the celebration and to support the college in this milestone reunion year.”