What does it take to bring 40+ guys back together, from all corners of the globe, reunion after reunion? Is there a secret formula? Are there special tactics? If you ask any member of the class of 1984, they would give you one answer: Chris Gaylord! The figurative glue of ՚84, Chris has been rallying classmates back to campus for 30 years and he’s just getting started.
“I’ll never forget (and my friends don’t let me!) that I missed my 5th reunion at T-P for a girl I was chasing. After that, I vowed that I’d never miss another one and I would try to get as many guys back as possible each time,” Gaylord says.
Indeed, for their tenth reunion, longtime friends and roommates Rynard Gundrum, Tim Rooney, and Gaylord went big and rented a yacht in Greenwich. Classmate Micah Chase sent out swanky invitations and Gaylord worked the phone. Their class spent Friday on the boat and then headed to Pawling on Saturday and had a blast! “That was my first big success and then it just became a thing. We love coming back to campus to see how it has changed, but also to reminisce and catch up. Our class picks up right where we left off, each and every time,” Gaylord comments.
Gaylord didn’t originally intend to enroll at Trinity-Pawling. He was looking at Tabor Academy, but the headmaster at Pine Cobble School (where Gaylord attended 8th and 9th grades) and his parents had a different plan. “They tricked me into coming to T-P for an overnight. It was the best-worst decision ever. I met then-freshmen Micah Chase, Curtis Flynn, Drew Hall, and Kirk Vartan and they made me feel welcome right away. We laughed and laughed and I knew I was going to love it there,” Gaylord reminisces.
It was this immediate bond that Gaylord credits as the spark for his nearly 40-year affinity for Trinity-Pawling and his brothers. “I didn’t grow up with a brother, so instantly having 300 of them at T-P was amazing. There is nothing like the bond that we have. We’ve gone through life changes, jobs, kids, and ups and downs, and we’re always here for each other. If you stay connected to your class, the lessons never stop,” he remarks thoughtfully.
Asked about how he does it, Gaylord is honest: “It’s work — you bang out phone calls and leave messages, call back, and call again. I bug people but it’s for a good cause and they know it. You have to be passionate about getting everyone back or it won’t happen.”
Chris Gaylord’s passion is a gift to his class and to the School, and he won’t be content until that attendee number is at least 50, “hopefully for our 50th … or before!” Gaylord says with a twinkle in his eye. The challenge is on, Class of ՚84!
by Kate Vengrove