Last June, I attended my 40th Reunion at Stonehill. Back in 1997, I wrote an article for the Stonehill Alumni Magazine about the joy I felt after attending my 15th Reunion. At that time, my classmates and I were in our mid-30s. We talked about our growing families and fledgling careers, passed out business cards and discussed the financial and family stresses of life at that age. But we let that all go. Instead, we were together again, college students for three days, as if no time had passed.

My 40th Reunion was different from my 15th but equally wonderful. Now in our early 60s, my classmates and I have experienced more of life—taking care of elderly parents, watching our children grow into adults, becoming grandparents, retiring from our careers. Some have lost parents, spouses and siblings. We have all lost classmates.

So, at this Reunion, rather than passing around business cards, we spent more time reminiscing. A close-knit group, involved Brother Mike’s. For one weekend, we were not in our early 60s, parents or grandparents. We were just Stonehill students again. It felt like being back home—just like it had at our 15th Reunion.

As a high school student, I was very shy and didn’t know how to make friends. All of that changed when I went to Stonehill, where it was impossible not to make friends. The social skills and confidence I have today stemmed from my time on campus. The place changed my life. This was a sentiment that was shared repeatedly at Reunion—Stonehill had transformed so many of my classmates’ lives as well.

This past fall, my nephew became a first-year student at Stonehill. Part of the reason he chose my alma mater was because of the enduring friendships that I had made as a student there. I must admit that I am a bit envious of him, just starting out on his Stonehill journey. I’m confident he will experience what I was fortunate enough to have experienced.

Thank you to Stonehill for all you have given me. Thank you to my classmates, who will always be a second family to me. Thank you to all the dedicated people who made Stonehill what it was then and what it has become today. And thank you to Brother Mike’s—I loved that place.

Donald Simmons ’82 is a CPA and an attorney in Boston.