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The Yard was still the Yard for nearly 250 alumni who attended classes and ate dining hall food with undergraduates yesterday.
Called "Return to Harvard Day," the one-day event allowed alumni to attend undergraduate classes and activities during the school year, something not possible during reunions.
"It was a lot of fun going into the lecture hall and learning new material," said Gilbert Brodsky '73.
It was not all class and work, though, for the alumni. Many trekked along familiar paths in the Yard, remarking on new sights such as the Matthews Hall renovations and a rally in front of Memorial Church.
"It's a tremendous annoyance in the Yard," said Morton Gonedelman '43, referring to the rally.
A more recent alumnus found the rally reminiscent of his post-Harvard days.
"It reminded me of the 60's. It was a very pleasant surprise, said William M. Johnston '58.
Alumni said the presence of women in the Yard has led to a change in the Yard's character.
"A couple making love in the Yard...was not possible in my day," Gondelman said.
But despite the visible signs of change, most alumni said the Yard remains the same as it was a half century ago.
"It's exactly the same," said Norman Vuilleumer '35.
The "Return to Harvard" program included morning classes, lunch at the houses, and a panel discussion on undergraduate life.
Alumni said classes had also changed since they last sat in a Harvard lecture hall.
"Professors start late and students walk in later," said Donald G. Connolly '48.
His classmate, Robert Olcott '48, said students seem to have a closer relationship with faculty now than they did 50ears ago.
"Students interacted well with the professor and are more involved, said Olcott.
Some alumni, though, said classes are conducted in essentially the same way--with podium and blackboard--as when they were undergraduates.
"The content is different, but it's the same style," said Donald Harriss '48.
Change, in fact, has been far-reaching. Connolly said when he got to the sandwich bar, he waited to be served as he had been during his undergraduate years. In spite of self-service, Connolly said he was impressed with the Lowell House dinning hall and liked the wider variety of food.
Students, though, were the biggest change the perceived on campus, alumni said. Undergraduate, Gondelman said, seemed to be more involved in extracurricular activities than students in his days.
"There is a much greater diversity in the student body, said Gondelman. "A fellow alum said today's students appear to be much brighter than his class.
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