Even in a global pandemic, Melbourne Medical School alumni are staying connected.
Bringing alumni together during a global pandemic
2020 saw the world ‘pivot’ to online everything. Zoom became the platform du jour and we saw dance classes, birthday parties, job interviews, remote teaching and – in our case – a weekend reunion program shift to virtual delivery mode.
Across three days in November 2020, Reunite Online provided an opportunity for milestone reunion cohorts of the Melbourne Medical School and Melbourne Dental School to connect with classmates in Melbourne and across the globe, celebrate their significant reunions and attend special events all from the comfort of their own home.
The program included 18 Zoom reunions, three virtual concerts, a digital memory board for each milestone cohort, an exclusive screening of award-winning documentary It Started in the Sunderland, an Alumni Hour Live webinar and several On Demand events.
Virtual reunion concert
Corpus Medicorum is Melbourne’s premier orchestra of doctors, dentists and health professionals. Founded in 2002 by Royal Melbourne Hospital Cardiothoracic Surgeon and violist Mr Phillip Antippa (MBBS 1991), the orchestra is a creative outlet for talented musicians whose professional lives are devoted to health.
In collaboration with Corpus Medicorum, we were delighted to offer a fabulous night of entertainment and world-class music. The virtual concert was a highlight of the Reunite Online program and featured violin soloist Markiyan Melnychenko and pianist Stefan Cassomenos.
The concert was recorded during Stage 4 lockdown in Melbourne and was followed by a panel discussion tailored to suit our guests.
View the concert recording with panel discussion on our YouTube channel.
Nothing beats the excitement of reuniting in person, but in a year where that was rendered impossible, online reunions proved to be the next best thing. As part of Reunite Online, each milestone cohort was offered the chance to attend a virtual reunion and many alumni jumped at the chance to catch up with classmates and reminisce.
For some alumni based overseas, the online nature of the event presented a unique opportunity to reconnect. And for a few alumni, the reunion sparked regular virtual catchups that continue with classmates from around the globe today.
Our Alumni Hour series provides an in-depth look into some of the Faculty's most extraordinary and accomplished alumni in conversation with ABC presenter Angela Lavoipierre. For Reunite Online, we offered a special session of this series featuring MDHS alum Associate Professor Tom Oxley (PhD 2017), a vascular and interventional neurologist and world expert in brain computer interfaces.
Tom is the founding CEO of Synchron, Director of Innovation Strategy in the Department of Neurosurgery, Mount Sinai Hospital, New York and was key in establishing the Vascular Bionics laboratory at the University of Melbourne, which he currently co-leads with Associate Professor Nick Opie.
You can catch up on all the insights gained through this discussion and other Alumni Hour events via the recording on our website.
Saturday night at the movies
Over 150 alumni brought their own popcorn and joined us for an exclusive screening of the award-winning documentary It Started in the Sunderland.
Hosted by comedian Rob Sitch (MBBS 1987), the 2018 documentary tells the story of the 50th anniversary of the medical triradiate building and the alumni who studied there.
If you haven’t seen the documentary yet, keep an eye out for the next exclusive online screening.
Finally, to round out a weekend of live virtual offerings, Reunite Online also featured a curated collection of campus and exhibition tours, publications and more for alumni to browse at their leisure.
From Cultural Commons to COVID-19 panels, the On Demand offerings gave alumni access to a range of content showcasing the amazing breadth of work and research on offer across the University.
Reunions in 2021 and beyond
The ongoing uncertainty caused by COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions on in-person events and gatherings has continued to present challenges for us this year.
The University has been doing what it can to manage these challenges, but despite our best efforts, we are disappointed to inform you that we have cancelled all University-led alumni reunions that had been postponed and earmarked for this year.
We hope to be able to resume milestone reunion programming once again in 2022, or when larger scale in-person events can be held with more certainty. The health and safety of our alumni and University community remains our top priority and we will only resume in-person events when it is safe and reasonable to do so.
If your class group would like to organise your own reunion in line with current restrictions, please let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. A resource pack is available to guide you in organising your own reunions and we may be able to provide you with some support.