Over 700 alumni came to Wageningen on Friday 14 June for the reunion themed ‘Welcome back to Wageningen’. This reunion was part of the programme to celebrate the university’s 95th anniversary. Professors sketched a picture of developments within the domain of ‘healthy food and living environment’. Alumni also got the chance to view our latest education building Orion and the new Wageningen Campus. The oldest alumnus present was Mattijs Noordhoek (94), who is one year younger than the university. The youngest was 24-year old Xiaoxi Wang from China (starting year 2011).
Anne van den Ban Fund
The official programme began with a word of welcome from Aalt Dijkhuizen in the Orion building - a new education building which was officially opened in September 2013. Former students were brought up to date on the university of today. Aalt Dijkhuizen presented a cheque for 2450 euros to Anne van den Ban, contributed by alumni to the evening programme. The Anne van den Ban Scholarship Fund enables promising students from developing countries to follow study programmes at Wageningen University. The fund, which was set up in 1992, has already been able to help 226 international students to come study in Wageningen. The Executive Board also surprised Anne van den Ban with a Silver Medal of Honour for his special contribution to the mission of Wageningen University.
Tour of the Campus
A number of the alumni then took a walk around the Campus with one of the university’s current students. Getting to know the new Campus produced mixed feelings: from ‘It looks great, but I can’t tell I’m in Wageningen any more’ to ‘The university has moved with the times’.
Food security college
Former students also attended lectures by a number of leading Wageningen professors on the theme of food security. Professor of Tropical Entomology Arnold van Huis told the alumni all about the importance of ‘mini livestock’ – insects which are bred for animal or human consumption. The subject is on the international agenda. The book Edible insects: future prospects for food and feed security which Van Huis put together earlier this year for the FAO was downloaded no fewer than 2.4 million times in the first 24 hours following publication.
Coming home in Wageningen
To conclude the evening, there was an informal dinner at the Hof van Wageningen Hotel with entertainment provided by local university and student groups. There was plenty of time to swap memories, strengthen old friendships and meet new people. Ultimately, many returning alumni said, that feeling of homecoming transcends the day of the reunion itself but can be experienced at any time: ‘When you meet someone else from Wageningen, wherever you are, you feel at home.’