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Stephens classmates reunite for 60th class reunion

April 28, 2017


The last time Sandra McFadden Rowden ’57 visited her alma mater was 1972.

An awful lot has changed at Stephens College since then. But one thing has remained the same: the comradery she feels with her classmates.

Rowden is among five members of the Class of 1957 who came home to Stephens this weekend to celebrate the legacy, leadership, friendships and traditions that make the college a place like no other.

About 90 alumnae have returned to attend the annual Celebrate Stephens alumnae reunion, which is April 27-29, 2017. This year’s event gives special recognition to classes ending in 2 and 7.

Rowden, who lives in Texas, and her classmates were thrilled to reconnect.

“It’s been a wonderful experience,” she said. “But I keep getting lost” on campus.

While they are in town, alumnae are invited to drop in on a class, tour the campus, visit the residence halls or browse the college’s archives, among other activities. Other events during the weekend include a welcome party for the senior class and annual Crossing the Bridge ceremony; brunch and President Dianne Lynch’s State of the College Address; the Alumnae Cabaret and Bistro, where the Alumnae Achievement and Service Award recipients are recognized; and Vespers.

Classmates Sue Wilkowske Kaestner ’57 and Barbara Kerr Staub ’57 made the long drive north together from their homes in Texas. In the mid-1950s, Stephens was a two-year college. Kaestner had come to the college for the horseback riding while Staub enrolled to take advantage of the fashion program. 

Both women married fraternity brothers from the University of Missouri shortly after their graduation from the Stephens. Both met their future husbands on blind dates, and 60 years later, the couples are still married. 

Kaestner is impressed with how much the campus has grown.  

“I am very happy with the improvements that have been made to the health sciences program,” she said.

As the women gathered in the Kimball Ballroom to have their class picture taken, Gretchen Bush Kimball ’57 took in the beauty of the cavernous room, admiring the hardwood floors, tall windows and original chandeliers. Kimball and her late husband, William R. Kimball, helped finance the restoration of the ballroom, which was built in 1938. When the ballroom reopened in 2006, it was renamed in honor of the Kimballs’ generosity. 

“It’s always nice to come back,” she said. 

View our Celebrate Stephens photo album.

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