Kalpesh Kapadia, MSIA ’99, sat quietly in the empty Tepper School of Business classroom. The CEO of TrustFactors, Inc. took a long look around, just “reliving the experience.” Kapadia had returned to campus from his home in Palo Alto to attend Reunion Weekend 2014, held on April 11-12.
“While I keep in touch with my fellow classmates over social media,” said Kapadia, “it feels so much better to connect face-to-face and reminisce about the good old days when we were students with newly-minted diplomas, ready to take over the world.”
Kapadia and his fellow alumni succeeded in setting another Reunion Weekend attendance record; 440 guests, including 316 alumni, enjoyed the whirlwind days of fun and learning. Attendees representing more than 220 companies traveled from 13 countries and 24 U.S. states. There was a particularly strong presence from Amazon, PwC, PNC, and Deloitte. Four classes marked record attendance for their milestone reunions: 2009 (5-year reunion); 1999 (15-year reunion); 1989 (25-year reunion); and 1974 (40-year reunion).
Alumni reconnected with old friends and mentors and forged new ties during the brand-new Back@Tepper networking event for current students and recent graduates; Alumni B**rs; class parties; student-alumni breakfasts; Tepper Tea; and the capstone event, a Tepper School All-Class Reunion Celebration at Heinz Field.
Attendees also had the opportunity to catch up on cutting-edge insights during presentations by faculty leaders, including Dean Robert Dammon and Allan Meltzer, the Allan H. Meltzer University Professor of Political Economy. Brandy Aven, assistant professor of organizational behavior and theory, and Bryan Routledge, associate professor of finance, also presented.
Many returning alumni marked the special occasion with donations in support of the Tepper School. These included the Arjun V. Gokhale Spirit Award for current students, Fellowship Funds earmarked to assist future MBA students from the classes of 1989 and 1999, and gifts to the annual fund.
A number of alumni helped to support specific weekend festivities, including Jim Griffin, MSIA ’99, for his class reception; Tom White and Kate White, both MSIA ’84, for their Class of 1984 reception; and John Rooney, MSIA ’99, for the All-Class Reunion Celebration. Back@Tepper was conceived and sponsored by the Class of 2013. The Tepper Tea was supported by Scott Nakashian, MSIA ’99, of Traditional Medicinals. Nick Benz, MBA ’03, of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery Inc., renewed his support of Alumni B**rs. And the weekend could not have been the success it was without the 85 volunteers who spent countless hours in planning.
Kapadia, a Class of 1999 volunteer who is active in his local Carnegie Mellon and Tepper School alumni chapters, arrived excited to “relive the memories, reflect on the years passed, catch up with old friends, and support my alma mater.”
That dedication to support has included endowing a scholarship to honor his 10-year reunion, emailing his classmates urging them to honor this 15-year reunion with class Fellowship Fund contributions, and hiring a number of Carnegie Mellon graduates.
“The Tepper School provided me with my career break and I also was helped by the alumni before me,” Kapadia pointed out. “For the benefit of the Carnegie Mellon community, as well as my own self-satisfaction, I try to give back in any way I can.”
Ken Pitzer, MSIA ’89, currently vice president of Strategic and Commercial Planning at Theravance, also traveled in from the Bay Area, looking forward to seeing friends he had kept in touch with but had not seen in years.
“It’s just fascinating to see the interesting paths people’s lives and careers have taken over 25 years,” said Pitzer, who had returned for his five and 10-year reunions, as well.
“It’s also fun, of course, to pretend you are not 50-plus years old for a weekend, and just kick back and have fun with old friends,” he added.
Pitzer, committed to supporting the Tepper School, served as a class committee volunteer, working on the giving subcommittee to encourage participation in his class Fellowship Fund.
“I recognize how much my GSIA experience has impacted the trajectory of my career and want to ‘pay forward’ a bit to help make sure folks with financial need are able to benefit from the same opportunities that I've enjoyed as a result of GSIA,” he explained.
Bruce Gebhardt, MSIA ’84, is now partner and co-founder of Pathfinder Capital Investors in New York. He enjoys participating in his local alumni chapter and returned for his 30th reunion, happy to “share life perspectives and learn new things from the faculty.”
In particular, he found Allan Meltzer’s economic talk exceptional; professor of technology Jay Apt’s energy sector overview insightful; and assistant professor of organizational behavior and theory Brandy Aven’s analysis fascinating.
Gebhardt also celebrated the event through his support.
“Andrew Carnegie set a high standard of giving — how can you not follow that lead?” he stressed. “The Tepper School has evolved dramatically since the 1980s, and Dean Dammon is all in to move it to the next level. His innovative vision is one that alumni can easily support.”
If you would like to join Kapadia, Pitzer, Gebhardt, and the many dedicated alumni in offering your support of the Tepper School, visit tepper.cmu.edu/alumni/give-to-the-school.
Don’t forget to mark your calendars for Reunion Weekend 2015, scheduled for April 17-18. Come help us in planning the best reunion yet — sign up to volunteer today!
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