And the reason they have come to this particular restaurant is that the owner too is a graduate of RC. RC was founded in Istanbul on a ridge overlooking the Bosphorus in 1863 by two men, Christopher Rhinelander Robert and Cyrus Hamlin.
There are an estimated 2,000 graduates of RC living in the US today (www.rcaaa.org) . This group of graduates has come together, regardless of age and profession, to talk and reminisce about the ties they share with each other. One of the Robert graduates at this New York evening announces "Actually, we are all the same age." Receiving some surprised looks, he explains "I mean, at these meetings, we are all the age we were when we graduated from school."
One of the oldest graduates of RC at this meeting is Senih Fikrig, who graduated in 1946. After retiring as a doctor in New York, Fikrig describes the excitement of meeting up with fellow graduates from 50 years ago recently on the southern coastline of Turkey.
In fact, RC maintains an office in the US to serve its graduates living there. Graduate Oya Nuzumlali runs the US office, making her the first graduate of the school to work full time in this office. Members of the RC alumni group pay a $20 fee annually, and come together once in the spring and once in the fall, when there is a traditional "Young Graduates Dinner." The New York based alumni group also contributes to fund raising efforts for the Istanbul school.
The current head of the New York RC graduates group is Mete Tuncel, who works in New York's financial sector.
Volkan Kukrer, who graduated from RC in 1995, describes the pleasure he has gotten from being able to see fellow graduates in New York, after moving to this city from Pittsburg, PA, where he lived for 10 years, and where there were far fewer Turks. Says Kukrer, "Even though I am not a very social person, I try to get to these alumni meetings." Of the estimated 2,000 RC graduates living in the US, 1,200 are registered with this group.
BOARD MEMBERS / YÖNETİM KURULU
Asim Alk, Utku Azman, Ender Çetin, Lale Deliveli, Birsen Erses, Senih Fikriğ, Cengiz Hatiboğlu, Ahmet İnal, Özlenen Kalav, Mehmet F. Özpay, Burcu Tuncel, Mete Tuncel.
Robert Koleji NY Office: (Oya Nuzumlalı) Tel: 212 843 5550 / Onuzumlalı@robcol.org
(March 2007, Issue 24th)