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Erin McCarthy and Mark Kirk at their 40th reunion. 0

Big names from Facebook, politics at this high school reunion

June 29th, 2017

Former U.S. Senator Mark Kirk attended his 40th high school reunion the other day along with some other big names who graduated from New Trier East back in 1977.

“He was in great spirits and stayed to the end. People wanted to get pictures with him,” said Erin McCarthy, an associate professor of history at Columbia College. Politics, she says, didn’t play a role in the festivities.

“I’m as liberal as they come,” she says. But “At this stage, there’s a lot of appreciation for where we came from and what we have in common.”

Republican Kirk didn’t immediately return a request for comment, but he was all smiles in photos.

He wasn’t the only politico in the room. Also attending was U.S. National Security chief Michael Rogers.

McCarthy, who organized the reunion at the Kenilworth Assembly Hall, said big names popped up wherever you turned. Elliot Schrage, who was class president back in the day, is now a vice president at Facebook. Susan Scoville Cotton went on to start the Lily Project, a nonprofit that promotes women’s health in Nicaragua.

There were tours of the current campus, cocktails at Stormy’s Tavern in Northfield, a panel discussion that included Rogers, Schrage and Cotton and dancing to a DJ.

When they weren’t taking selfies, the crowd of 180 noshed on Lou Malnati’s Pizza, Portillo’s hot dogs and Pita Inn pitas. The big draw was the Homer’s Ice Cream sundae bar.

And given it’s the North Shore, no surprise philanthropy was involved.

The class donated $750 to the Trotter Project, a program that provides scholarships for culinary students. It’s named after the late Chef Charlie Trotter, who was a classmate.

Side note: Rahm Emanuel also graduated in 1977, but he attended New Trier West, a major rival to New Trier East. The schools would eventually merge in 1981. On this reunion night, it was all about the East side.

 

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