Cherishing the Moment: Alumni Reconnect in Budapest

May 4, 2022

Dozens of CEU alumni stood on the university’s rooftop last Friday, bathed in sunshine. Gathered on the Kharkiv Terrace, they were there to reconnect with one another and to show solidarity with classmates who had fled Ukraine.

Nearly 50 alumni and friends attended the April 29 mini reunion. Welcoming attendees, CEU Vice President for Enrollment, Careers and Alumni Relations Serge Sych (IRES ’97, LEGS ’99, Ukraine) noted that, in times like these, community matters more than ever.

“We are all human,” he said. “We should cherish the moments when we can all see each other.”

The rooftop gathering marked the second time alumni have met in Budapest since start of the war. (In March dozens of alumni and friends gathered at CEU’s Kerepesi Residence Center to welcome alumni and their families fleeing Ukraine.)

Last Friday’s reunion guests included several alumni still sheltering at the dorm, plus dozens of alumni and friends from the broader Budapest alumni community. Two classmates who spent the 2020-21 academic year studying online finally met in person for the first time during the reunion. A current student was also there, having travelled from Vienna to attend.

“I wanted to meet the community,” she said.

Friday’s event capitalized on the gorgeous weather and city views, recalling previous springtime events there. Per custom, alumni took turns introducing themselves before breaking into groups to chat with friends.

Yet, despite the sunshine and the chat, the event was underscored by current realities – and CEU history itself. Alumni Relations Head Nena Grceva (GENS ’05, North Macedonia) noted the significance of meeting at the Kharkiv Terrace, where for years new students would traditionally make a wish at the beginning of each academic year.

“I know what we’re all wishing for now,” she said.

Huge thanks to everyone who joined the mini reunion!