A better attended and even more streamlined Alumni Weekend greeted the 700-plus OWU alumni whose class years end in “3” and “8” as they came back to their alma mater to celebrate on May 17-19. While the joyful highlights of the weekend were visible on faces of OWU friends who happily reunited and caught up with each other’s lives, the University also took every opportunity to reconnect with alumni at a variety of “show and tell” venues. During campus tours, thought-provoking alumni college sessions, and President Rock Jones’ State of the University remarks on Saturday, alumni saw and heard about faculty and student accomplishments, campus improvements, exciting plans for the future, and OWU’s stellar curricular initiative, the OWU Connection—enabling students to connect academic theory with real world practice through worldwide Travel-Learning courses, Theory-to-Practice grants, and a series of connected courses that weave together multiple disciplines across academic divisions of the University.
Blending well with these updates, were the traditional components of Alumni Weekend: the heartwarming Parade of Classes, which this year, began outside of the Hamilton-Williams Campus Center following lunch in the Benes rooms (an outdoor picnic venue originally was planned, but rescheduled because of rain) and culminated in the “Celebrating Ohio Wesleyan” alumni recognition awards program and general meeting in Gray Chapel. Welcoming alumni to the chapel were the especially rich sounds of the recently cleaned and refurbished Klais organ, whose pipes gleamed under the stage lights. Receiving OWU’s most prestigious alumni award—the Distinguished Achievement Citation—were Agnes Marie Davis Greene ’33 (posthumous), a leader with the Central Intelligence Agency who worked on special operations and collected and analyzed strategic information ; Dr. John Bassett ’63, president of Heritage University and a nationally recognized leader in education; Granville “Buzz” Pine ’63, a professional actor appearing in such films as The Graduate and on NBC’s “CHiPs” as Sgt. Joe Gerraer; and Tom Trumble ’68, a former executive with Aetna Life Insurance and consultant who joined the Jimmie Carter Work Project in South Africa to help build 100 houses for people in Haiti, Thailand, India, and Mexico. Receiving Alumni Awards were Walter “Skip” Auch ’68, Laura Pierce Bump ’58, Dan Bennington ’68, and Jon Kercher ’63. An Honorary Alumna Award was presented to Sue Pasters, former director of community service learning at OWU, and Donald Williams ’38 inherited the Godman Cane, which is awarded to the oldest living alumni.
Interspersed throughout the weekend were Alumni College sessions taught by Ginny Overdorf ’63 (Physical Activity and Performance); Dan Nelson ’63 (Sustainability and the Green Movement); Professor Jed Burtt (new book, Alexander Wilson: The Scot Who Founded American Ornithology); Kara Trott ’83 (Healthcare in the 21st Century); and Granville “Buzz” Pine ’63 (“Love Letters”). Friday night’s Blues & Barbecue dinner in Stuyvesant Hall’s courtyard, featured the music of Jasey Schnaars; 72 and T.J. George. On Saturday afternoon, alumni authors Richard North Patterson ’68, Steve Ulfelder ’83, and Marilyn Meek Webster ’63 were available to sign copies of their books near the entrance to OWU’s Bookstore. Just prior to the bevy of Saturday’s class reunion dinners, was the opportunity to gather for the dedication of the 1963 Commons—inviting green space just west of Beeghly Library—which is providing attractive outdoor activity space for members of the OWU community. The Commons project is being made possible by a gift from the Class of 1963 in honor of their 50th reunion.
Sara Jane Sheehan ’15 was new to the weekend’s cadre of student workers but knows OWU well. She is one of four family members (mom, Stacey ’82; dad, Donald ’81; and sister, Catie ’09) who loves to talk about OWU. “We share the Ohio Wesleyan bond,” says Sheehan, who shuttled alumni around campus during Alumni Weekend and helped to sell OWU T-shirts. “It was fun hearing their stories!”
“It was a fantastic weekend, and from what we have heard, our alumni had a fantastic time,” says Emily Roudebush, assistant director of alumni relations, event planning and coordinator of Alumni Weekend. “Committees already are forming to plan their next reunion in five years!”
View the 2013 Alumni Weekend photo gallery.