Katherine Shell Benson

Recently, in my new role as Alumni Association president, I was asked to participate in several Blues Week activities to help welcome our students back to campus for the start of the new school year. As I prepared to travel to Columbus, I was nervous and apprehensive to be on campus as it came to life once more after a year of pandemic lockdown. What would the atmosphere be like? Would it feel like it did two years ago pre-pandemic or even how it did when I was a freshman way back in 1999? Would there be the same cheer or the same sense of W camaraderie? So much had changed over the last year of adversity and misfortune - would our beloved W family be able to recover?

The moment I stepped back onto a W campus filled with new and returning students, I knew my fears had been completely misplaced. Though visible signs of the pandemic could be seen by the masks being worn and safety precautions in place, I was excited that all of the “old” familiar feelings of W enthusiasm, hope and family permeated the air. I was comforted to know that even through all the hardship of the last year, our W community remains the same. The same bonds of friendship, joys of being back together and hopes for the future all shined in the eyes of everyone I met over the week. I was reassured to feel that The W was back and stronger than ever.

It was at that moment, I realized how silly I was to have ever felt nervous in the first place. Of course The W would be the same! How could I have ever had reservations in my confidence in our University? Over the course of the last hundred plus years, though many changes have occurred, two things have remained consistent at our beloved alma mater: her ability to endure as an institution and the strength of her W community. Connected by common bonds of love, loyalty and friendship, The W community encompases not only the fortitude of generations past but the vitality of generations to come. Our W community is hopeful and everlasting.

As I write this, I hope that the resilience of our University and W community will be a comfort to you as well. I hope that you are reminded of all the joyous feelings of promise and adventure that you felt when you first came to The W as a new student. I hope you recall the bonds of friendship you have with us, your fellow alumni. But most of all I hope that you are reminded of your personal connection to our W community and that YOU are a cherished part of our W family.

Thank you for being a part of my W community.


Katherine Shell Benson, Class of 2003
MUW Alumni Association President

Communication, Connection and Community.
It is through better Communication that we make stronger Connections which develop a more successful Community.