Lost and Not Found: Alumni Regret Losing Contact with College Pals Print

Nearly three-quarters of the alumni who answered the March Columns Vote said they regret losing contact with at least one person they met in college. Only 26 percent reported they had no regrets, either because they kept in contact with their friends over the years or because they didn’t make any lasting friendships to begin with.

When asked to write about the lost friendships, alumni talked about meetings in dorms, fraternities and sororities, in classes and in special groups such as Freshman Interest Groups (FIGs).

"We studied and socialized together and it was like having 20 instant friends. Their friendship and support helped me transition from a small town to a large university and formed a great foundation for the rest of my UW years," said one alumna about her FIG. "I’ve always wondered … what their lives are like today."

Another alumnus described the Haggett Hall Whizzies, a group that started 37 years ago and is still going strong. Alumni and their families get together every Fourth of July at a resort in Oregon. "Our children now exaggerate back UW tales which we once exaggerated to them," said one of the "Whizzies."

Sometimes the stories end on a sad note. "I lost contact with my roommate and maid of honor at my wedding. She headed for the East Coast and I stayed in the Seattle area. This year I decided to try to catch up with her, but after doing a Google search, discovered her obituary. I guess I will always have to wonder what she did with her life," wrote one alumna.

Technology has changed how people remain in contact, as another alumnus pointed out in his comments: "The Internet has made it easier to find some of those lost friendships and to maintain friendships over time and distance."

Many alumni may not realize that the UW Alumni Association provides an online alumni directory free of charge to its members. Follow the steps at the Web site www.washington.edu/alumni/directory/.

To read all of the comments submitted in the March Columns Alumni Vote, go to UWalum.com/survey.