Forty five years? Check.

After over a decade apart, the LGP alums finally reunited this June 26th in the Italian Water Garden at Longwood.  Alumni from near and far came together to celebrate 45 years of the Graduate Program, reconnect with classmates, and meet new friends in the field of public horticulture.

Kate Baltzel and Raakel Toppila trying on a fresh new style in the photo booth

Even after the busy American Public Gardens Association conference in Philadelphia leading up to the event, nearly 150 people turned out on Saturday evening.  Guests celebrated in style, enjoying delicious food and cocktails, perfect weather, and live jazz in the garden.  Pierre duPont would certainly have been proud.

Fabulous turn out!

The Longwood Graduate Program Alumni Association also made its formal debut during the evening, and all were invited to contribute thoughts on its future direction.  To those who made it to Longwood, thank you for contributing to the great atmosphere and outstanding evening.  We’ll see you all at the next reunion!  Pictures from the event can be found here:

In a rare instance all three directors, past and present, welcomed students. Dr. James Swasey, Dr. Richard Lighty, and Dr. Robert Lyons pictured.

Shari Edelson peruses LGP memorabilia

Felicia Yu, Won Soon Park, and Mark Highland enjoying the festivities


Note from the Director: Reunion!

I’m into my 7th year directing the Program and really look forward to seeing all the Former Fellows who worked with me starting in 2005. However, my connection to the Program goes back much further when I was on the Horticulture faculty at Virginia Tech from 1981 – 1999.  During that period, I sent 5 of my students into the LGP and I’m very much hoping to see them all at the Reunion!

Lead Fellow for the Reunion has been second year Fellow Dongah Shin, who has done a marvelous job in insuring that everyone will have a great time.

I know that reunions are meant for reminiscing and catching up with old friends, so we are planning lots of time to do exactly that, all within the unsurpassed atmosphere of Longwood. If you are a former Fellow, please join us: this will be an event to be remembered for a long time to come!

Bob Lyons

LGP Reunion – a little sneak preview

The LGP Reunion Programming Committee has been hard at work planning displays, music, and a fun evening for all our alumni. Here’s a few glimpses of what we’ve been working on:

An exhibit of photos of each class since the beginning of the program.

Displays of materials from seminars, symposia, projects, and trips. Yeah, remember those posters and booklets and brochures?

Maps to show the national and global reach of LGP alumni. Where have you been? Where are you now?

In addition, we’ll have a “photo-booth” set up for alumni to take fun pictures with the beautiful backdrops of the lake and the Italian Water Garden. Live music provided by a professional trio will complete the atmosphere. But the main event of the evening, of course, will be the meeting of friends and colleagues, old and new, and the reliving of LGP memories. We hope to see as many of our alumni there as possible!

Alumni can register here on the LGP website. You know you can’t wait to get back to Longwood Gardens for a fun evening with friends!

This LGP Reunion update brought to you by: the Programming Committee, led by Kate Baltzell (Class of 2011) and including Laura Vogel (Class of 2011), Ashby Leavell (Class of 2012), and Felicia Yu (Class of 2012).

Notes from the past – a message from Jim Swasey

Sue and I are really looking forward to the 45th Longwood Graduate Program Reunion and reuniting with a large percentage of the 100+ Former Fellows (1978-1979)(1984-2005) that we loved. Yes, we loved each and everyone of them! We encourage as many as possible to attend so that we can have bragging rights to a larger percentage of Former Fellows reuniting that either Dick Lighty or Bob Lyons receives!! Does that sound like a little competition?

(Swasey with some of his former students at the APGA Annual Conference in Philadelphia, 1998)

It will be exciting to hear all about your professional and personal lives since leaving The Program. Although we do stay in contact with many of you, there are a some that have slipped through the cracks and are not a visible. June 25th is also the 45th anniversary of our marriage that was held in Durham, NH, the home of UNH where we met. So, we will be doubly celebrating! Looking forward to seeing all of you and getting some photos.

Jim & Sue Swasey

Are you ready? We are!

Since the save-the-date email was sent out, lots of things for the LGP Reunion has been planned. LGP Reunion 2011: Celebrating 45 Years will be at the Italian Water Garden of Longwood Gardens, which rarely opens to special events. We all are excited!

(The Save-the-Date email)

As the event leader, I appreciate what the Marketing, Guest Relations, and Program Committees have been planning. The Reunion webpage is live, the invitation will go out soon, the menu looks scrumptious, and the day-of activities sound delightful.

There’s one more committee that I would like to thank and that is the Honorary Alumni Committee (HAC):

Eric Tschanz, ‘77, President and Executive Director, Powell Gardens

Nancy Bechtol, ‘84, Director, Office of Facilities Management at Smithsonian Institution

Patrick Larkin, ‘95, Executive Director, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden

Mark Richardson, ‘04, Adult Programs Manager, Brookside Gardens

Eric Tschanz

Nancy Bechtol

Patrick Larkin

Mark Richardson

These four enthusiastic former Fellows have given us great feedback throughout the planning process. It has been especially helpful to discuss the formation of the LGP Alumni Association with people who are quite supportive of the idea. (Maybe some of them could even be the first officers – no pressure!). You will hear more about the Alumni Association soon, so stay tuned.

Lastly, I would like to recognize the UD Alumni Association for their generous financial support offered through the Satellite Assistance Program.

Planning of 2011 LGP Reunion

The Longwood Graduate Program Alumni have officially reunited twice before, when American Public Garden Association (APGA) Conferences were held in Philadelphia. The APGA 2011 Conference will be held in Philadelphia, so the current Fellows are excited to announce that we are planning a 2011 LGP Reunion on Saturday, June 25th at Longwood.

The fellows sent out a survey to our Alumni asking about their interest in attending and to gather ideas for what the event will involve. About 50% of Alumni took the survey and we would like to share some of the results here:

Based on the survey results, we decided to divide into three planning committees: Marketing Committee (Chair: Rebecca Pineo), Guest Relations Committee (Chair: Zoe Panchen), and Program Committee (Chair: Kate Baltzell). Another second year Fellow, Laura Aschenbeck, will serve as Alumni Association Launching Leader to coordinate the establishment of an LGP Alumni Association.

Our first full meeting will be in August, when the first year Fellows choose their committee. We are excited to bring them on board and plan a fun gathering for former Fellows!