Fall 2011 marked the beginning of the 50th year of Interlochen Arts Academy boarding high school. To celebrate this important milestone, Interlochen faculty and staff planned a wide variety of events culminating with an all-year Academy reunion which was held from May 23 to May 27, 2012. The reunion coincided with the commencement of the 50th Academy class. The weekend featured a special “Collage” presentation involving current students and special alumni guests.
Gary Gatzke, director of alumni engagement, said “The one constant during the reunion weekend was the almighty smile, Alumni and guests from the 1960s to the 2010s were rarely seen without one. The weekend served as a time for alumni to reconnect and reengage with Interlochen Arts Academy, and the resounding success of events over the five-day celebration will undoubtedly lead us to new and exciting ways to keep our alumni engaged with Interlochen. With the next 50 years of the Academy ahead of us, we hope to grow and sustain life-long connections with alumni.”
When the Arts Academy opened its doors in 1962, the idea of a high school with an arts focus was considered revolutionary. Since that time, many arts-focused magnet and boarding schools have been established in the United States and abroad. “The fact that so many other organizations have tried to follow Interlochen’s example speaks volumes about the value of the arts within the educational process,” said Jeffrey Kimpton, president of Interlochen Center for the Arts.
Other events marking the 50th included regional alumni events, student performance tours, conferences and online social networks. “This milestone isn’t just about where we have been. We wanted our alumni and friends to join us as we embark on our second 50 years of leadership in the arts,” said Kimpton.