Just over a year into college, I can say that Meliora Weekend is my favorite Rochester tradition. Once a year, alumni, celebrities, and families visit the University of Rochester for an exciting, eventful weekend. Events range from reunion breakfasts to a keynote address with “Morning Joe.” Past speakers include Bill Clinton, Colin Powell, Steven Colbert, and Steven Chu ’70. Just days away, I look forward to my second Meliora Weekend.
In proximity to legends
On Saturday, October 8, Arthur Miller ’56, ’08 (LLD), the legal legend credited with inspiring the pseudonymous Rudolph Perini in Scott Turow’s One L: The Turbulent True Story of a First Year at Harvard Law School, hosted an event called Miller’s Court: The Next President, The Supreme Court, and You. Similar to an episode of his 1979–1988 WCVB-TV television series, Professor Miller led a panel discussion on the implications of the 2016 US presidential election. Panelists included Joel Seligman, President and CEO of the University of Rochester, and Lewis Kaplan ’66, Senior Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
As a political junkie, I could not have been more excited for this event. Miller, the longtime Harvard law professor who has, on occasion, flooded even the Supreme Court with laughter, is one of our most legendary graduates. And to throw in the past Dean of the School of Law at Washington University in St. Louis, Seligman, who himself is a leading authority on American securities law, along with a sitting semi-retired federal judge, I can think of few panels that rival this one. Of course, this event squarely pertained to my passions.
Something for everyone
There’s something for everyone at Meliora Weekend; it encompasses everything from music and medicine to politics. Other notable attendees this Meliora Weekend included Ken Burns, Tony Bennett, and Richard Handler ’83.
But it’s not only the big names that I enjoy. My first Meliora Weekend was made just as pleasurable from conversations with alumni returning to their alma mater as it was from seeing The Daily Show correspondent Aasif Mandvi perform live.
Last year, I recall alumni flooding my freshman residence hall. Though not exactly Arthur Miller in fame, each of them had a story—and not too long ago, each of them was in the position that I currently find myself in. That discovery is both rewarding and frightening. Still, hearing the paths taken by alumni excites me for my life after college. Though I one day look forward to (hopefully) having a successful career in whatever field I choose, I cannot help but feel some fear for what life after college will be like.
Meliora Weekend helps me confront those feelings. The process of hearing about the aftermath from people who were in my shoes not too long ago brings comfort to somebody nearly halfway into his college years. And that process, made possible by interactions with proud alumni who return to their alma mater once a year, is why I love Meliora Weekend. Mel Weekend is a tradition that I hope to continue one day and take even greater pleasure in, long after I have graduated from the University of Rochester.