University of Minnesota Alumni Association


Editor's Note

Storied Lives

Photo Credit: Scott Streble

I HAD THE OPPORTUNITY recently to take part in an exuberant annual tradition known as the Send Off, where the Alumni Association throws a party to officially welcome graduating seniors to the University’s more than 517,000 living alumni.

In early May, over 1,700 students crowded into the McNamara Alumni Center to socialize, eat cupcakes, sip beverages, and snap multiple photos with friends and family in front of the giant glittering “M” that presides over such celebrations.

As a final grace note, each of the attendees received a small U of M memento to mark the time they’ve spent here on the Twin Cities campus. 

The event is always joyous and filled with grinning students sharing high fives and hugs. The room bubbles with energy from a diverse group who will soon take their diplomas and education and make their way in the world. The gathered students represent every college at the U of M—and every field of study. It’s a room filled with potential, almost exploding with the eagerness to put theory into practice.

It’s a charming, energizing, and happy occasion each year—although it’s also an evening that stirs a slightly more complex set of emotions, at least for me. It’s impossible to be anything but delighted for this new set of graduates, but there is also just a hint of poignance in watching so much promise in one space. Their futures are the proverbial blank slate, fresh notebook, or blinking cursor at the top of a white page. What paths their lives will follow are still largely undiscovered, and their story remains to be written. It all remains theirs to create.

One thing that will remain constant, however, is that each of these individuals will forever claim membership in the U of M alumni community. It’s a bond and a distinction that lasts for a lifetime.

And speaking of a lifetime bond, in this issue you’ll find fascinating stories about U of M alumni whose graduation dates range from the 1960s to the 2020s. There’s also a historical overview of the formative years Hubert H. Humphrey spent at the U of M before his graduation in the 1930s.

Each person profiled in these pages was once a bright-eyed student. As they’ve traveled their respective roads, they’ve used their skills and interests and affinities to find ways to communicate larger ideas with the world around them, to become “storytellers” in fields ranging from publishing to acting to art and more.

They’re all alumni.

And they’re all part of the family.

Kelly O’Hara Dyer can be reached at

If you liked this story, Minnesota Alumni magazine publishes four times a year highlighting U of M alumni and University activities. Early access to stories and a print subscription are benefits of being an Alumni Association member. Join here to receive a printed copy at home.

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