This weekend I attended my UGA MBA reunion in Athens, one of my favorite places to visit. Driving into town, I very quickly saw changes, even though it was just a few years ago I left. Large buildings have come up in places where only residences or small retailers had been. New parking decks are everywhere. The campus was beautiful, though. I really enjoyed just getting to be back there.
My classmates have aged a little, but not much in most cases. Several are married now (like me), and several of those have kids (like me) since we left each other. Everyone seemed to be fairly successful and happy (a couple might prefer to be doing other things, but seemed satisfied with where they are in life). I was really proud my class won the award for most returnees (both sheer numbers and percentage), and all but two of the people who came belonged to my eleven month group that went all through the same program I did (the other two were two-year students I only got to know in the fall). We also had the two people who travelled the farthest to return, one of my German classmates and my Portuguese classmate. It was really great to see them, partly because I needed to remember the voice I had so much fun mimicking (my Portuguese friend). I once immitated him for over an hour. If I could only speak the language, look like I was from there, and... well, okay, so the accent's not really of much use. But it was fun to do. The rest of the group came primarily from Atlanta and Nashville or Knoxville. My Israeli classmate came down from Raleigh. We were a very multicultural group, and we all got along quite well, I think. Hopefully I'll see more of them in the coming years, since now so many of them have come to Atlanta and live close to each other. I had thought they were still spread to the four winds, but I learned otherwise this weekend. In the end, it was a great trip.
I also enjoyed getting to hear about all the changes to the program itself. One of my former profressors in accounting is now the Associate Dean of Academic Programs, so I got to talk to him quite a while about what I think about the business school, and he helped me appreciate some of the reasons certain people left that I hated to see gone. The new Dean of the college is hoping to raise our national (and international) ranking in all areas and overall, and he's hoping to hire a lot of new professors in the next few years to help that goal. I am excited to see what comes. I think my former professor was fairly impressed that I remembered where he went to school for all his degrees, but they were easy to remember because they were all basically rivals of schools I'd grown up following. I wished him well in his new position. I have now known the last three men in his position from my studies, so I feel more connected to the school than I ever have before.